The Road to Success Step One: Recognize Your Fears

Ferocious Wolf

If this is what you're afraid of, you have bigger problems than success

When it comes to accomplishing goals, most people will find themselves crippled by their fears.  These fears come in a variety of forms, whether it be the fear of failure, fear of commitment, fear of the unknown, or even the seemingly counterintuitive fear of success, we all face these deep-seated fears every time we try to get something done.

So, what separates those who succeed from those who don’t?

I hear a lot of you shouting at your monitors right now, “They conquer their fears,” or “They don’t let fear stand in their way,” or even, “They have no fear!”  No, no, and no.  The fact of the matter is that we have these fears because they served us well in the past.  Here’s what personal finance guru Ramit Sethi had to say on this very topic:

It took me years to realize that we don’t experience the same fear that our ancestors did — the fear of being chased down by wild animals, or starving to death.

Our fears are far more subtle: the fear of failure. The fear of looking stupid. The fear of being wrong, or regret, or not taking a chance.

Ramit Sethi (

Our ancestors survived by abiding by their fears, and our bodies are hardwired to do the same thing.  However, if we recognize our fears and consciously work against them – like our ancestors hunting down a saber-toothed tiger instead of running in fear – then we can achieve, even when our brain is telling us to run away.

But, there exists another problem with this, because our modern fears are so internalized, that few of us actually realize that they come from within and, in turn, blame our failures to launch on external forces.

It’s much easier to believe that you “didn’t have the right contacts” to get your business started than it is to believe that you sabotaged yourself because you feared that people would question your credentials when you went looking for business.  And that is why Step One in the Road to Success is not conquering your fears, but rather recognizing them.  If you don’t first recognize your fears, you are likely to be tilting at windmills, fighting excuses rather than fears.

So, what I want you to do is think of a time in the last year you have failed to accomplish something.  Consider the reasons you thought you failed, then reexamine them.  Think back to previous failures, find common threads of fear and draw them together.  Find out what is really preventing you from succeeding.

Post the fears you discovered you have holding you back in the comments.

And if you want exclusive content you won’t find here, sign up below for my 100% free newsletter to receive in depth tips on how to overcome fear and get things done.

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