12 Fears You Need To Overcome to Succeed In Business and In Life

We can never outperform the limits set by our fears

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BY Gordon Tredgold - 16 Mar 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Your fears can be our biggest barriers to your success.

They can stop you from going after what you truly desire; they can make you believe that your chances of success are so small that you don't even try. Fears are complex; they're cunning, they can be deep-seated, and they are often subconscious which can mean that you are not always aware of what it is that is holding you back.

In her excellent book Fighting The Fear, Mandie Holgate looks to highlight 12 different fears that you need to overcome to remove your negative mindset and win in life. For each of the 12 fears, Mandie offers practical exercises to help you get beyond the fears so that you can start to pursue and achieve your goals.


Fear 1 - What if someone finds out who you really are?

Too often people hide who they really are, what they really want, or what they really enjoy in life for fear that other people may not approve. The reality is not everyone wants to be a multimillionaire or a CEO of a major corporation, they are quite happy to live what could be considered an unambitious life. But chasing someone else's dream is never going to lead to your happiness. You need to understand your values, be true to yourself and not worry about what other people think, and go after what pleases you, and what you are passionate about.


Fear 2 - Scared of setting goals

People that set the wrong goals or fear to set any goals end up procrastinating and invariably don't get the results at work that they desire. I see this fear manifest itself with so many professional people as negative feelings, results, and actions.

And all because they fear setting goals.

If you don't set goals, then it's impossible to create a solid action plan to achieve them. Without a plan, you're pinning your hopes luck, and hoping to be lucky is not a smart strategy.


Fear 3 - Don't believe you can succeed

Fear of failure stops far too many people from even attempting to achieve their goals. But there are a couple of things for you to remember. Firstly, many a path to success is littered with mistakes and failures, it goes with the territory, and secondly so what if you fail. Do you really know the consequences of failing and are they really that bad? For many of my coaching clients that have this fear of failure, the impact of failure would often be negligible, maybe a little bit of embarrassment, possibly a waste of some time, and or resources.

To get over the fear of failure, ask yourself 'so what if you do fail'? What is the worst that can happen? If the reality is not a lot, which is often the case with my coaching clients, then dive in, give it a shot.

Don't let just the fear of a failing hold you back.


Fear 4 - I don't want to appear arrogant

Success doesn't sit comfortably with everyone, myself included. It can sometimes feel like we have got above our station, that by claiming our success we are looking to put ourselves above others, which can then be perceived as arrogance. This perception can often limit the goals that we set for ourselves for fear of separating ourselves from the herd. There is nothing arrogant about achieving your full potential.

Don't let the limitations of others become the limits that you set for yourself.


Fear 5 - I don't ask for help

There are a number of reasons why people don't ask for help. Fear of rejection; they don't want to appear stupid; they worry it will undermine their achievements; they don't want people to know they are struggling. The reality is very few people achieve great success without the support and assistance of others. Often people are only to willing to help if we will just reach out and ask them.

This is something that I have really struggled with, most notably because of a fear of rejection but I read the book and looked at the strategies proposed I decided to give it a try. I just posted a simple request on Facebook for some help with sales and marketing, within 20 minutes I had four offers of help.

Normally I would have just soldiered on struggling, but it turned out that several friends were not only happy to help but wondered why I had never asked before.

You probably have more help available than you know, you just need to reach out and ask.


Fear 6 - I'm scared of saying 'No.'

When you don't say 'no' to others, then you can be saying 'no' to yourself. You need to learn to be fair to yourself and if a request distracts you from your goal, then politely say no, or offer to help at a time that best suits you. There are plenty of people who will let you quit on your goals to help them achieve their goals.

You also need to make sure that you are clear and focused on your objectives to make sure that you can say yes to the right opportunities, those will lead to your desired success. There will always be new opportunities that will arise, and you need to be comfortable saying no to those that are not aligned with your priorities. It can be easy to become distracted especially if those opportunities have short term benefits.


Fear 7 - I'm petrified of public speaking

In most careers at some time you are going to have to give a presentation, make a speech or have to speak to a group of your employees, especially as you start to make progress up the ranks. For many public speaking is one of their greatest fears. I've heard people say they would rather have root canal work than stand up and speak in public.
It's actually something I struggled with for awhile, even though I am now an International Keynote Speaker.

