• Stephen Baines

5 Fears Preventing You From Taking Action And What You Can Do About Them

Everyone has fears. This is inevitable. It is a part of life. However, what separates the winners from the masses who fail is the ability to recognise, acknowledge and mitigate fears. To continue to take action. While conquering one’s deepest and darkest fears is not easy, it is definitely worth the effort. for all of us, there will be times when our outlook is not as positive as we would like it to be. We may wonder if it will all work out.

This could be temporary setbacks, financial insecurities, physical challenges or even the perception that others hold of us. The usual challenges that life throws at you can be daunting. The majority of us will throw in the towel and quit the moment the going gets tough. Backed up by a false belief that they don’t have what it takes to succeed or the journey is just too difficult. Fear of the challenge ahead that will undoubtedly shape the success that is so often craved. The result: quitting out of fear.

When it comes to fear, you really only have 2 choices.

(1) Forget Your Dreams And Run, or (2) Face The Challenges And Rise

The choice is quite obvious. Whilst the first one will be an easy cop-out, it will leave you stranded in the muck and mire of mediocrity. Your dreams and goals will quite simply die. Your life will continue without the realisation of what could have been. In choosing the second option, you will push past your fear with stern determination.

When you come out on the other side, you will be emotionally stronger, mentally tougher and you will have likely tasted success.

You only really have two options. By choosing the second one, you will soon realise that everything you want is on the other side of fear.

In this blog and video, we will look at five of the most common fears that plague almost everyone at some point or other. Also, we will offer tips on how you can calm your beating heart.

1. Fear of the Unknown

This is probably one of the biggest fears that you may face. Are we ever 100% prepared for any given situation? No. Whilst you may have done our homework and prepared to the best of your abilities, there will ALWAYS be a certain degree of uncertainty. That’s just the way it is. You must always remember that you can not discover new lands if you are afraid to lose sight of the shore.

You have to push through and go with your heart. The key part is about developing the courage to achieve what you desire. If you systematically address your fears, it will become second nature to you. If you are worried that you may not have the skills needed, forge a plan to acquire them or even go ahead and do try it anyway. Then learn and develop as you go along. The first step is crucial. You must have the faith to take this step even when you may not be able to see the whole staircase.

The best way to put an end to your fear of the unknown is to have belief in yourself and your goals.

There are thousands of people who are seeking a path to making a quick buck. Most of them fail and quit. The road to success is paved with the corpses of the many who have tried and quit. They quit because they did not believe in themselves and they let their fear take over. Like John Stewart Mill said, “One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who only have an interest.”

The next time you have doubts and fears, ask yourself why you are feeling them. Maybe you have been making a stable income in a side project but you are worried about quitting your day job because of the security it provides. By asking yourself why you have this fear, you’ll understand that what you really fear is that you might have no money in case your side project dries up.

In understanding the route of the fear of the unknown, you will be able to make plans such as saving up enough money that will last you six months in case of any unexpected setbacks. This is a plan of action. If you do not analyse your fears and all you do is let them control you and hold you back, your life will become stagnant and in almost all cases, there will be retrogression. The only way to progress is to keep moving forward whether or not you have fears.

2. The Fear of Failure

Fear of failure itself is is a major fear that often debilitates many and prevents action on their goals and dreams. Usually, this fear is disguised in many different ways. An example is when you worry that all your efforts will go to waste if things do not go to plan right away. That is a fear of failure. Most people say that they just ‘do not want to waste their time on something that will not work.’

The reality is that you will never know unless you try. It may take you years to begin to see results. But guess what? If you do not try because you are scared that you will fail, the time is going to pass anyway.

The years will go by and chances are your life will probably do so too. Things change which may make it harder or easier to achieve your goal. Whereas if you move forward with your goals, you just might see the results with a little more perseverance. A lot of people fear failure because of the perceptions of other people. Or at least their own view of their possible perceptions. The remarkable thing is that these are often the same people who have unwaveringly supported us through our lives

But the fear of potential criticism from their peers is real. But also really unnecessary.

What others think of you should be the least of your concerns. In fact, you may notice that when you try to better yourself and do things that others do not do, your friends and family will probably be your hardest critics and they’ll call it ‘concern’ or ‘tough love. The truth of the matter is that when you are making progress and achieving your goals, this shines a spotlight on 'what could have been' for them. Potential missed or lost opportunities.

It makes them feel threatened and the only way for them to feel better is to drag you down to their level so that the status quo can be maintained. This is life and by understanding that what others think of you is none of your business. This fear of looking foolish will disappear all on its own. Lao Tzu once said, “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”

Now, this is one side of the coin but the other as noted is the often unwavering support. We may fix in our minds the negative side of the story where our previous best supporters turn on us. Yet we may find the complete opposite where they become advocates, supporters or even potential investors or customers.

The best way to deal with the fear of failure is to ask yourself what could possibly go wrong. Now plan out what countermeasures you can take to prevent your endeavours from failing. Spend time visualizing yourself pushing past obstacles and succeeding. Repeat this visualisation process daily and even a couple of times a day. This will give you faith and belief in yourself to keep going forward.

