What is Holding You Back?

Success means different things to each of us. Do you consider yourself successful? Are there aspects in your life where you want to be more successful? For many of us, the answer is, “yes.” But one question I often ask my audiences or participants in a workshop is, “Do you know what is holding you back from being more successful?”

I encourage you to think about that question. What’s holding you back from…

  • Taking the next step in your career?
  • Setting the next stretch goal in your personal life?
  • Envisioning a brighter future for yourself? 

Unfortunately, FEAR is a common answer I hear. The truth is…fear kills dreams. Most people don’t live their dreams because of fear. FEAR is described as – False Evidence of Appearing Real – it’s an illusion you create in your mind.  It’s the product of the thoughts you create. On the other hand, danger is very real, but not fear. Perhaps you struggle with the fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of rejection, or fear of something else, like not being selected for the promotion you desire, not achieving your wellness goal this year, being unable to fix a relationship issue with a team member, or maybe not being able to learn or do everything you are expected to do in your job.

Courageously facing fears can be daunting. But as I was once reminded, you can have courage or you can have comfort, but you can’t have both. They are mutually exclusive.

Rather than letting your fears hinder your desire to succeed, face your fear. Here are a few ways I have faced my own personal fears:

  • Consider the worst outcome if your fear happens. (Often times, the “worst” isn’t that bad.)
  • Expose yourself to the fear. (Avoiding fear makes it scarier. Face it to help overcome it.)
  • Don’t expect perfection.  (Look at mistakes as an opportunity to do it better next time.)
  • Talk about your fear with someone you trust.
  • Write down your fear on paper; this activity helps to rationalize it.
  • Consider what aspects of your fear you do control. Consider ways to improve those areas.
  • Don’t focus on pain; focus on success. You got this! (explained below).

As noted in the last bullet point above, don’t focus on what’s painful—which is the process of what it takes to make something happen (including potential failure). Because if you focus on the pain, chances of achieving your goal decreases. Pain is temporary—eventually it will subside. But if you quit—it will last forever. Instead, focus on what you want; focus on what success looks like today. For example, if you have a goal to lose 20 pounds, don’t focus on the 10th or 20th pound; instead, focus on today’s plan to eat healthy and incorporate some exercise into your day. Which one seems less daunting to you?

Understanding what is holding you back is the starting point to making your dreams come true and achieving the success you not only desire…but deserve!