Fear often stands between us and our ability to make decisions, take actions, ask for what we want — even to know what we really want. It is the gatekeeper of our comfort zone.
In 1933 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt told the American public, who were in the midst of the Great Depression and on the verge of a world war, that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Below are 10 fears that commonly get in our way of achieving what we want in life and business:
1. Fear of being judged. Needing approval from family or peers can keep us from going after dreams and goals. Look inward to see where this fear started within you. How can you turn it so that you are not reliant upon outward approval, but inward approval to move forward?
2. Fear of rejection. Rejection simply means that someone else has a different opinion. Notice what your reaction is if you look at your situation from this perspective instead. How do you respond now?
3. Fear of emotional pain. Rather than incapacitate us, painful feelings can sharpen our sense of joy and gratitude. They can lead us to understanding of our feelings so we can choose our thoughts to ensure our action is what we want rather than the reaction we may not want.
4. Fear of embarrassment. Making mistakes publicly is awful only when we let ourselves feel ashamed. What can you learn from the “mistake?” What can you do to rectify it or avoid it happening again?
5. Fear of being alone/abandoned. A strong sense of self-worth and what we can offer the world reduces this fear. You were put on this earth at this time because of the talents you possess. The world needs you and your talents. How are you going to use them? How will your giving of your talents affect/benefit the people around you?
6. Fear of failure. A biggie for most of us and born of the notion that it’s not OK to fail. John Maxwell literally wrote the book on Failing Forward. He says that the difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and their response to failure. So what if you fail? Are you further than you would have been otherwise? Now what?
7. Fear of success. More responsibility, more attention, pressure to perform can be frightening when we don’t believe in ourselves. Sometimes we actually sabotage ourselves so we don’t succeed. Don’t be afraid to succeed. It will lead you closer and closer to your dreams!
8. Fear of expressing feelings. An authentic life means being willing to express our true feelings to our loved ones, colleagues, adversaries—even ourselves. Being emotionally intelligent is vital in today’s business world. Being able to be “real” enables faster bonding, better communication, and more trust. This enables productivity to increase along with the fun of doing the work!
9. Fear of intimacy. Emotional intimacy—really being seen by another—can be as scary as sexual intimacy. When you don’t see yourself as having to be perfect, then you can perform more naturally. This enables others to see you for who you really are and not the mask of who you think you should be. This engenders tremendous trust on teams.
10. Fear of the unknown. The unknown can be exciting and vast if we shift our fear to curiosity. Ask “now what” or “what if” from a happy, expectant place rather than “the world is ending” place. How can this shift in thinking change your actions when you’re uncertain?
So, how should we deal with fear? Avoiding it only makes it go away in our heads, not in reality. And avoidance causes us to either become paralyzed or defeated. The only way to truly deal with fear is to face it. Dale Carnegie said: “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
We know that fear is a very real part of life, and it must be faced and overcome with courage. By taking action in the face of fear, you achieve results and become more courageous.
May 2014 be a year where you are full of courage and not fear!
Add to our top 10 with some of your own. Share your comments by joining the conversation in the comment section below.
Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications