Top 10 American Franchises

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Overcoming Fear Of Success


The three big fears I work with franchise candidates to overcome are:


The Fear of Failure, probably the most common and most candidates can identify when they are experiencing this fear and will see gathering information as a path through it by answering their questions.

Impostor Syndrome, where someone will have trouble believing that their success is the direct result of their own efforts or skills. For my candidates this shows up as they look at leaving their job to start a business and not knowing if they are as great a hire for their own business as they would tell an employer they are. And sometimes Impostor Syndrome is a component of, or can lead to, the next fear.

And last, but not least, the Fear of Success, where someone would fear how they will be viewed or treated by people, or even how they will act or think around others when successful. Most often the people they are most focused on changing their relationships due to success are with are family and friends.

Now, you may wonder why anyone would fear success. Why would successfully building your empire be a bad thing? How could making more money give you anxiety?

When I see it the people that my candidates are worried about losing because they have moved to a higher level are most often family and friends that they are very close to and likely have known since they were young.

We see it in so many professions where success makes people different that their friends in many ways from life experiences to houses and schools that their kids get to go to. It is primarily over money.

People worry that coming home to visit folks whose circumstances have not changed will raise jealousy and anger at their success. This is most pronounced where the candidate lives among those old family and friends.

Here is where we often get our first indication of if this fear is fed by the folks in my candidates lives.

During the franchise investigation process that we help our candidates go through, inevitably they go to their key family and friends who have not been getting informed by going through the investigation and tell them about a concept they really like. Sometimes their family and friends try to “protect” the candidate by telling them that starting a business is a path to failure. 

The interesting thing about that “protective” advice is that it often comes from a place of not wanting their family member to achieve something that they have never been able to achieve themselves. If we really dove into the family history, it is probably not the first time our candidate has gotten the advice to be no different than the lower achievers.

Now, after years of getting this kind of advice, the franchise candidate may fear upsetting family or friends by achieving success.

How do you overcome or work around this?

First, I promise you your family and friends will love you and come to your senses as you achieve your success. 

Important note: You do not need to buy their love or loyalty with your financial gains, even if they ask! Remember, you having the ability to succeed doesn’t mean they are ready.

You should be able to go home to family and friends humble but successful and things will sort out.

Alternatively, we also see candidates that relocate to a new city to build their lives separate and away from the folks that would be jealous. They are not in hiding so much as just being less obvious. Once they take away the tangible measures of house, cars, etc away then sometimes it becomes easier for friends and family.

Those are the things you do to make it easier for them.

What about you? How do you overcome the feeling that you don’t deserve success?

First, find space to achieve small or large successes without being told it was bad that you did well. Eliminate the input that your achievements are bad. It may not be possible to do this from coworkers.

Find your go to people to celebrate your successes with, people that support you. It is very possible that these will be successful people to!

Create successes and celebrate with your supporting crew… It may be just that easy for most people.

And along the way, just know that the people you grew up with and around will always be comfortable if the folks they socialize with don’t achieve more than them, but they can still love you as your success and franchise empire growth happens.

If you are working through any of those three fears, fear of success, fear of failure or impostor syndrome, please fee free to reach out to me directly.

What will your success story be? Let’s go find it!

George Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many of the top franchise ownership groups in the world. With over 25 years of experience in both start-up and mature business franchise operations he is uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of Building their own empires. Whether you have an existing portfolio or searching for your first franchise, he can help you to pursue your dreams.