3. The Fear That You Are Not Good Enough

This fear arises even when failure has not really been experienced. It is termed imposter syndrome. This is where our current position or potential success is internally viewed as not been of merit. In clients I have worked with the words 'I have been lucky' or 'I fluked it' come to mind for them. They do not recognise their own successes were in-fact down to them.

Imposter Syndrome is where you may regularly beat yourself up claiming that you are not or were not worthy. That you are out of place or that you will soon get found out as been a fraud. This is a really serious mindset challenge. Quite frankly, it is experienced by almost everyone too. Even those at the very top of their game.

Similarly, you may also see a fear arising from a lack of recognise from the cross-functional skills which may help you in your journey. Skills which you have become well-versed in which could add a lot of value to achieving your goals. Yet there may be an unfair mindset focus on how those skills are irrelevant. The same goes for using those past experience to potentially bring yourself down.

The very wise Albert Einstein once said, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The point of that statement is that one should not judge themselves based on how they performed in school or previous jobs. There are countless stories of people who failed many times and finally succeeded beyond their wildest dreams once they found their true calling.

Never give up on yourself. Fortune favours the brave. Usually, when you are working towards your goals, there will be a learning curve that you will have to go through. This is inevitable. You will make mistakes. You will buy products that are rubbish. And you will waste time and money. This too is normal and can not be avoided. However, if you quit while at this stage because you feel like you are not good enough, you will NEVER get better.

You only improve as you keep learning and progressing. Many beginners look at experts in their target areas and feel intimidated. They believe that the others are smarter, richer and better than them. Do not compare yourself with others. This is a huge mistake and will always leave you feeling discontented. You may be comparing your beginning with someone else’s finish. It’s not fair to you and you will be doing yourself a disservice. All you need to do is focus on being the best that you can be.

Here is the truth. Everybody started off as a beginner. No-one became successful overnight. There is a journey that you have to go through and go through it you must. Fearing that you will never amount to much will mean that you have given up before you even started. You must have confidence. Chalk up every little failure that you encounter along the way as a learning experience. You can not extrapolate from incomplete data. The more you learn, the better you’ll get.

The more mistakes you make the better. Failure is not the opposite of success. It is a part of success. You are good enough. You have always been good enough. You just need to believe it.

4. The Fear That You’re Late or Too Old

This is another big one that I often encounter. You may have heard terms like ‘you are too old to start a business’ or 'are you sure you are not too old to run a marathon'… But are these statements really true? Of course not. While some methods may come and go, with the right mindset and motivation you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Every day people are smashing unthinkable goals that they may have previously been told were impossible. It is never too late to start and now is as good a time as any.

You are also never too old to set new goals or dream new dreams. Stan Lee created his first hit comic close to his 39th birthday. Henry Ford was 45 when he created the Model T car. Ray Croc only started MacDonald’s at the age of 52 and Colonel Sanders was 62 when he franchised KFC. Jeff Bezos founded Amazon at 33. Achieving goals is not only for those 'fresh out of University'. As you can see, people have succeeded in life at all ages. You are never too old. So cast this fear aside and pursue your dreams today.

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." – Chinese proverb

5. Limiting Beliefs

Just when you were expecting another fear, you have been hit with ‘limiting beliefs’. It may be surprising but this is true and one of the most common disablers that I encounter as a coach. There are many people who have been held back from success because of their own beliefs. There is an emotional disconnect within them. The reason for this is that while growing up, we formed our beliefs based on what we saw, what we heard and what we were told.

One good example will be overweight people who feel like they are ‘destined’ to be overweight. Their parents, siblings, relatives and everyone close to them is overweight so they buy into the story that they are naturally predisposed to obesity.

While to a certain extent it could be true because some people have a naturally slower metabolism, the truth of the matter is that food choices, eating habits, attitudes towards food, etc. are often passed down from parents to the children.

Because of this, all they ever knew about food and eating is what they saw and heard. If they decided to eat clean, exercise more and watch their calories, they would definitely lose all the excess pounds and probably end up being the leanest person in their family. But getting to this stage requires one to overcome their limited thinking and believe that they are worthy of success.

The same applies to people who grew up in poor families where the parents made it look like money was hard to come by or that rich people were evil and greedy whilst poor people were generous and kind. With beliefs like these, their subconscious mind will not allow them to build wealth because they would not want to be evil and greedy, would they?

Overcoming your limited self-beliefs is a Herculean task but it can be done. You will need to be proactive and actually be alert to the way you think and correct yourself. Once you realize that your only limit is yourself, your life will change and you will conquer this obstacle. You are worthy of success.

Closing Remarks

By now you will realize that fear is false evidence appearing real. The best way to conquer fear is through action. Analysing why you feel the way you feel is helpful, but nothing beats action when it comes to dispelling fear. Do what you fear most and the fear will vanish.

Never let your fear decide your future. Make a good plan, have contingencies in place and work your plan till you succeed. Even during the darkest hours when everything around you may feel like it is all about to collapse and all your fears are telling you that you are about to fail, dig your heels in and keep pushing forward.

It’s always darkest before the dawn. Keep going. Smash those goals

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