The 6 Biggest Fears That Hold You Back From Success (And How to Overcome Them)

Each of our fears presents and highlights a unique opportunity for growth. How you perceive fear will determine how you respond to it. The hidden upside of any fear is that you can use it to propel you toward something you want... or to move away from something you don’t. In that way, fears actually serve us. We just need to be willing to face them and use them to our advantage.

Contrary to what it might feel like, fears exist to highlight your unmet potential. They should be seen as an alias to be worked with, not an enemy to run from. If we have the courage to face them honestly, openly and willingly, fears can show us where our true potential lies.

Are your fears rational or irrational?

We all face our own share of rational and irrational fears. Rational fear is a fear of something that presents a very real danger.

The fears we’re talking about, however, are irrational. The self-created kind made up from assumptions we have about an imaginary future and hold us back from living the empowered life we'd love to live.

Fears are always there, under the surface, whether we acknowledge them or not.

Would you rather let these fears chase you around, dictating your outcomes and sabotaging your life? Or are you okay with feeling the initial discomfort of acknowledging the fear, knowing you have the power to look it in the face and say, “bring it on, I’m ready to conquer you!”

Here are 6 of the biggest fears in life that may be holding you back from success and what to do about them: 

Fear of Failure

What it looks like:

If you have a fear of failure, you typically:

• Refuse opportunities to try new things
• Don’t stick with things long enough, quitting before you have a real chance of tasting success
• Can’t stand to lose because you believe it means you’re a failure

    What you make it mean:

    If I fail, I’m a failure. You believe failure is inherently bad, instead of seeing failure as feedback.

    Underlying & related fears:

    Fear of failure is closely related to a fear of worst-case-scenarios and fear of getting hurt.

    How to overcome the fear of failure:

    Persistence; failure is nothing more than feedback, and it’s one of the biggest drivers of success. The sooner you can fail at something, the sooner you will succeed. The longer you work at something, the better you become, and the better your chances of succeeding are.

    Often, it’s not the failure itself that’s the problem, it's the story we tell ourselves about what the failure will mean. Stop focusing on winning or succeeding and instead immerse yourself in the work; fall in love with the process. No one wins or succeeds at every attempt, and you are no exception. The sooner you start, the sooner you will fail and, with persistence, the closer you will be to success.

    Fear of Success

    What it looks like:

    If you have a fear of success, you typically:

    • Are afraid to succeed because of what it will mean to your lifestyle, your family, and your current life set up. To succeed means everything will change, which feels uncomfortable, so you sabotage yourself to avoid success

    • Hold yourself back from opportunities

    • Are addicted to staying the same

    • Prioritize comfort over growth

      What it means: You’re afraid of who you will be (or need to be) if you succeed.

        Underlying & related fears:

        • Fear of responsibility
        • Fear of standing out/ fear of the limelight
        • Loss of control
        • Feelings of inadequacy/ Imposter Syndrome

          How to overcome the fear of success:

          Take small leaps instead of large leaps. Once you get a taste of some success, it will fuel your ability to handle more.

          Fear of Not Being Good Enough

          If you fear not being enough, what are you really afraid of? Finding out you still have more work to do to get good enough? You falsely assume the distance between where you are now and where you want or need to be is too great.

          What it looks like:

          If you have a fear of not being good enough, you typically:

          • Fear being exposed for not being as good as others
          • Compare yourself to others
          • Adopt a victim mindset, with few options for how to improve the situation
          • Are lazy

            What it means: You’re afraid to be compared to others.

            Underlying & related fears:

            • Fear of comparison and judgment
            • Fear of failure
            • Fear of hard work
            • Perfectionism
            • Entitlement

              How to overcome the fear of not being good enough:

              Start before you’re ready, understand your strengths, be honest about your weaknesses and let go of perfectionism. When you stop comparing yourself to others, you stop judging yourself so harshly and the fear of not being good enough subsides. Then you can harness the fear of not being good enough to propel you to do great work.

