Stop Fearing your Own Success

Hi, I’m Rick Sessinghaus. I find it fascinating when I’m working with athletes and executives who want to perform at a higher level, and then when they start to get there and achieve those goals, they get scared. We put in all this hard work. We have all this intention that we want to get better, and then as we get closer to it, we start backing away. Self-sabotage. We get scared. And so what I want you to think about is what is your association with your outcome, or with your goals? I know in the sport’s psychology community, performance psychology, it’s been kind of downplayed of don’t think about the outcome. It’s only about the process. I’ll tell you right now it’s about the outcome. The outcome will then dictate what the process is.

When I’m working with these high achievers, I have found that that outcome, if it’s not aligned with their belief systems and who they are, it gets in the way. And now they can’t do the process anymore. So we have to understand, what is your association with success? What’s your association with achievement? Is it about scared and fearful and I don’t know if I’m really that good? Or is it embracing it and going, “Man, this feels great and I can’t wait to take this challenge to the next level and the next level.” Just your association of how you view success will determine at what level you’re gonna go. There’s plenty of things of skills that we can train you, but now, when it matters most, and the pressure is on, how are you viewing that? Are you viewing it as something that is exciting? “I can’t wait to do this! I can’t wait to see how I show up and challenge myself!” Or is it, “Uh-oh. I’m scared. I may not be good enough.” And then we backtrack.

The last thing on this, though, is that I’ve had people associate success as a negative thing. “Well, Rick, if I do achieve that, now what?” And I go, “Great! Isn’t it?” And he goes, “Yeah, but then other people are gonna expect that from me all the time.” And I may go, “Okay!” So now they’re jumping so far ahead of past the goal that they self-sabotage it because, “Oh my gosh, people are gonna expect that.” And I go, “Well, that’s a new level for you, isn’t it?”

So I want you to look at success and what do you associate with that? Are they positive emotions that go with that? Excitement in the challenge and embracing it? Or is there fear-based? “I’m scared. Uh-oh, I don’t know if I’m good enough.” Or, “When I get there, uh-oh, people are gonna expect different things from me.” Because that could be blocking you from being able to get to a higher level. And you can put away that barrier, and start to associate that success is something that is gonna bring the most out of you, then you can perform for success.

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