It’s easy to get bogged down by fear.
I’m sure you know the feeling.
You’re petrified of something and your mind races with all sorts of scenarios, most of which are unlikely to ever happen. Your heart rate speeds up and your palms start to sweat. Fear is a very normal part of being human. We experience it when we’re faced with change, especially when that change is big and uncertain.
Fear of failure, fear of judgment, and fear of the unknown are par for the course.
They can be paralyzing, preventing us from taking action and achieving our goals. But what if we could overcome that fear? What if we could find a way to move past it and start achieving all the great things we desire for ourselves and our lives?
In this post, we’ll explore some of the common fears associated with going after what we want and how they hold us back. We’ll also provide actionable tips for how to overcome these common fears and start moving forward on your big goals!
The common fears that bog us down:
1. Fear of failure.
Fear of failure is the fear of not being able to achieve a goal. It can show up as procrastination, perfectionism, or self-doubt. You might avoid taking risks or trying new things. You might also give up easily when faced with obstacles.
One of the biggest reasons we fear failure is because of our core wounds that say we’re damaged or broken, unlovable at our core, or not good enough. Many people wrongly equate failure with being a bad or wrong person, when that’s not at all the case. People fail all the time. Good people, brilliant people, and successful people, too. Failure is part of the process of getting to success, and if you’re not willing to fail along the way, you’re unlikely to succeed at the things you really desire. Especially things that require you to step up and grow or learn new things.
How to overcome the fear of failure:
- Acknowledge your fear. You can’t work on your fear of failure if you’re unable to identify that it’s at play. Notice when and where it comes up, (without judgment because it’s valuable insight and information).
- Change your mindset. Instead of thinking of failure as a bad thing, try to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s all just information, and the failures themselves mean nothing about you as a person.
- Set realistic goals for yourself and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may be. Instead of going for the big thing right now, what’s a small milestone that will be more tolerable as you fail your way to success?
- Don’t go it alone. If you’re struggling to overcome your fear of failure, it may be helpful to seek out the support of a coach. They can help you identify the root of your fear and work with you to develop healthy coping mechanisms.
Remember, you can’t succeed if you’re not willing to fail, so this is an incredibly critical fear to identify and work through if you want to achieve big goals!
Watch this incredible conversation with Jennifer Kem who lost her marriage and her 8-figure business in the 2008 recession.
In this episode, she’s pulling back the curtain on the moments that shaped her life and led her to her purpose, from getting passed up for a promotion and starting and growing an 8-figure retail business, to losing that business, and falling into a deep depression. She’ll open up on the moment she knew it was time to come back, and how she went on to build a career and a life that sets her soul on fire.
2. Fear of success.
Yep, this is a real thing we often overlook. For some people, fear of success manifests as a fear of taking risks. They might be afraid to put themselves out there or to try something new because they don’t know what will happen, even if things turn out exactly as they hope. Others might be afraid of succeeding because they’re not sure they can handle the responsibility that comes with it. Still, some might be afraid of the changes that success would bring to their lives. They might worry that they won’t be able to handle the new level of pressure and expectation, or that they’ll have to give up things they love to maintain their success.
Whatever the reason, fear of success is a very real thing for many people.
There are a few signs that fear of success might be holding you back. Do you tend to procrastinate or put off taking action on your goals? Do you second-guess yourself a lot, or doubt your abilities? Do you find yourself making excuses for why you haven’t achieved certain things yet? If so, fear of success might be to blame.
It’s important to note that the fear of success is usually based on two things: a fear of change and a fear of not being good enough. If you’re afraid of success, it means you’re afraid of making changes in your life that could lead to success. And second, you might not feel like you’re good enough or deserving of success. The latter comes back to our self-worth, which is a much bigger conversation.
How to overcome the fear of success:
- Acknowledge your fear. The first step is to simply acknowledge that you’re afraid of success and that it’s holding you back from achieving it.
- Identify your reasons. Once you’ve acknowledged your fear, try to identify the reasons why you’re afraid of success. Is it because you’re afraid of change? Or is it because you don’t feel like you’re good enough?
- Challenge your beliefs. After you’ve identified your reasons for being afraid of success, it’s time to challenge those beliefs. Are they really true? Do you have to make changes in your life that you’re not comfortable with? Are you actually good enough and deserving of the success you desire? Are you capable of handling anything that comes along with the success you want?
- Take action. The final step is to take action towards your goals. This might mean making some changes in your life, but it’s important to remember that you’re in control. You can do this!
Overcoming the fear of success is possible, but it takes time and intention. If you’re willing to put in the work, you will achieve your goals and reach the success you want. Just remember to take things one step at a time and be patient with yourself.
3. Fear of judgment.
Fear of judgment is the fear that other people will think poorly of us. It’s the fear that we’ll be rejected, ridiculed, humiliated, or ostracized from our community and left to fend for ourselves (one of the oldest, primal, common fears we have). We might worry that people will think we’re stupid, incompetent, or unworthy. Or, we might be afraid that they’ll see us as weak, powerless, or helpless.
If we’re afraid of being judged, we might avoid certain situations and people. For example, we might not want to speak up in a meeting at work or raise our hand in class because we’re afraid of looking foolish. Or, we might avoid social situations altogether because we’re worried that people will see us as boring, awkward, or uninteresting. We may even bail on that first date because we don’t want to find out we’re not attractive or lovable enough for the other person to choose.
