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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

10 Types of Unnecessary Fear That Block Your Success

10 Types of Unnecessary Fear That Block Your Success

When our mind and heart are taken over by unnecessary fear, our life grinds to a halt. Fear debilitates us and blocks us from taking positive action to move forward. Many types of fear can seep through our daily life unnoticed and unchecked.

Most common types of fear are unnecessary fears. This means that, unlike instinctive fear, these types of fear are mostly a fabrication of our mind or instilled through past experiences.

Unnecessary fear can and must be identified and avoided. They serve no real purpose apart from hindering our actions, goals, and progress in life.

Here are the top 10 kinds of unnecessary fear that should not block you anymore.

1. Fear of Failure

We all fear failing in something at some point in our life. This can include fear of failing in a job interview, a business venture, a relationship, reaching a goal, and so on. The problem arises when it becomes a fear of failure in general[1].

Some of the most successful people have a different perception of failure. They are detached from failure as though it has no consequence to their lives. In other words, failure does not say or imply anything about them or their work. It is only another important step towards their goals.

How to Overcome This Fear

Say, for example, a job opportunity arises unexpectedly. This is the job you have been wanting for a long time. You are called for an interview. Pressure builds up as you fear you might lose the golden opportunity.

You fear failing. How do you shake off that creeping fear, knowing that it can only debilitate you?

One important thing you need to do is to let go of thinking or putting too much importance to the outcome.

Stop linking future outcomes to the event. Let go of any expectations and just focus your attention on the thing itself.

2. Fear of the Unknown

When something is unknown or unfamiliar, such as the future, it poses a subtle threat and becomes one of the common types of fear and causes anxiety. Yet, this fear or anxiety is clearly an irrational response to a situation.

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It has no real definition or substance. It’s fine to be cautious about something unknown, but fear of the unknown is only a way of missing out on the many opportunities and thrills life has to offer.

How to Overcome This Fear

You have to face the unknown with interest but not suspicion or distrust.

If you’re deciding to make a life change, what’s next is unknown, but should you believe that the future is waiting to rip you apart? Or should you trust your instincts and your heart telling you that it’s going to be fine?

For more on how to overcome the fear of the unknown, check out this article.

3. Fear of Change

One of the most common types of fear, and one which is closely linked to the fear of the unknown, is the fear of change. It keeps us stuck to our comfort zone. A lot of the rewarding stuff in life comes from pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and into the next level.

It requires the courage and resolve to accept what’s new and to let go of the mental and emotional attachments to the old.

How to Overcome This Fear

It happened to me many times: changing careers, quitting my full-time job, changing my lifestyle, etc. At first you feel you don’t have the energy or will to change. Then comes the turning point, like a kid learning to swim.

She is holding with one hand to the pool’s edge, with an intense fear. She hesitates, and then she lets go of the edge, plunges into the water, and is swimming unaided by nothing but her own will.

Dive into change a few times to help your mind understand that it’s really the only path to the life you want.

4. Fear of the Haunted Past

The past can be a ghost, haunting us. We even create fictitious parallel pasts, pasts that could have happened but did not. Learning from the past is necessary, but fearing it is certainly not.

What is fear of the past? It’s the fear of reliving certain negative emotions connected with your past, such as guilt, regret, and resentment. These emotions can be quite disturbing, but their power over us can be dissolved if we consciously remind ourselves that the past has no place in the present. It is what it is.

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How to Overcome This Fear

Let’s say you have a regret that comes to haunt you every now and then from your past. How do you vanquish that specter from the past?

By forgiving yourself and by accepting that you are a being with feelings and beliefs in constant change. The “you” ten years ago was a different person than the “you” now. The link between them is only in your head. Forgive your past self for what it was, and the link will be broken.

5. Fear of Disapproval by Others

As social creatures, we have been brought up from a young age to regard others’ thoughts and opinions about us and what we do, which has created several types of fear. It becomes part of our life’s equation. Stretched outside of its purpose, considering what others might be thinking or feeling about you can become a stumbling block.

This is especially true when you fear that others might disapprove of your ideas, choices, and behavior.

How to Overcome This Fear

For instance, whenever you are making a decision, such as changing your look or following a new lifestyle, and you feel the fear of disapproval by your peers, catch yourself being fearful. Remind yourself that you are free and not chained to other people’s views.

Try some mindfulness meditation to build self-confidence. Once you have a solid base of confidence, it will be hard to shake.

Check out this article for more tips on how to build self-confidence.

