We can have a fear of failure, which causes us to never take risks and while not all risks are good, we have to take some to get ahead. There is also the fear of success, which can be even more debilitating because it tends to be subtle. When we get to the point where we are getting close to succeeding, we pull back out of fear of what lies ahead. Our fears can be a big inhibitor of our success.
Sometimes, past experiences can put up walls that keep us from succeeding. This is a difficult situation and can take a long time to overcome. Some people never get through it. Often, it’s because they don’t seek out some form of help. For some, simply talking to loved ones may work. For others, the trauma is so deep that they need professional help.
It is been commonly stated that most people fear the unknown and consequently, they will have problems stepping outside your comfort zones also because doing so exposes a part of them they may not be ready for. A good example of this is being offered a promotion at work that you may feel you are not ready. As a career consultant, I would not advise not taking a promotion from the basis of your fears. However, I would coach you through the root of the fears so that you are able to make a more rational decision about the offer.
There are many ways to overcome our fears:
- One way to break through your fears is to create a routine that includes the activities you fear. For many years, I have secretly enjoyed public speaking however, I was fearful of making a mistake so a few years ago I decided to join a Toastmasters Club and attend its meeting weekly during the week. I made a lot of mistakes but I did not stop. I am still a member of that club and a self-proclaimed life-time Toastmasters member! Since then, public speaking has become a pursuit of passion.
- Set up a schedule for the activities you fear and give them a try. Allow yourself to fail as long as you give yourself permission to try it again the next day.
- Talk to others who have gone through what you fear. Make it a routine to talk to different people. Ask them how they got through the fear. Most people will be glad to offer advice on how you can do the same.
By setting up routines with the activities you fear, you start to break down your barriers within your mind. It is a process, and you will likely fail. When I get up to do a speech now, it is second nature to give one. This was not always the case. You simply keep going with determination and what was difficult became easy over time. It is the same with any fear. Keep working on it every day until it becomes second nature. After you master it, you will look back and wonder why you thought it was so difficult.