There are a few signs to watch for: Do you put a lot of effort into trying to look good or appear successful? Do you avoid taking risks or trying new things because you’re worried about what other people will think? Do you compare yourself to others a lot, or feel like you’re not good enough? If you answered yes to any of these, then it’s likely that fear of judgment is something you struggle with.
Worrying about what other people think is a waste of time and energy. It keeps us from living our lives the way we want to, and from being our true selves. It’s also important to remember that everyone is too busy worrying about their own lives and problems to spend much time thinking about us. So, the next time you catch yourself worrying about what other people think, remind yourself that it doesn’t matter. You’ll be much happier and more fulfilled if you focus on living your own life, instead of worrying about what other people think.
How to overcome the fear of judgment:
- Acknowledge your fear: Notice where you’re afraid of being judged and why, as well as who you fear judgment from the most.
- Stop caring what other people think: This is easier said than done, but it’s an important step nonetheless. Start by focusing on your own opinion of yourself and what you’re doing. Other people’s opinions should be secondary.
- Push your edges slowly: If there are places where you’re terrified of judgment, try pushing your edges beyond what’s comfortable. Go to the store in your pajamas with messy hair and no makeup (or just rock the messy bun for the first time). Say what you really think with your family (or to that one family member you feel somewhat comfortable with) and throw out your wild hair idea in the company meeting (or to a coworker in a safe, private conversation).
- Get support to unpack deeper traumas and fears: If you find that you’re struggling to overcome your fear of judgment on your own, seek professional help. Process work and acupressure can help you identify the root of your fear and work through it in a safe and supportive environment.
Overcoming the fear of judgment allows for far more freedom in your life. Start with these steps and be patient with yourself. Remember that everyone has fear of judgment, but it’s up to you whether or not you let it control your life.
Watch this potent and inspiring interview with Tenita Johnson about how she found her purpose after a life of rejection.
In this episode, Tenita shares with us her journey to find her own purpose through a lifetime of setbacks starting from her childhood where she grew up being told she wasn’t supposed to exist. She’ll be pulling back the curtain on feeling alone, feeling unseen, and feeling unworthy of love and sharing how she took all the negative things that happened in her life and turned them into positives as well as her mission to do the same for others.
4. Fear of the unknown.
Fear of the unknown is simply fear of the unfamiliar. It’s the fear of not knowing what’s going to happen next. This can be a very paralyzing feeling, especially if you’ve had trauma that made you feel unsafe and out of control.
If you’re afraid of the unknown, chances are you’re also afraid of change. After all, change is often synonymous with the unknown and that can be a very scary thing. Change can be exciting, but it can also be daunting. It’s natural to want to hold on to what’s familiar and comfortable. In fact, our subconscious mind is wired to keep us in the known and familiar as much as possible. But if you’re not open to change, you’ll likely miss out on some incredible opportunities in life.
You might be afraid of the unknown if you’re always playing it safe, a creature of habit, resistant to new ideas, or frequently anxious about the future. You worry about what’s going to happen next and you have a hard time letting go of control. You may also tend to plan and control every little thing that you can.
How to overcome the fear of the unknown:
- Acknowledge your fear. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to recognize that fear is normal and natural. By acknowledging your fear, you’re taking the first step towards conquering it.
- Identify your triggers. Once you know what you’re afraid of, it’s important to identify your triggers. What are the things that trigger your fear of the unknown? Is it thinking about the future, or is it a specific situation that you’re faced with? By identifying your triggers, you can start to address them head-on.
- Process your trauma. If you have trauma, it’s not as simple as pushing your edges and facing your fears, you have to actually process those stored emotions out of your body. This will allow you to be free from old trauma responses that keep you frozen and paralyzed so that you can move forward.
- Face your fear. Once you know what your fear is and what triggers it, it’s time to face it head-on. This may mean facing your fear of the future by making plans and setting goals, or it may mean confronting a specific situation that you’re afraid of. Whatever it is, facing your fear is an important step in overcoming it.
- See that you’ll survive. A big aspect of fearing the unknown is that our subconscious doesn’t know we can survive it. The more you face your fear and see that you’ll survive it, even if things go awry, the less you’ll fear uncertainty.
- Take small steps. When you’re facing your fear, it’s important to take things slow and steady. This means taking small steps instead of big leaps. By breaking down your fear into manageable pieces, you can start to slowly conquer it.
- Be patient with yourself. Overcoming fear is a process, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to work through your fear. Remember that there is no finish line, but the journey itself is worth it.
By following these steps, you can start to overcome your fear of the unknown. Just remember to be patient with yourself and take things one step at a time. Soon enough, you’ll be living more fearlessly!
Fear is a normal part of being human and going for more in our lives.
It’s important to remember that everyone experiences fear.
Just because you’re feeling fear doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or the situation. In fact, it can be a good thing. Fear can motivate us to take action and make changes in our lives. It can also help keep us safe.
The key is to not let fear hold you back.
Don’t let it prevent you from going after your dreams and goals.
It’s okay to be scared; just don’t let fear win.