6. Fear of Rejection

In relation to fear of disapproval by others, another of the types of fear is fear of rejection, especially rejection from those who are close to your heart. Fear of rejection can only cause emotional blockage.

How to Overcome This Fear

This involves a lot of practice in vulnerability. Only through an openness to the possibility of being rejected can we truly obtain the kinds of relationships and connections with others that we want.

Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, once wrote:

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

You can hear more of her thoughts on vulnerability in this TED Talk:

https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability?language=en

7. Fear of Losing Control

People often feel miserable after feeling that they have been disempowered by others. They feel weak, hurt, and lost. This can come out of a bad relationship, physical or verbal abuse, and even ridicule.

The truth is that we never lose our power and control to others. We give it away.

How to Overcome This Fear

When you feel you are losing your power to others, for example in an argument with your boss at work, remind yourself that you are the only signatory of that transaction.

Put the argument aside, and confront the person when you are emotionally recollected and more conscious.

8. Fear of Heartbreak

Heartbreaks can form emotional scars, and those scars can linger for many years to the detriment of closing us off to new relationships and experiences. What you need to understand is that past heartbreaks are only trapped emotional energy that need to be released.

Once the connection between past and future is broken, the fear is dissolved.

How to Overcome This Fear

When you fear that you will be heartbroken, instead of withdrawing, do exactly the opposite. Try to open your heart to the person or situation. Allow it to happen.

When you respond to situations with an open heart instead of fear, things will change dramatically, and the relationship will open up in ways you never expected. With each new heartbreak, you will learn more about what you want out of a relationship, which will help lead you toward a healthy, happy relationship.

9. Fear of Success

This may sound strange, but yes, fear of success is one of the common types of fear, and it’s an unnecessary fear. It’s not well known because it is a very silent fear. Fear of success is basically the fear of not being able to handle, or live up to, the positive change that comes from success.

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It’s an obvious drawback, since fear of success will impede success.

How to Overcome This Fear

Many people have been at the door of succeeding in something but gave up on it at the last minute because of this fear. This is generally more problematic for women. One study pointed out that “women insufficiently self-promote because they fear backlash for behavior which is incongruent with traditional gender roles”[2].

For women, overcoming this fear will involve pushing against societal expectations that women are less successful than men.

For anyone, overcoming this fear involves telling yourself that you are up for the challenge of what’s to come, that you are capable of whatever life brings you. Then, start feeling good about all of your successes.

Learn the 6 Types of Fear of Success (And How to Overcome Them).

10. Fear of Love

Of course, this is one of the well-known types of fear. It holds us back from opening our heart to others and finding happiness. Fear of love is born out of a combination of other fears, such as fear of rejection, fear of heartbreaks, and fear of success.

The obvious drawback of this unnecessary fear is that it holds you back from giving and receiving love—one of the strongest currencies in personal affairs.

How to Overcome This Fear

If you feel you are afraid to express love to somebody, imagine two simple scenarios, one where you give out love, it is reciprocated, and you are both happy. The other is where you refrain from loving (because of this or that excuse) and that love remains forever a lost chance for happiness.

Both are hypothetical, but you have the power to make one of them actual. Which one would you choose?

Final Thoughts

These types of fears are unnecessary fears that will ultimately hold you back from living your best life. If you identify with one of them, take care of your mental health and start following some simple steps to overcome them and move toward the life you want.

More Tips on Overcoming Fear

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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Reference

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Gilbert Ross

Gilber is an expert in personal development and the creator of the online course 'Simple Living Hacks'

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Published on February 19, 2021

8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful

8 Greatest Obstacles In Life You Must Overcome To Be Successful

Whether it’s planning a public speech or a kid’s birthday party, our intentions lean toward success no matter the endeavor. And whatever success we are hoping to attain, there will likely be obstacles that we must face. When these obstacles surface, we can either shy away and miss our chance or meet these challenges informed and ready.

Although obstacles can seem like the outside world is plotting against us, in reality, these external challenges are merely triggering hurdles that already exist within. They might be memories or beliefs we have about ourselves that act like mud and slow us down. We can be trapped by our own self-sabotage.

What could happen if you knew about and prepared for these obstacles beforehand?

If you knew what you were up against, perhaps you could come equipped with just the right tools to get through anything that threatens your chance at success. Perhaps you could take an obstacle that felt like a mountain and turn it instantly into a mere molehill!

Here are 8 of the greatest obstacles you must overcome on your way to success:

1. Perfection

One of the most common obstacles we face is the need for perfection. Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, shared that her mother always used to say, “done is better than good.” Anyone prone to perfectionism is going to find it difficult to remain on the road to success if everything has to be “just so” all the time.

