The 5 Fears that are Keeping You From Reaching Your Goals

Katy Morin

Do you dream of doing something different with your life? Do you sit at your desk or in meetings and doodle, wishing you were anywhere else? Do you feel stuck? If you want to change your life or your career, you need to work out what is preventing you from making the jump.

Here are the five most common fears that might be holding you back.

1. Fear of fear

It might sound a little kooky, but fear of fear will keep you right in your comfort zone, not wanting to take a risk. Needing security is a legitimate reason to stay in a job that might be unfulfilling, especially if you have family or other obligations. And fear doesn’t feel good because it’s uncomfortable. But it might be worth allowing yourself to feel afraid, analyzing what message it’s giving you, and seeing if that message holds up.

2. Fear of failure

Failure happens to everyone. Mistakes and missteps are how humans learn and adapt. Failure is an important step towards success. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying.

3. I’m not ready

Do you find yourself saying it’s not the right time, I don’t know enough, I need to save more or any other delaying tactic? There will never be the right or the perfect time to do it. Work out what skills, funds or support you need and start to get those things lined up right now.

4. I don’t know where to start

If your dream stays as a nebulous desire, you’ll never achieve it. You need to take a businesslike approach to your big dream and turn it into an achievable goal. And you can do this by treating it as a project. Break your big goal into a set of smaller SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound.

5. Fear of going it alone

You don’t have to do it all by yourself. No one can! Whatever your dream, it’s likely you will need support along the way, and the best way to ensure you get it is to plan for it. When you’re creating your business plan, make sure to include all the external skills and support you’re likely to need, from book-keeping to website building or just general business advice. You’ll probably find it useful to have a mentor or coach to go to for advice or to test ideas.

And don’t forget your cheer squad of family and friends. They‘ll keep you going through the tough times, and help you celebrate your success.

Fear has a way of making you feel both scared and paralyzed. Your self-talk can get caught up in a fear-driven spiral that makes success and happiness seem impossible goals. But there are steps you can take to get unstuck from your fears.

Here are six ways to overcome fear:

1. Use visualization

You can reprogram your brain by practicing seeing yourself as unafraid and successful. Whether you fear public-speaking, failing an exam or blowing a job interview, you can rewrite the script by imagining yourself doing those things calmly, competently and confidently.

Build a positive picture in your mind, and the fear will melt away.

2. Practice being successful

Author Neil Gaiman talks about using this technique to get over Imposter Syndrome. This syndrome is the feeling that you’re not the person you say you are or want to be. Imagine how you would talk, move or carry yourself in a particular situation as if you were unafraid. Act as though you were already that brave, confident person.

3. The Law of Reversibility

The Law of Reversibility uses psychology to set up a positive feedback loop. It says that if you feel a certain way, then you will act in a way that is consistent with that feeling. And it works backward too, so if you behave in a certain way, being brave for example when in fact you feel scared, the action creates the feeling. So, by acting bravely, this encourages feelings of courage and confidence.

Practice this over and over, and the fear eventually disappears.

4. Face your fears

If you avoid or bury your fears, they will get worse. Denial feeds them even more. You’ll end up lying awake at night, needlessly gnawed by anxiety.

Conversely, if you face up to your fears and see them for what they are, you are taking control, which immediately diminishes their power.

5. Write it down

Fears also grow if you lie awake at night, as they circle round your mind. Getting up and writing down your worries not only gets them out of your head, but you can also start to tackle them. Chances are they won’t look nearly as bad on the page as they felt in your head. And you can now start to plan to deal with them.

6. Act on it now!

Fears create a paralyzing effect. Now is the time to choose how to deal with them. Make them simpler to tackle by identifying what’s worrying you and taking one small step at a time. Each success, big or small, makes it easier to achieve the next one. Before you know it, you’ll be unstuck from your fears and on your way to success.

If you want more help to overcome your fears, check out my program Face Your Fears, you’ll be able to understand fear, understand how it controls you, and learn to fight back! As well as learn how to use grit, resilience, and perseverance to transform failure to your advantage.

If you want more help, join my community where I will be sharing more tips and techniques to overcome social anxiety by showing you how to communicate better in your interpersonal and professional relationships, to have the social life and the career you want.

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