But surely you’re thinking to yourself, “Of course I’m not afraid of success. If I had the time or the money, I’d accomplish my dreams.” But you’re full of crap, and deep down you know it. Because you’re afraid of taking a risk on yourself and on your future. You’re afraid that you might fail…or that people will judge you because you’re taking a different path that them. But whatever your reason, you’re being held back in your life because of some form of fear.
Generally, there are four types of fear that keep average men and women from ever achieving greatness. These fears are:
#1. The Fear of Failure –
Every single day, people settle for mediocre jobs and hide behind the excuse of safety. Somewhere along the line between their childhood dreams and their adult responsibilities, they have given up on that one thing that they wanted to do when they were younger and have now settled for a “safe” job. They’re an accountant for a local firm, or they’ve become a mid-level manager at a grocery store or gas station. Maybe they’ve worked their way to supervisor at a factory.
Regardless of the position, they more than likely don’t dream about their current job. They don’t wish they could wake up every day and go to work, but they’ve accepted that job because of the safety that it provides. It’s not what they want to do, but they already have the job. They don’t have to put in any work. It’s already there…even if it’s not what makes them happy.
But deep down, they’ve settled for that job and that life because the alternative, which is to work towards an ambitious goal, is incredibly difficult. It’s difficult to work full-time and get a degree in an area that excites you. It’s difficult to work 40-50 hours a week and then come home only to turn around and build a business. It’s difficult to put in the extra work and build a career in an unusual way, such as freelancing. There’s fear associated with the unknown. People fear that if they leave their “safe” job, they’ll fail at whatever it is that they want to accomplish. And then what? According to them, the world will end. It’s all over, right? They’d rather just accept a job they hate than take a risk. The fear that they feel has crippled them into a life of inaction. That fear has left them with mediocrity in every aspect of their life…Their career, their income, their relationships.
Overcoming the Fear of Failure: The simplest way of facing this fear is to take the first step on the road to your goal. Taking actions creates a positive mindset because you feel accomplished, even if you haven’t finished everything you’ve set out to finish. Entrepreneur and life-coach Tony Robbins says, “The key to happiness is action…The moment you quit progressing, you die inside.” So by deciding to take the first step, you will feel more confident in your abilities, and your fear of failure will be replaced with a vision for success.
#2. The Fear of Success –
The idea of fearing success seems odd on the face of it, but it’s a common fear that keeps people from acting. It boils down to truly understanding what it is that you want to accomplish with your life, and then having the will power to pursue it. People fear success because it is something new to them, and that sense of uncertainty can be frightening. People think things like: “If I spend all of this money to go back to college for my M.B.A., what happens if I don’t find a job? How will I pay back my student loans? Am I good enough for that promotion?”
These fears stem from our subconscious mind. Even if we are not willing to admit it out loud, we know that we are capable of greatness. Those who seem to achieve their goals so easily are not made from any different material than you. Their DNA is created from the same molecules as everyone else in the world. The only difference is that they seek out success instead of hiding from it. The fear of success is a reflection of our self-doubts. We either fear that we cannot reach the lofty goals that we have set ,or that we will reach them and then be unable to maintain that level of excellence.
Overcoming the Fear of Success: See your vision clearly in your mind. If you bounce from one idea to another, you’ll never have the focus to accomplish what you wish to accomplish. More importantly, your focus will help you push through any failures you experience along the way. Your complete understanding of your goals will be your guiding light when things become difficult or when those around you doubt your ambitions.
#3: The Fear of Disappointing Your Friends/Family -
The individuals that you spend the most time around influence your thoughts and actions, and when those individuals mean so much to you, it is easy to let them become your excuse for inaction. People use their husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, and children as the reasons they don’t take that major risk in their lives, but they make excuses such as, “I can’t travel the world because of my son/daughter. I can’t take them with me” or “How can I go back to school? I’d never have time to do homework with my kid’s crazy schedule. There’s no way.” If it's a physical goal that they dream about (such as completing a triathlon or training for an event such as a Spartan Race), they'll claim lack of time as their excuse, but then immediately follow that up with knowledge on the newest episode of Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black.
When people say things like this, what they are really saying is that if they step out on a limb and attempt something difficult, they’re afraid they’ll fail and let their husband/wife/child/parent down. They’ll be seen as a failure in the eyes of someone who means a lot to them, and that scares them enough to keep them from even trying. And to hide that fear, they use what they feel are practical excuses to keep themselves from having to explain why they don’t go for that particular goal
Overcome the Fear of Disappointing Your Friends/Family: Your friends and family should be a source of inspiration and support, not a scapegoat that you use to worm out of hard work. Focus on the life that your children/spouse deserve(s), and use that vision as your motivation to accomplish whatever goal it is that you’ve set for yourself or your family. Instead of setting an example of average for your children, show them what it means to put in that bit of extra work in order to achieve a lofty goal that so few people achieve. It will not only give you a sense of accomplishment, but it will show them how much they mean to you and how far you are willing to go to set an example for them.
#4: The Fear of Being Different –
We’ve been programmed from an early age to fit in with the status quo. As children, we learn harsh lessons about bullies who pick on kids that are small, incredibly smart, or different in any way from the rest of the class, and as we grow older we develop the idea that being different is something to avoid. Beneath our outward confidence, we hide this fear that if we step away from what the masses believe, we become a lightning rod for criticism.
But if you want to truly do something in your life that you feel is worthwhile, you will need to be different from everyone else. As you begin to put in the extra effort that no one else is willing to put in, you will start to separate yourself from others who have accepted an average life. As you increase your abilities and skills, you force yourself to become more valuable in terms of what you have to offer, and you will begin to realize that those who refuse to push themselves have no influence on your life. Their opinions do not matter in terms of how far you are able to go with your successes.
Overcome the Fear of Being Different: Life so many other fears, you will begin to lose your worry about being different from the masses as soon as you start down your path of self-improvement. Intentional action and progress will create momentum for you that can help fuel the fire inside of you, and as you make more progress and come closer to accomplishing whatever it is that you’ve chosen to do, you will care less and less about the opinions of others.