Which of These 5 Common Fears Are Holding You Back?

Fear kills dreams. It shackles potential. And in the end, it robs the world of the great contribution many would otherwise make.

Too often, we allow fear to hold us hostage and keep us from pursuing our God-given purpose. Instead of soaring to greater highs and living the life we were meant to live, we allow fear to lock us in a bottle. We believe that the bottle is keeping us safe when in fact it is suffocating our soul.

If you want to do great things in the world, expect that fear will show up and attempt to place its spell on you and paralyze you long enough to lock you in a bottle. Somewhere between where you are and where you want to go, like a shark thirsty for blood, fear will surely appear. But if you are to reach your next level, you must overcome it.

I want to talk about 5 of the most common fears you may face. As you read about these fears, examine your life and identify which ones have been holding you back.

1. Fear of Rejection

This is the “I-don’t-want-to-feel-rejected” fear. It is the “what-will-people-think-of-me?” fear. Fear of rejection convinces people to go against their deep convictions—what they know to be true—to avoid feeling rejected by others. It induces them to wear masks and to wrap themselves in the coats of a persona. It leads people to live as cheap copies when they were meant to be great originals.

The fear of rejection is powerful; deep down inside, we want to be loved. We want to be accepted. We want to be praised. And when we feel rejected, it hurts—especially, when we are rejected for being our authentic self: who God made us.

Often, when we feel rejected, we believe something must be fundamentally wrong with us: “I’m rejected because something is wrong with me”. But that’s not necessarily the case. There is a myriad of reasons for people to reject us. For instance, it might just be that others have their own insecurities that are causing them to reject us; or it might simply be that we’re not on the same page with everyone.

Get this. No matter how nice you are, some people will accept you and others will reject you. That’s a fact of life. Don’t let the fear of being rejected cover your light and choke your dreams. Some people are in dire need of the treasures you have to share with them, and these are the people you are here to serve. You are not meant to please everyone. You owe it to God, yourself, and the people you are meant to help, to show up with your authentic self.

2. Fear of Being Inadequate

This is the “I’m-not-good-enough” fear. It is the “I-don’t-believe-I-have-what-it-takes” fear. This is often supported by a slew of limiting beliefs: “I don’t have a university degree…”; “I don’t have enough money…”; “I’m not tall enough…”; “I’m too tall…”; or whatever else can be used as an alibi to remain confined in the bottle of fear. All of these disempowering statements lead to the same conclusion: “I’m inadequate”.

If you’re convinced that you’re unfit for the journey that is set before you, you’ll be tempted to stay right where you are: in your comfort zone (where you feel totally adequate). Fall for this too many times and your results in life will significantly suffer.

Get this. When you embark on a great journey, it’s normal to feel inadequate. In fact, most people you admire for their achievements found themselves standing at this crossword many times. But they chose the road less traveled: the road of growth, where they had to stretch and tap into their God-given potential. They stepped out in faith and became stronger and better along the way.

Don’t let the fear of inadequacy paralyze you. Get moving. Taking action builds confidence. And remember, God does great things with “inadequate’ people.

3. Fear of the Unknown

This is the “I-don’t-know-what-to-expect” fear. It is the “what-if-something-is-hiding-behind-the-bushes?” fear. This is another well-known fear that has held many captive.

We want to feel in control, and the “unknown” puts our illusion of control in jeopardy. And this gives fear great power. Why risk going somewhere I don’t know, when I am comfortable right where I am? Fear wants to make you believe that the unknown is terrifying, but it’s not.

The unknown isn’t to be feared, it is to be demystified. And you demystify it by acquiring knowledge and taking action: you learn and you apply; you keep getting wiser and keep moving forward; you fight ignorance and march on towards your goal.

Get this. You know very little. In fact, everything was, at one point, unknown to you. You had to discover and learn everything—even the things you now find easy and “comfortable”. But you didn’t let the “unknown” stop you. You learned what you needed to learn and pressed on forward.

4. Fear of Failure

This is the “What-if-I-fail?” fear. It is the “I’m-afraid-of-failing” fear. Failure hurts. It is embarrassing. It often brings to surface our insecurities, and it can reinforce our feeling of inadequacy and our fear of rejection. Many, like vampires eschewing light, do all they can to avoid failure. We don’t like to fail.

Get this. Failure is part of the journey. Don’t let it incapacitate you and make you miss the many blessings you get from launching into the deep. Failure is not final. It is only an opportunity for you to learn and grow. When you learn from your failures, you grow stronger and wiser. With this mindset, you’ll always win. If you succeed, you win. This is obvious. But if you fail, you still win, because you grow and become a refined version of you.

5. Fear of Success

This may seem paradoxical. After all, most people say they want to be successful. But many self-sabotage because they fear success. Sometimes, because of their low self-esteem, they don’t believe that they deserve to sit at the table of success. Sometimes, it’s because they realize that success comes with its load of responsibilities, and—perhaps unconsciously—they are not ready to carry this weight.

Get this. You are worthy of success; you’re designed for success. God wants what is best for you, and that is sufficient to make you worthy of success.

There’s so much potential inside of you, which needs to be released in the world. You have massive (and unique) contribution to make. But you’ll have to overcome fear: the fear of rejection, the fear of inadequacy, the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, and the fear of success. Fear has stolen enough of your years. You’ve played it safe long enough. Smash the bottle of fear and press forward.

Question: Which of these 5 common fears have been holding you back?