Fear is debilitating. It robs you of your self-worth and paralyzes you when you even think about taking action towards your goals.
This is a built-in hardwired response to anything that would put your life in danger. It's a left-over evolutionary survival trait that is meant to keep us alive.
When you understand that fear is the way your subconscious mind deals with anything out of the ordinary you begin to understand that it's there for a reason. It's cautioning you that you need to make a plan. That you shouldn't proceed any further until you've replaced the unknown with the known.
Once this is understood, you can start to separate your fears into two buckets.
- Fears that keep you alive, and
- Fears that keep you from living
Fears that keep you alive are cautioning you not to do something stupid that may potentially kill you. Fears that keep you from living are trying to maintain the status quo.
It's the latter type of fear that is keeping you from having the audacity to dream big. It will rob you of your forward momentum as you hit the seemingly insurmountable wall of fear that is blocking your path.
5 Signs That You're Living With Fear That's Keeping You From Living Your Life To The Fullest
Fear lives on a spectrum. On one end fears are mild, on the other end fears are debilitating. On the mild end are the good fears that motivate you to plan and to succeed. It keeps you moving forward because it provides you with positive stress and encouragement.
On the debilitating end, fear turns into procrastination and perfectionism. It robs you of your desire to put in the work and prevents you from moving forward.
Your mind is a powerful thing, it will convince you that the fears you're feeling are totally justifiable. That they are meant to keep you alive when in fact they are keeping you from living.
Here are a few signs that your fears are holding you back.
#1: You Feel Hopeless
Hope is the feeling or expectation that something desirable is going to happen. When hope is taken away, the space it occupied within you is replaced with fear.
#2: Frequent Procrastination
Putting things off can be a major sign of fear avoidance. The idea is that if you never get started how can you fail? If you never do the things that you fear failing, then you don't have to worry about living with those fears or that failure.
Procrastination is often confused with perfectionism. Many times we get so focused on getting things right that we never get around to doing whatever it was that we were preparing for.
#3: Highly Distractable
Our subconscious is powerful. It likes to trick us by throwing roadblocks in our path that will inhibit our forward movement.
When fear takes over, everything is more important than the task that needs getting done. We become easily distracted by email, social media, and other less important tasks
#4: Concerns About What Others Might Think
Being concerned about what others might think about you is a classic sign that you're living with the fear of failure, or even the fear of success.
Fear of Success
Fear of success is a very real thing. So much so that fear of success, much like fear of failure, will keep you stuck.
Both fear of failure and fear of success share the same root, fear. Many times people fear success because they feel that they aren't up to the challenge that success brings with it, it could even be that they are more introverted and fear the extra attention they may get.
There are many reasons why people fear success, do you?
#5: Chronic Stress
Since fear lives on the spectrum I mentioned earlier, the closer you get to the debilitating side the more stress you feel. A certain amount of stress is both encouraging and motivational. Too much causes fatigue and burnout.
If you're continually feeling stressed about your goals or not being able to live up to them, then you could be living with fear that is holding you back.
The Yerkes Dodson Law describes the empirical relationship between stress and performance. It states that there is an optimal level of stress that corresponds to an optimal level of performance. I bring this up because I think it's important to understand that some stress is good, a lot of stress is bad.
How to Break Through Your Fears and Finally Acheive Your Dreams
If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be, you must first have a destination in mind. Then, it's a matter of simple subtraction and addition.
Take a look at where you need to be, subtract your current self, and then analyze what's left over. What's left over is what you need to work on. Then, add new habits and skills as needed until you reach your goals.
First, Get Started
An irrational fear is just that, irrational. And like any bully the best way to deal with them is to stand up for yourself. The best way to stand up to your fear of failure is to take a step towards your "impending" failure. Show it who's boss!
Secondly, Identifying Your Fearful Thoughts & Feelings
I know what you may be thinking, "David, shouldn't this be step one?"
The first step is to take action, survive it, and then celebrate it. You have to prove to yourself that the fear you're feeling is irrational. Then, you can identify your thoughts and why you feel the way that you do.
Knowing why you are afraid helps you to face your fears head on. Get to know them so that you can identify them and how they are holding you back.
Thirdly, Get Started
Now that you know the fears that are holding you back, take action against them. Get started on removing them from your life by gaining new skills, learning new habits, and by getting rid of the bad ones.
Fourthly, Change Your Relationship With Failure
We don't live in a time where we have to worry too much about dying when we fail. Failure is rarely an absolute life destroying endeavor but many of us see it as that way.
This is why it's important that you change your relationship with failure from an end point to a steppingstone. Shift your thinking and see failure as feedback on what you need to change and fleeting at best.
Fifthly, Plan to Fail
Have a plan for when you do eventually fail. Fail early and fail often so that you can get to the learnings it teaches you as soon as possible.
Lastly, Break Your Project Into Smaller Tasks
Taking in the big picture all at once can be daunting, so break it up into smaller bite size pieces. Smaller chunks will help you to feel more I'm control and will give you more completed actions to celebrate.
Okay, One More. Keep Going
Now that momentum is in your side, launch. Don't wait till the stars are aligned and everything is perfect. Start now. There is no better time to.
Stay focused on the journey, what you’re doing, and your why behind it. Stop focusing on what might happen and keep your brain in check by focusing on one chunk at a time.
By staying on task, you leave little room for negative self-talk, past mistakes, and other imagined consequences.
Focus on what you're grateful for and if you don't mind a little self-promotion check out the podcast T. Lavon Lawrence and I recorded just last week on the subject of being grateful and how it can have a massive impact on your future self.
You're more amazing than you realize. Don't let fear stop you from achieving your goals, or worse yet from even TRYING to achieve them.