11 fears that are holding you back

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By Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez

It’s been said that FEAR stands for “Forget Everything And Run.” It is that uncomfortable, disconcerting feeling that causes us to take a back seat in our own life and prevents us from proactively moving forward to reach our goals and aspirations. Instead of facing a personal, business or workplace situation head on and taking control of the proverbial handlebars of life, fear causes us to turn the other way, freeze in our tracks or poke our heads in the sand.  

One way to counteract fear’s adverse impact on your life and career is to recognize the type of fear that might be defining you and driving your actions, or lack thereof.  In fact, there are many “types” of fears that will prevent you from achieving in both your personal and professional lives. Recognizing the specific fears that are be holding you back is the critical first step toward breaking free of emotional paralysis and living a more carefree, uninhibited life. As the saying goes, “No guts, no glory.”

Below are 11 common fears that hold people back from that which they desire both personally and professionally:

1.  Fear of success This is actually a fear of achieving your dreams and standing out; fear of the attention you will receive should you actually realize success.  Yes, people might look at you and talk about you, which can make you feel self-conscious. Sometimes, it’s the fear of taking the steps necessary to work toward your goal, or not knowing what to do first when all seems daunting at the onset. We all have things we want to achieve in life but, by giving into this particular fear, you lose faith in yourself and your abilities, and also faith in those who truly have your best interests at heart and want to see you succeed. Remember that even baby steps are forward momentum.

2.  Fear of leading With leadership comes responsibility, and many are afraid of being responsible for an outcome that impacts not only themselves, but also the people they are guiding. Many with this fear worry and wonder, “What if I lead them the wrong way?” You need to trust your intuition to guide you and have faith that you will make the right decisions – the same faith others have instilled in you so they may follow. Letting go of the outcome and its various possible impacts brings freedom and, with it, releases you from fearing the unknown. It allows you to trust your leadership skills and be an example for others.

3.  Fear of speaking Many people fear public speaking more than any other activity. Speaking requires a palpable level of confidence and ability. In our lives and careers, we are sometimes required to present thoughts and ideas to others. Whether it is ideas at a school PTA meeting, a speech at a wedding or funeral, a briefing during a staff meeting or a full-scale conference keynote, it’s all public speaking. Being a confident speaker requires training, not talent.  Master this skill and you will command the attention and respect that you deserve and the successes will ensue.

4. Fear of encroachment Many women and men today are working in fields that were once traditionally gender specific, such as the military, manufacturing, construction, automotive, nursing, fashion and beauty, culinary arts, etc. Working in an environment stereotyped by gender has its own challenges and requires a high level of confidence in your abilities and a strong voice to be heard, and even supported, among others who may not regard you as a peer.  If your desires are unconventional or nontraditional, or simply go against what is expected of you by family members or friends, dig deep and stay true to who you are and what you want out of life. You don’t have to be loud and aggressive; just be unwavering in your vision and persevere.

5. Fear of power Power is your proverbial fuel source – from where your inner strength emanates and your passions burn bright. It is the juice that allows you to keep going in the face of adversity. Without power, you simply cannot move forward amid life’s seemingly endless road blocks. For all of its importance, power is simply a mindset – a genuine, heartfelt belief that you can do anything you set your mind to. Period. If you aren’t tapping into your authentic power, take some time to dig deep and cultivate it. It’s there and fully available for you to use, and it’s ready to make your dreams come true. Start small, achieve and savor it. Then, confidently aim a little higher, achieve and revel in it. Before long, you’ll be powerful enough to shoot for the stars.

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