Fears – What’s holding you back?

I’ve been going through a rather rough spell lately and my confidence in myself has been a bit rattled. I know that I can accomplish a great many things but for some reason I’m not accomplishing anything worth talking about. In reality there is no reason that I shouldn’t be able to do the things I’ve been setting out to do. I’m not setting my goals so incredibly high that I cannot reach them. I can even see the route to accomplish my goals yet I’m not accomplishing anything. I’m sure many of the readers of this blog have encountered this before or might even be feeling the same way right now.

The biggest problem for me has always been financial and money drives a lot of things for me. Continued failure to achieve any form of success has been weighing on my mind lately. All of this got me thinking not necessarily about what I’m doing wrong or what I’m not doing but more to the underlying causes of the problem. I believe that the root of a lot of my problems and lack of success is a set of deep seeded fears.

I’m sure everyone can releate to not doing something because a fear gripped us. Look at smokers for example; fear holds many of them back from even attempting to quit when they very clearly understand that smoking is unhealthy, expensive and not very enjoyable. Fear of not being able to pay your bills I’m sure has many people up late at night in a cold sweat. The question that I came to was what fears are holding me back and why and I managed to come up with a couple ideas though I’m not certain I’ve reached a resolution in my mind yet. Regardless here are some fears that I see that are holding me back right now:

Fear of Failure: This is a fear that has gripped everyone at one time or another. No one wants to fail at what they’re doing regardless of what it is. Personally I’ve done fairly well for myself in life succeeding to some degree pretty much all of the time. Failing at something is not something I enjoy and I make sure that I put enough effort into something that I achieve some level of success. Fear of failure keeps me going at the office, it guides how much effort I put into tasks to make sure they succeed. Unfortunately it has also slowed me down on many occasions. I’ve had ideas that could potentially be viable businesses but I don’t start them because I’m afraid what might happen if they don’t succeed. Fear of failure has kept me in jobs I didn’t enjoy because I was afraid of what might happen if I left and didn’t succeed at another one. Bills need to be paid! Overall I think this fear is a healthy one to have as long as it does not turn into something that prevents you from doing something.

Fear of the Unknown: This is another fear that I’m sure most people have encountered at some point or another. We fear what we don’t know and don’t understand, it raises our heart rate and makes us uncomfortable. The reality is that often this fear is due to a lack of effort or worse simply an excuse. When I was younger I didn’t fear the unknown I tried to figure out what that unknown was so that I could get past it. Now not knowing what to do slows me down, I worry about it and I don’t accomplish what I need to. About a year and half ago I had the opportunity to buy a cottage and had the money to do so. Everything looked like it would be in order with one exception I needed a larger down payment because of the type of property it was. I was $5,000 short and I really didn’t know what options I had to get around it. I knew there had to be a way but I didn’t know what it was. This fear held me in check for a couple weeks where I could have been trying to find out from more knowledgeable people. The end result is I did find an option that would have worked; unfortunately it was too late and the deal ended up falling through. Now on a brighter note I ended up using that same money to buy my girlfriend at the time an engagement ring and we got married. In the end I am far happier for getting married than I would have ever been owning a cottage. But the fear of the unknown slowed me down and prevented me from succeeding.

Fear of Success: Recently I’ve been thinking that this is also a fear that grips me. I know that it sounds like a strange fear since why would you be afraid to succeed but I believe it’s a valid fear. For example if you want to start a business and think it will succeed you simply go out and do it. But what happens if you do? You might end up running around like mad trying to keep everything going (we’ve all seen this) or worse you might end up doing really well and not need to do anything. Either way the change in lifestyle is huge the goal is success but the fear of actually reaching that point is subtly sitting in the back of our minds. This fear is a bit harder to grasp for me since its much more subtle than the other two I mentioned. It also doesn’t make sense since there should be no reason to fear accomplishing something yet looking back at my past I think this fear is probably the biggest one I need to conquer. I have started a great many projects and tasks in my life and most of them have sat there unfinished because of this fear. The thought of ‘what happens if I actually do this?’ runs through the back of the mind.

Between the three fears I think I might have found a nice happy place where I don’t fail too often, don’t succeed too often and don’t do anything too unfamiliar. I have been in debt for most of my working life and I recognize this. I’ve managed to stop going further into debt but I also haven’t gotten out of debt. Working in technology I make a decent living and there is no reason why I should still be as far into debt as I am. I think that a lot of people find a nice rut that they’re comfortable with and just stay there for most of their lives. They find a happy medium where nothing too challenging happens and they just do the same things over and over again regardless of how pointless they might be. If you look at all of the people living from paycheck to paycheck and assessed their spending, income, and expenses you could very quickly find a way for them to stop the pointlessness and anxiety that this lifestyle brings with it.

I don’t think I’ve gotten to the bottom of this myself, there are more fears that guide my thoughts, emotions, and actions but acknowledging them and seeing what options exist to move past them is a starting point. There is a lot more I need to do to get past all of these fears but I know that I can. I’ll post more about my fears and what I’m going to do to change my situation and hopefully right myself over the next week or so.

One thought on “Fears – What’s holding you back?”

  1. This is a good reminder, but as I was thinking it over I realized that it’s not so much fear that is holding me back at this point- it’s that I have to convince myself that there is something to try! Once I get to that point, then I can deal with the fears of whatever it is not working out. And maybe I’ll come back and re-read this post.

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