I’ve been thinking lately about fear, and why it seems to so easily take hold of us. In some areas of our lives we can be fearless and bold, but in others, the truly important ones, we let our fear rule us and hold us back from living the life we truly want and deserve. The problem with this, is that when we let fear keep us from achieving our goals, we condemn ourselves to a lifetime of wondering “what if?”
Are you letting fear hold you back?
I’ve compiled a list of five common fears that hold people back from success and paired them with inspirational quotes and affirmations that can help break through each different fear. Take a look at the list below. Are any of these common fears holding you back from achieving your own goals? If so, try copying out the associated quote and affirmation and posting them in a place where you’ll see them often, like the edge of your computer screen. Repeat these inspirational messages to yourself regularly for a week or two and see if you feel any different about wanting to start taking action towards achieving your goals!
5 common fears that block success
The fear: failure.
For some, the fear that we might fail is enough to make us never start. But if we never try anything new, we’ll never do anything new, either. Remember that we don’t have to do something perfectly in order to do it well, and that there is very little in life that can actually be considered a real failure. Every experience provides with an opportunity for learning and growth, and there is always a positive in every situation.
The affirmation: I grow more confident every day, and my future is full of possibilities!
The quote: “Excellence does not require perfection.” ~Henry James
The fear: success.
For some, the fear that we will succeed is actually the sticking point – we fear that success will somehow change us. Which of course, it will, but change is a part of growth; if we succeed at making a dream a reality, of course it’s going to change us, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad thing.
The affirmation: Success provides positive opportunities and experiences for me and my family.
The quote: “Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there.” ~Will Smith
The fear: the unknown.
For many of us, the fear of not being able to see exactly how the goal will be achieved, at every step of the way, is terrifying and being unable to see the whole path all at once prevents us from ever taking the first step. But what if that first step is all it takes to break through the fear? What if the very act of committing to our goal and taking that first step in faith that we can and will be successful is enough to completely evaporate the fear?
The affirmation: I am always going in the right direction and my path is always revealed to me in the right time and sequence.
The quote: “You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” ~Martin Luther King Jr
The fear: other people’s opinions.
Many of us hold ourselves back from the things we most want to achieve because we are afraid of what people will think; we’re afraid that others will laugh at our dreams or think those dreams are ridiculous (“Who do you think you are?” or “You want to do what? Seriously?”).
The affirmation: My choices are always right for me; I am learning to trust myself and my own judgement.
The quote: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind.” ~Dr. Seuss
The fear: losing the security blanket.
Sometimes people use fear as a safety net, allowing it to give them an acceptable reason for not taking the risk of going out and living the life we have imagined. We wrap ourselves in this cocoon, because it feels safer to let the fear control us than it is to face it and take that first trembling step forward, toward the goals we so long to achieve.
The affirmation: I release my fears and choose a life of joy. It is safe to move forward.
The quote: “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” ~Les Brown
If you’ve been feeling stuck with respect to taking action on your goals, maybe these common fears have been holding you back. If one or more of them seem familiar to you, hopefully the affirmations and quotes here will help you break free of those fears and let you get going on living the life of your dreams. 🙂
Dream. Believe. Achieve.
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What a big topic, and you offer such practical, helpful advice. Thanks! The affirmation that feels best to me is
I release my fears and live a life of joy!
Wow! Yes! People tend to think of me as fearless, which of course isn’t true. I’ve changed countries three times, changed jobs, husbands (oops), houses, languages (Spanish now),… Ordinary fears don’t faze me much. My fear is of feeling trapped in a static situation, and believe me, it can be a debilitating fear! Restlessness isn’t always a virtue, though it has made for an interesting life!
Thanks again for this mantra! It’s going up by my bed. Hugs,
You’re welcome for the mantra! I like that one, too. My other favourite is “my future is full of possibilities”, but I like to use it in the present tense: “My NOW is full of possibilities!” That one just makes me so happy and excited. 🙂
I can totally sympathize with the fear of stagnation and being stuck in a static situation… I think that’s one of the big things that made government work so hard for me. Everytime I’ve held a government job it was fine for the first few months when I was learning the ropes, but after I knew what I was doing, the longer I stayed, the more trapped I felt and the more miserable I became. On the other hand, that very trait is probably what made me such a great temp worker when I worked for an agency… I could hit the ground running, get my job done exceptionally well in a short amount of time, and then it was off to something new and different.