Perfection is the killer of creativity, vitality, and accidental discoveries! There are so many instances of people fortuitously discovering things that we use every day.[1] If they had been so concerned with perfection, they may never have enjoyed the success of their “mistakes!” Plus, learning from our mistakes is how we develop and grow throughout our lives. Therefore, “perfect” will never provide a straight shot to success.

How can you stop going for perfection? Just as it may have taken years of practice to “perfect” a skill you have acquired, it takes practice to undo perfectionism.

Try the following:

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  • Try new things and let go of your expectations.
  • Don’t do everything on your “To-Do” list. See what happens when you leave it for tomorrow.
  • Learn how to prioritize (no, everything isn’t equally important all the time).
  • If you’re feeling particularly rebellious, send an email with a typo in it!

Have fun with this and learn how to laugh at yourself. Welcome to the wonderful world of being human.

2. Fear

Fear is triggered when we have a thought or perception that we are not safe and secure. This is quite a useful tool when there is a real threat to our safety. However, when the threat is imaginary, fear can actually prevent us from doing the work we need to do to achieve our goals.

As with perfectionism, the best way to deal with fear is to become more mindful.

Here are some steps you can try in working through fear:

  1. Sit with the emotion of fear and notice where you feel it in your body. Notice the thoughts that accompany the feeling.
  2. Ask yourself what you are afraid will happen and write down your answers.
  3. Visualize yourself experiencing your worst fears. How did you feel imagining your worst fears coming true?
  4. Ask yourself when you have felt this way before. How did you cope with it that time? What strengths could you use in your previous visualization?
  5. Imagine yourself using your strength with the imagined worst fear. How does it feel to know that no matter what happens, you have the tools and resources to handle it?

In this exercise, we’re trying to be okay with the emotion of fear. Fear is actually trying to help by keeping you “safe.” It calls upon memories of when you were threatened in your life. But when we spend all of our energy trying to prevent the feeling of fear, we make it stronger. We also deny ourselves the memories of all the times we have faced our fears and triumphed.

Allowing the fear to be present and calling upon memories of making it through challenging times helps to convince our minds that, as President Franklin Roosevelt said, the “only thing to fear is fear itself.”

3. Lack of Clarity

Imagine that you are going on a trip and you need to pack. Your suitcase is out, but you don’t know any details of the trip. You haven’t decided where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, or what you’ll be doing. How easy will it be to pack for this trip?

If we’re trying to run our careers or lives without clarity, it can be nearly impossible to figure out what we need to be doing to get to our destination of success. So, how do we get clarity?

Author and speaker, Simon Sinek, had some excellent advice for businesses on how to get clarity, and it applies beautifully to just about any area of life. According to Sinek, when clarifying your “message,” you should start with your WHY.[2] In other words, why are you doing what you do? Once you are clear on your “why,” it will be much easier to figure out your “how” and your “what.”

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Let’s go back to the packing analogy. Perhaps your why for vacationing is to get some much-needed rest as you have been stressed out lately. That tells you that a quiet vacation might be better than one with lots of museums and crowded attractions. Your “why” tells you that you don’t want to be very active, but you do want to take care of your body, mind, and spirit, perhaps by spending a few days at a nearby spa. Less travel means less stress. Looking at the spa, you see they have a 3-day retreat. Now, you know how to pack.

See how easily those details fell into place once you got clear on your “why”? Imagine what success you could achieve once your “why” is uncovered!

4. Making Comparisons

It’s natural for us to compare ourselves to other people. That’s how we know whether we’re doing things correctly or not and how we can continue improving. When we get into a habit of making comparisons all the time and feeling bad about not being able to “keep up with the Jones’,” this can pull our energy down. And when our energy is down, so is our motivation to keep working toward our goals.

As with perfection, it’s important to be mindful about how much importance you’re placing on “keeping up” with what you think everyone around you is doing.

Want to stop sizing yourself up to others? Try the following:

  • Notice the feelings that come up for you when you compare yourself to someone else.
  • Ask yourself, “what information am I really getting from this comparison, and what’s helpful about it?”
  • Keep the helpful bits from that line of questioning and let go of the rest.

Remember that when you compare yourself to another person, oftentimes you are seeing the potential that already resides within you.[3]

5. Untamed Inner Monologue

How do you talk to yourself? Do you tend to say uplifting and encouraging things to yourself? Or is your self-speak often negative? An untamed inner monologue can serve as a great obstacle to many people.