Some of the things that you can do to help get over the fear are: Practice, but don't overdo it because you want to appear natural not scripted; keep the talk simple don't use to much jargon unless you have to; be confident about your right to be in the room or on the stage you have earned it; don't worry about forgetting something, probably only you would notice anyway; and don't use notes unless you really have to.


Fear 8 - I hate phoning people

This is definitely a problem if you're involved with sales or business development. While you might not be looking to do a sales pitch on the phone, you may need to call to be able to arrange a visit or an appointment to discuss how you can help.

Personally, I hate calling, especially cold calling. But having read Mandie's book what I have realized is that it's not that I have thing people, it's that I hate to disturb people or to waste their time.

Using one of Mandie's technique, now before each call, I focus on what they will get out of the call how they will benefit.
Doing that has taken away my fear, and helps me to get a mutually beneficial conversation started.


Fear 9 - I don't want to look stupid

Being successful can often require us to go against the flow, challenge the current way of doing things, and try something different, but if it goes wrong, it can lead to ridicule from others.

I'm old enough to remember when Dick Fosbury changed high jumping forever. I remember watching him run towards the bar and then turning and trying to jump over the bar backward, it looked completely crazy, and many of the commentators questioned his bizarre technique.

Fosbury didn't care that he looked stupid, he persisted and had the last laugh by winning the Mexico Olympics High Jump Gold Medal, and gave the Fosbury Flop to the world.

At the 68 Olympics, he was the only person to use that technique, at every major event since that has been the predominant high jump technique used.

Dare to be different, it could lead to amazing success!


Fear 10 - I can't stop scrutinizing what people are thinking

Acceptance from others is a strong desire that many people have, and it can cause us to question the things that we do by wondering what other people are thinking, about us, about our businesses, our and plans our goals. I know with many of my coaching clients that this can cause them to procrastinate, and to put off making decisions or taking actions.

The reality is that most people are too busy to worry about their own problems to be scrutinizing what others are doing.

Secondly, who cares? We have enough of our own negative self-talk and thoughts to get over without adding other people's potential negativity to our list of obstacles to overcome.

Keep focused on your goal, and don't worry about the thoughts of others. The right people will be supportive of you, and those that aren't shouldn't be the people you pay attention to.


Fear 11 - I'm scared to ask for what I want

Practically every entrepreneur I have ever coached has always underpriced their services. One client I had was charging $225 per hour for their service and was keen to get $350 per hour, but didn't think their clients would pay it. It was amazing when you looked at the value they provided; they had optimized a companies recruitment process reducing costs by 33% and at the same time increased productivity by 75%. This had saved the company around $300k per year as well as nearly doubling their results. From a value perspective, they could have been charging $1000 per hour, and it still would have been a bargain.

Too many people think about their costs and their hourly rate, and it stops them from not only asking what they want but also what they are worth.

Think about the value that you bring, the results that you will generate for your client, and price yourself accordingly.


Fear 12 - I can't take time out

Business can be very demanding, especially when it comes to the amount of our personal time that it can consume. I can remember the days when being a workaholic meant that you stayed at the office until 7 or 8pm, or brought work home at the weekend. But now, since the rise of the Laptop, the Internet and mobile phone and the world becoming more global, being available on call or online 24x7 feel more like the norm. What about the opportunities we will miss if we take time out, how will our businesses function if we are not available for each and every crisis.

To live a healthy, happy life we need to have a great work-life balance.

It's natural to think that we are indispensable, but the reality is, we're not. People will always find a way to cope, and there will always be more opportunities.

I worked for one of the largest companies in the world, one whose business was dependent on Information Technology, and our CIO who was accountable for the safe running of that technology used to turn his phone off at 7 pm every evening. He always said that he had complete confidence in his staff, they knew far more than he did and if it was truly an emergency, they knew where he lived.

It's us that make ourselves indispensable, and it also us that can find a way to step back and take time out if we really want to.

The more of these fears you can overcome, the more business and personal success you can achieve. It's not easy, many are deep rooted, but if we consciously work at it, we can make improvements.

Which are the fears that impact you and your business the most?

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