*Rolland (not his real name) is perceived as a very successful man by today's standards. He is the founder and CEO of a pan African company with footprint in more than 20 countries. He speaks, dresses, walks and behaves confidently. Perceived as an extrovert, Rolland considers himself an introvert who has learnt the art of pretence and flexibility. "From my young age, it was quite apparent that the only successful people are extroverts. I had to learn their habits and behaviours and here I am," he said. 
 
Rolland is a client I have been seeing for the past 3 months. Despite its successes, one of the conditions Rolland suffers from is dubbed: achievemephobia. Achievemephobia is a phobia that describes a person's fear of success. From an external perspective, this may sound absurd, the man is not only successful but how could anyone fear success? Isn't success everyone's ultimate goal?
Despite having spoken in thousand of conferences and getting several awards as keynote speaker, Rolland must take some drugs before speaking in public. He dreads the end of the year, sitting with staff and planning activities for the coming year. “Thinking about the competition, anticipating innovation, allocating resource, appearing on TV are draining,” he murmured.
 
 
images
 
Although the symptoms vary from one individual to another, people who suffer from achievemephobia generally like to procrastinate, doubt themselves despite having all the right skills, believe they won't have the time to do the things that matter to them should they success and basically, fear change. 
 
Many elements could affect ones fear of success: 
1) Past experience: your past experience could have a direct correlation with your fear of success. Lets' say you grew up in an environment where the love of money (perceived as success) divided your family, unconsciously you will grow up believing this to be a fact and avoiding anything that could make you become wealthy. 
 
2) Personality: by their very nature, introverts fear changes more than extroverts. They like their comfort zone and often question their decisions. Even though they may have a deep desire to succeed, their mind is quick to remind them of their inabilities and failures. They are also not ready for the outcome of these changes and what it will mean in managing their lives. Comfort is their safe haven. 
 
3) Definition of success: how individuals define success could restrain their success. Success for many people means being in the limelight and being perceived as an expert in an area. As attractive as this may seem, the idea of having many people depend and looking up to you, increase fear. What if I fail? What if I give the wrong advices? If you are religious then common questions are "what will God say knowing I misguided another person? Will I go to hell?" (Depending of course on the severity of the issue. 
 
4) Mental health: your mental health could affect your understanding of success. People with anxiety disorders tend to fear success even more, because they constantly develop fear of fear. 
 
How to manage achievemephobia? 
 
The fear of success is rarely spoken of but is as common as the fear of failure. 
Fear is not a foreign word. As a Christian, the Bible constantly reminds us not to fear. God could not have asked us not to, if He didn't know that fear is second nature to human beings. Understanding that achievemeophobia is a serious condition that could limit your progress is the first step towards dealing with the condition. 
 
Secondly, to deal with your fear, you must identify what fear drags you and do it as often as possible. Facing your fear is a major step towards breaking fear. Habits are formed through repetition. The more you face your fear, the closer you are to forming new habits. If you fear public speaking, speak as often as you can. If you fear change, purpose to come out of your comfort zone at least 3 times a week. If you fear saying no to people, then do so with your family, friends and eventually, other people. Changing your mind-set helps determine the actions you need to put in place to overcome your fear.
 
Thirdly develop a list of setbacks. This will ensure that you tackle all possible barriers and develop a plan of action to reduce the perceived risks. 
 
Finally and most importantly think about your life 30 years down the line. What do you want to achieve? Will you be seating down on a beach knowing that you lived your life well and fully, or will you get into depression and wondering what your life could have been had you faced your fear? The choice is yours.
 
However, remember that God made YOU His purpose and to win is to honour Him.