              Fear of Humiliation

              What it looks like:

              If you have a fear of humiliation, you typically:

              • Are afraid to “look bad”
              • Will do anything to avoid saying or doing things that elicit judgment from others
              • Will often make up stories and lies to make yourself look good and avoid judgment or humiliation
              • Exhibit defensive, protective behavior and never let your guard down
              • Afraid to start from scratch, breaking free from old roles and being someone new. What will I look like to others?
              • Are unwilling to go through the process of learning

                What it means: You believe how others perceive you is more important than how you perceive yourself.

                Underlying & related fears:

                Fear of rejection, abandonment and judgment.

                How to overcome the fear of humiliation:

                No matter what you do in life, others will always criticize or critique you. When you shift from a framework of caring what others think to being concerned with your own choices, the fear of humiliation goes away.

                You come to realize that everyone who’s ever done anything great started solely with what they had at the time. They chose long-term self-satisfaction over short-term judgment from others, and it created a space for them to follow their hearts and remain true to personal growth.

                Feeling embarrassed is simply a sign you’ve grown past your previous standards and have developed new standards. 

                Fear of Loss

                What it looks like:

                If you have a fear of loss, you typically:

                • Try desperately to hold on so nothing ever changes
                • Can’t stand the feeling of uncertainty, especially if it might precipitate a loss. For example, you’re unwilling to leave a job you hate to start a new and exciting passion business because you might have to take less salary for a while. You’d rather stay with what you hate than taking a chance on something great

                  What it means: You don’t trust that life will always bring you more or something even better.

                  Underlying & related fears:

                  • Fear of change
                  • Fear of uncertainty

                    How to overcome the fear of loss:

                    Understand that to get to new levels in life, you may need to sacrifice something good for a chance at something great.

                    Fear of Being Wrong

                    If you learn something that makes you question a past belief, it might mean you have to admit you’ve been wrong all along. Changing your life means changing rules and beliefs. If you fear being wrong, you’ll never make a change.

                    What it looks like:

                    If you have a fear of success, you typically:

                    • Avoid being wrong at all cost, to avoid ever admitting to other things I might be wrong about
                    • Faux righteousness: if I show my vulnerability, others will spot a weakness and take advantage of me
                    • Are unwilling to take on new ideas or concepts
                    • Adhere strictly to dogma or outdated traditions

                      What it means: Being right is important, and you’d rather be right than ever admit to being wrong. Admitting being wrong may undo the very fabric and foundations of your life.

                      Underlying & related fears:

                      • Inferiority complex
                      • Fear of looking stupid / humiliation

                        How to overcome the fear of being wrong:

                        Change the faulty perception that you can never change your mind. A rigid, inflexible mind that always needs to be right is unhealthy. A mind that is flexible, adaptable and capable of adopting new ideas is healthy. Work on creating a mind that can be influenced and changed based on new information.

                        The Process of Overcoming These Fears:

                        1. Admit which fear or fears are driving you
                        2. Face your fears
                        3. Do the thing you fear most

                        • What would you do if you were not concerned by the opinions of others?
                        • What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
                        • What would be worth it to do, even if you did fail?

                          Notice your answers and you just might find success is only a few fear-conquering thoughts away.

                          Looking for a planner that incorporates planning, personal growth and mindset tools into your daily routine to help you overcome fear? Check out our Dailygreatness Success™ Planner



                          Posted in Biggest fears, Dailygreatness, dailygreatness planner, fear of failure, fear of humiliation, fear of loss, fear of not being good enough, fear of success, fears holding you back from success, focus, goals, How to overcome fears, mindfulness, mindset tools, overcoming fear, personal growth, planning, Success Mindset

                          Lyndelle Palmer Clarke

                          Lyndelle Palmer Clarke is the founder of Dailygreatness, the author of the Dailygreatness Journals inspiring you to be your own guru and Rocking Fit a 12-week holistic training program designed especially for women.




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