It does make for an interesting life, doesn’t it? 😉
Oh fear..she’s my kryptonite.
I started school in the fall and I bombed because of my depression and paranoia. I vowed to take it again but i’m dragging my feet. I’m afraid that it will send me into a tailspin. That I’ll fail…that I’ll disappoint people…that if I fail, I’d be throwing out money that we don’t have. Sigh…awful emotion to have.
Sometimes the fear is a good thing. If you’re really not ready for it, then perhaps the fear is a signal of that. When fear becomes the dominant thought (i.e. you’re truly terrified of flunking if you try it) the concern is that, by focusing your attention and emotions so strongly on that, you turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps focusing on getting yourself grounded, and doing the mental work of preparing yourself for a successful school experience might be a helpful first step (believing in yourself, I mean, not studying course material).
Alternatively, if there’s a reason why you have to go back to school now, then, instead of focusing on the whole entire sememster and how terrifying that thought is for you, try breaking it down into little steps and focusing only on each of those steps as they come up. For instance, focus just on searching through the course catalogue for the courses and timeslots that you would be interested in (no pressure, just browsing, just putting together a hypothetical schedule for yourself). When you’re comfortable with that, then focus just on registering for those classes, and that’s all you have to do. Take it in incremental baby steps and don’t think about the next step until you have to (and remember to reward yourself for your success after each step!) It might help to minimize the fear for you.
The fear of disappointing people, especially the people you care most about, is really a hard one for a lot of us. We put ourselves through so much stress imagining what people would think if we failed, when all those reactions that we fear are just our imaginations running wild. We imagine people being so much more disappointed or angry than they really are likely to be. We’re harder on ourselves — even before we’ve done anything! — than anyone we actually know would be.
Most importantly, remember that even if the worst happened and you did fail… it does not mean that you yourself are a failure. You are a success. Just by being here, you are a success. You are a work in progress, and you’ll get there in your own way and in your own time, as long as you don’t give up. ((hugs))
Wow, Nathalie! Great article! My dear friend Carole Remy referred me to your wonderful site. I am sure to read more when I have a chance.
I think when it comes to fears, slow and steady wins the race, so to speak. I realize lots of people like to “dive right in” or “hit the ground running” and live by cramming for tests, simply winging things and being thrown in deep water to learn how to swim. Well, this may be an effective technique for some, but even the law of attraction mentions per-paving and how that is fundamental to the process of creation and co-creation. Even the universe took time to form and keeps expanding. Ok, that is a huge example, but I think things take time, preparation, affirmation and dipping of toes to be effective.
If there is fear, then taking things more slowly will ease fear and make it disappear on its own. Even “over night successes” as they are labeled, are not really. They worked on their craft for years before slashing into the mainstream. It is okay to struggle and work on things. The universe helps out in your quest. But ignoring instincts is never a good idea, unless it is paranoia, which is the result of lazy focusing in LOA terms, as I have recently learned.
Until next time!
Sorry, that would be pre-paving and splashing. I’m on a smartphone.
Hi A, and thank you for commenting! Pre-paving is definitely an important part of Law of Attraction. In fact, you could probably say that everything depends on pre-paving, because, at it’s core, pre-paving is just a fancy way of saying “the thoughts you’re thinking about [whatever the subject is]”. All of the affirmations, quotes, etc. listed above are essentially pre-paving techniques that allow you to change your fearful thoughts about a goal into something more positive and productive. 🙂
The key with fear is understanding where it is coming from; is the fear really just nerves or that inner critic stepping in, or is it something deeper? You’re right that ignoring your instincts is never a good idea, but allowing a fear to prevent you from doing something you really want to do is not a good idea, either. Many fears are actually the result of us listening to outside voices and opinions rather than our own inner wisdom. Figuring out the difference is where the real work lies. In trying to figure out what the difference is, look for the “should”s and “ought to”s in your thought patterns. If you’re finding a lot of those, odds are that your fear comes from listening to someone else rather than to your own instincts.
When it comes right down to it, you need to listen to yourself. Go as fast or as slow as you need to. If your choices come from that place of inner knowing, then whatever method or speed you use will end up being what’s right for you.
Yes! That was awesome, Nathalie! Thank you so much for this summary! that is it right there.
Until next time, dear.