Fear holds many people back from personal and professional success, and some people are unaware of it. This is because it can be difficult to be objective and see outside your own situation when you are in the situation.
Often an outside perspective is needed to become aware of how you may be holding yourself back from having the success you desire.
The warning signs
Whether you have fear around posting on social media, networking or meeting people, fear holds many people back from personal and professional success. While there are many possible warning signs that fear is holding you back from success, here are some common ones:
- You avoid doing new things (e.g. starting a new career/business, getting into a new relationship, meeting new people, making new friends) and gravitate around what is familiar to you
- You avoid ending things e.g. leaving a job or relationship in which you are unfulfilled
- You procrastinate and put off doing things e.g. making decisions, making phone calls, having difficult conversations, giving presentations, etc.
- You feel unmotivated, can’t be bothered doing things, lack direction or goals in life
- You overthink, overanalyse, feel insecure and then stay in inaction
- You focus on external events and people out of your control. This keeps you in inaction, instead of taking action on what you can control
- You are afraid to speak up for what you want, and what is right for you
- You don’t trust yourself, second guess yourself, and worry about making wrong decisions
- You worry about what other people think of you or how they may judge you
- You have been hurt, rejected or betrayed in the past, and are worried it may happen again so you avoid getting too close to people
- You worry about being alone or not fitting in
- You focus on lack, not having enough, and what you may miss out on
- You are withdrawn from life/socialising and prefer to be a bystander rather than a go-getter in life. You watch life pass you by, and do not get involved.
- You surround yourself with negative people, you watch/read/listen to negative things. After a while you become your environment, and the negativity and fear rubs off on you.
- You have a pattern of sabotaging yourself e.g. job interviews, performance, career/business, relationships, health and life.
How many of these warning signs apply to you?
The impact of fear
We have dozens of different emotions; fear is one of them. Some fear is appropriate in certain situations. When our fear 'buttons' are pushed and we feel overwhelming fear or when we react to a person or situation in a way that we are unhappy with, then fear is out of proportion. Out of proportion fear causes indecision, inaction, avoidance, distraction and procrastination.
Our fears also become self-fulfilling. After a while, we attract what we fear; our thoughts affect our behaviour. For example, people who fear rejection often say or do things to sabotage themselves. In turn, they are rejected.
Fear is a saboteur as it can affect our ability to access positive emotions like confidence, happiness and motivation. In turn, this affects your ability to successfully achieve what you want.
Out of proportion fear (as well as other emotions and stress) has been shown to suppress the immune system, affect organ function and more. This is turn makes people more susceptible to ill health.
There is more and more research showing the link between negative emotions, like fear, and our health and wellbeing. Therefore, it is important to address any out-of-proportion fears and other negative emotions to improve our health. Addressing our fears will also stop the sabotage, lead to focused action, more confidence, increased motivation, greater personal and professional success.