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  Introduction

I want to welcome you to this important e-course and say “congratulations” because despite your fears you have decided to move toward success by taking this eight-lesson course with complementary audio support. It’s likely that you have a lot more skills and personal tools that led you here than you are aware of, such as a keen desire to learn and improve your life, determination, strength to take action, a willingness to look within, and more. But you might still be struggling with moving toward or enjoying success, and that is what I am here to help you with.

Please click on the following audio clip of Dr. Susanne Babbel introducing this online course. 

For several decades researchers have observed the phenomenon of individuals believing that success will have negative consequences and therefore experiencing psychological barriers such as a fear of success. Psychologists including Abraham Maslow, Matina Horner, and Andre and Metzler have paid great attention to how our beliefs and fears can inhibit our self-actualization. In other words, if you struggle with a fear of success—either getting there or having it—you might experience feeling terrified when everything in your life is working well, and feeling bad when you get what you want. You can’t stand feeling good and/or you become anxious when you imagine getting the job or being in the relationship you want. You start sweating when an opportunity comes along, or you get angry when you receive a compliment. You can’t put your finger on it, but every time something good is happening in your life, you start feeling nervous, anxious, ridden by inexplicable fear that may lead you to avoid or sabotage your success, or just not be able to begin, follow through, or continue with your success.

As a psychotherapist for almost twenty years, author, and online teacher, I am very familiar with the human propensity to struggle with fears, in particular the fear of success and an inability to enjoy it. Overcoming such fear is essential to improve your life and to break free from self-imposed limitations. I experienced and had to overcome my own fear of success. I had to learn to allow myself to feel good about my accomplishments, which led to the techniques you will encounter in this course. I discovered my fear of success when I went through my mind–body psychotherapy training many years ago. I realized that my emotions, beliefs, and even my body were not supporting me in my effort to succeed in the world and kept me from enjoying my achievements. Once I had that realization, I studied how my body and mind could assist me instead of thwarting me, and I finally created a full private practice in San Francisco and became the author of my book Heal the Body, Heal the Mind: A Somatic Approach to Moving Beyond Trauma, which was published by New Harbinger Publishing Company in 2018. I also had to learn to enjoy my continuing success, and not feel guilty or unworthy. By sharing my stories I want to illustrate that you too can be successful in anything you want in any area of your life and learn to enjoy your accomplishments. I overcame many fears to get to this point, and you can too.

Each one of us has our own definition of success. For some it means having money and luxury, for others it is about having a great career or a certain job title, writing a book, having friends, getting married and starting a family, feeling connected, pursuing health or fitness, enjoying or creating art, or finding meaning in life, to name only a few possibilities. Please, remember that your success is defined by you and not by others, and you deserve every single success you wish for. That said, your fear most likely has pushed your success away or has not allowed you to be pleased with the results, but it does not have to be this way.

The key to your quest to overcome your fear of success and/or inability to enjoy it is that your body and mind have to feel safe to be successful, and they must be aligned and in sync with each other in regard to what you truly want. Some of your fears arise from negative beliefs that are deeply rooted in your subconscious about yourself, others, and the meaning of success. But what many people do not know is that thoughts and behavior can also be the result of one’s physiology. Being able to recognize and address the fear is essential. In this course you will learn to manage fears that originate in your body and mind, so that the fear does not control you. You will explore your deepest beliefs about success, how to change your perspective and move closer to success, and what words and thoughts can support you, even (or especially) on an energetic level. I will guide you through each step with an audio recording that accompanies each lesson. I’ll say upfront that I have a German accent, and hopefully you become accustomed to or even soothed by my pronunciation.

Here are some overarching suggestions to prepare yourself for your journey of success:

  1. Make sure you have enough time and a private space to read or listen to the course recordings, and to do the exercises. You may divide each lesson into several parts or do it all at once, but I recommend not taking more than one lesson a day. Ideally, space them one week apart because changes often need time to settle in and become part of a fresh approach to old issues.
  2. Make yourself comfortable in a room or space that feels supportive for your process. Don’t try to do these exercises in the conference room at work, during your bus ride, or driving (at least not initially); instead pick a place that is calming and relaxing, without a lot of distractions and interruptions.
  3. If uncomfortable feelings come up during the exercise, measure them from 1 to 10 (the higher the number, the more uncomfortable) and pace yourself. If the feelings and sensations are too stressful and head toward the number 10, take a break and come back to your feelings later or seek out close friend or a therapist to work through them.
  4. I am teaching you a new language, the language of your body. As with any new skill or language, confusion and frustration are normal. Try to be patient with yourself and persevere. Listening to your body and understanding its messages gets easier with practice.
  5. Practice the steps whenever you can and when it is appropriate. Even when the course ends, keep coming back to it to practice. This course is yours to revisit as often as you wish. The more you practice, the better you become at managing your fear and moving forward.
  6. Please, have a pen available to write down important information and insights elicited by the exercises.

Having a fear is not anything bad or shameful, but when it starts limiting you or holding you back from success, it is out of balance. The intention of this course is to place your fear where it belongs (as an emotion with a specific use) and let success be your constant companion.

Warmly,

Dr. Susanne Babbel


Resources:

Andre, N. & Metzler, J. (2010), “Gender Differences in Fear of Success: A Preliminary Validation of the Performance Success Threat Appraisal Inventory,” Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 12(4), 415-422.

Babbel, S. 2018. Heal the Body. Heal the Mind. A Somatic Approach to Moving Beyond Trauma. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.