Many people grow up with the idea that the inner monologue is what drives us to become better people. We get “tough” on ourselves to prevent laziness or sloppiness. If unchecked, the monologuing can quickly become negative and purely critical. Despite our intentions for self-improvement, this constant habit of pointing out what’s “wrong” with what we do and who we are can become a huge energy drain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, overcoming negative self-talk is good for our health.[4] Some of the benefits of maintaining a compassionate inner voice include lower levels of depression, better immune function, and improved coping skills in stressful times.

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Activities to develop awareness about your inner monologue and make it more compassionate include:

  • Keeping a thought diary (there are so many great apps for this!).
  • Reframing negative self-statements neutrally or compassionately.
  • Asking yourself what a trusted friend might say to you.
  • Thinking about what you might say to a friend if they were in your shoes.
  • Considering EFT Tapping or saying affirmations.
  • Allowing yourself to follow the inner critic down the worst-case-scenario path (this version might have you laughing at how ridiculous your inner critic’s imagination truly is).

6. Unclear Boundaries

So far, we’ve covered several ways that internal boundaries are necessary on the road to success. These include monitoring your fear, limiting your need for perfectionism, lacking clarity about what you want, making unhealthy comparisons to others, or having a mean-spirited inner monologue.

How about those boundaries we need to clarify with other people in our lives? To be clear, boundaries are not about saying “no” to everything and cutting yourself off from everybody. Healthy external boundaries are about being communicating to others about what you want, how you want to be treated, and what your plans are.

If we have unclear boundaries with others, success will result only by accident, if at all.

People pleasers and empaths especially know how challenging it can be to set boundaries with others. The desire for harmony can be so strong for some people that they convince themselves that it is easier to let others make the decisions rather than risk creating conflict.

The problem here is that no matter how hard we try to avoid conflict with others, we will create conflict within ourselves that results in roadblocks to success. If you have trouble setting clear boundaries with others and you want to be successful, start building your muscles around this skill slowly.

Here are a few steps:

  1. Identify little things that you like and want.
  2. Tell people about what you like and want in your life.
  3. Notice what happens in your body when you say this out loud.
  4. Identify things you don’t like or want.
  5. Notice what happens in your body when you think about these things. (Your body is really smart when it comes to telling you what you don’t want!)
  6. Tell trusted people what you don’t like or want.
  7. Notice how it feels in your body to say this out loud.
  8. Practice saying “no” to something really small that you don’t want and work your way up to bigger things.

Without boundaries, it’s like being water and trying to hold a shape without being in a container. You get to create your own container and watch your success take form.

7. Unreasonable Expectations

It’s important to dream big. It’s how we allow inspiration and big ideas to come to the surface of our awareness. But if our dreams are not grounded in the reality of our current resources, we might be headed for some disappointment or even worse, the loss of our dreams!

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Setting reasonable expectations is the bread and butter of success. If you haven’t been introduced to setting SMART goals at this point in your life, it would be a good idea to try it out.

It might not always be possible to know whether or not something is reasonable, especially if you’re trying out a brand-new-to-you project. If the expectation is for a new project to work without any bumps or glitches, this is likely to be unreasonable. The consequences of this experience could be losing your drive to succeed.

If the expectations for a new project include the idea of bumps and glitches that hold seeds of learning and growth, then even the perceived “mistakes” will turn out to be a success. This has the positive benefit of fueling your motivation to keep working toward even more success.

Be mindful of where you set the bar—neither too high nor too low.

8. Unreasonable Definition of Success

What is your definition of success? Asked in another way, from what perspective are you seeking success?

It’s easy to think that success means achieving the goal(s) you set for yourself. But there are so many ways to look at success. You might be missing out on some opportunities to really feel like you are shining in your life.

An unreasonable definition of success might be one that only allows for one specific outcome. If that outcome is not reached, then success is not the result. But if we allow for multiple definitions of success, we might find that success is much easier to come by than we previously thought!

To expand your definition of success, ask yourself the following:

  • What would need to happen to make me feel successful?
  • What else could happen to make me feel successful?

Keep brainstorming all the outcomes you could experience to create a feeling of success.

Final Thoughts

Being successful requires overcoming a lot of obstacles, and many people will fail at some point. The key is to tackle these obstacles one step at a time. In the words of Joyce Brothers, “Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.”

More Tips on How to Overcome Obstacles

Featured photo credit: asoggetti via unsplash.com

Reference

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