It needs courage to even start the journey of overcoming these powerful fears, that powerfully hinder your career prospects. Facing your inner demons can be scary. It can create anxiety, anger, and overwhelm!
But, once you make up your mind to crush them, the process to overcome your fears is simple –
- Identify your biggest fears
- Select one fear at a time
- Recognize their triggers
- Understand the framework to deal with it
- Define and learn to apply the first 2 to 3 steps to overcome it
Especially if you are someone who is committed to make it big in your career, you will learn
1. 11 Biggest Fears affecting Career Growth for billions of professionals
2. Factors or situations that trigger these fears
3. Insights and Frameworks to start dealing with them
So, What are your Biggest Fear factors?
Now, it is important that you look inside yourself. Figure out your biggest fears yourself.
This will help you establish a strong foundation for your self-awareness and for this difficult interview question.
It’s important to note that these fears can vary from individual to individual.
Some people may be afraid of public speaking but not scared of heights. And some people may feel anxious or stressed about different aspects of their job than others do.
Regardless of what your fears are, they limit your life and career possibilities. So, it is critical that you first become aware of them. This will later help you overcome them.
11 Biggest Fears that limit your Career Growth
1. Fear of Disappointing Others
Fear of disappointing others, especially the people who matter to us can be a huge burden. None of us likes the negativity we feel when we do it. Most of us rather prefer knowingly or unknowingly to please everyone.
This people-pleasing game can be dangerous. Here is the hard truth – You cannot please everyone.
Rather, those who try to please everyone are often disliked and considered weak!
They also seem less genuine and sometimes rather dishonest.
Employees often fear disappointing their bosses and colleagues in the workplace.
This fear can lead to several negative consequences. Employees become less likely to take risks. They are less innovative. Eventually, companies are unable to deliver on challenging projects.
This removes the possibility of seep growth for both – the employee and the company!
You will overcome this fear if you accept the reality. Then the focus becomes – What is the right thing to do? – in any given situation.
2. Fear of Not Being Good Enough
It’s normal to feel a sense of insecurity in the workplace from time to time. After all, we want to do our best and positively impact our colleagues. But if doubts about your abilities constantly plague you, fear of not being good enough is likely driving your behavior.
This fear can be very debilitating and cause you to doubt yourself constantly. You may find it hard to take risks or put your ideas into action. You may avoid networking or socializing with colleagues because you feel that you are not up to the mark. It hits your self-confidence to the core!
Here is a powerful insight –
None of us, especially the top performers, find ourselves good enough!
Because what they want to achieve is big and always a moving target.
When you get your first job, you want to become a manager. When you are a manager, you want to become a VP. When you are a VP, you want to become a CEO. This means you will always be building new skills that you did not have before. And, you will never be good enough till you get what you want!
So get focused on skill-building instead of focusing on the emotional need of being good enough!
3. Fear of Failure
This may just be the mother of all failures!
Fear of failure is a natural feeling that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. But, this fear can be crippling for some of us. It prevents us from taking risks or even trying new things.
This fear can often be amplified by the pressure to perform well and meet deadlines in the workplace. It’s important to remember that failure is part of the learning process, and it’s ok to make mistakes occasionally.
By accepting that failure is a normal part of life, you can begin to take risks and learn from your mistakes. You can even build a system of deliberate practice, to master a few skills! This will help you become a more successful employee and individual overall.
4. Fear of Change
We like being in our comfort zone. Because getting out of it can mean some hard work. So, Fear of change is common in the workplace.
Many employees feel anxious or uncertain when their company undergoes a restructuring, merger, or other types of major transition.
There are a few key things you can do to help reduce your anxiety and make the change easier:
- Get as much information as you can. Often, fear comes from feeling like we don’t have control over our situation. The more you know about what’s happening and why it is happening, the less uncertainty you’ll feel.
- Don’t try to do everything at once. Change can be overwhelming, so it’s important to take things one step at a time. Break down your goals into smaller tasks that you can complete easily and have a tangible end goal.
5. Fear of Being Judged
Our behavior is driven by how we see ourselves. Our identity powers our actions. Deep down we want ourselves to be seen in a particular way.
So, it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious or nervous about being judged at work. We are worried about, “how will others think about me if I do this thing?”
After all, our livelihoods depend on our jobs, so it’s only natural to want to do our best and be seen in a positive light by our colleagues. However, if you find that your fear of being judged impacts your job performance or causes significant distress, it may be time to address these feelings.
Here is a Pro Tip to overcome this fear:
“Remember that genuine and happy people are most admired and respected, in general.”
- So, think of what makes you happy and being yourself.
- Focus on your blessings and what you have.
- Learn to remember what you seek instead of what you want to avoid!
- Focus on giving and sharing with those around you. Builds goodwill.
- Know that is about knowing and sharing your story! All of us have a unique life story and personality.
Here are a few powerful insights to gain respect at your workplace:
6. Fear of Losing Control
This fear can lead us to be overworked or feeling stressed out. It can take a toll on our mental and physical health. Research has shown that stress can lead to many health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Here is a Powerful Insight
If you think deep enough, what is really in your total control? The Answer is – NOTHING
And even then, your life has turned out to be fairly good!
Instead ask yourself this question, “In this situation, what best can I do?” And then act on your best option.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your job duties or responsibilities, it’s important to take some time for yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Maybe you can take a walk outdoors or listen to calming music.
By taking some time for yourself, you’ll be able to return to work fresh and ready to take on whatever challenges come your way.
Learn powerful insights and frameworks to overcome your anxiety when fear of losing control dawns:
How to Successfully handle Uncertainty when feeling overwhelmed with life
7. Fear of Being Wrong
“What if I am wrong?” or “What if this goes wrong?” – These questions bother many of us.
You will see that this happens to you, especially when …
- You don’t have enough data or information at hand to make a decision
- You are working on things you have less or no experience in
- You are going through a tough phase of life
- And when you are working in high-risk environments
If you carefully think about it, this fear comes out of low self-confidence.
This fear can cripple your ability to take decisions and act on them.
So, here is a list of 5 things you can do to overcome the fear of being wrong
- Know very well that, everyone has been wrong somewhere in his/her life. Being wrong is not always about you! It can happen because of things not in your hand as well!
- Focus on building skills that you feel are important in your personal or professional life. Skills bring confidence!
- Try some small experiment every day or week in your life. Experiments bring the ability to deal with uncertainty!
- Count your blessings! It shows how much right has happened in your life. Makes you calm and happy.
- Have a mentor or a coach to guide you. It helps you get a better perspective and direction in work or life.
8. The fear of Missing Out
We strive for all kinds of pleasure and fun that we can experience. We aspire to have or achieve things that we have not.
So, fear of missing out, or FOMO as it is commonly referred is rampant in the modern world. Social media is showing us all kinds of possibilities for having fun new experiences.
“FOMO makes us experience the feeling that you might miss out on something important or worthwhile if you don’t take action right away. It can be a powerful motivator.
But, because there are just so many options, it can leads to decision fatigue and impulsive decisions. You will find yourself frequently stressed in your life playing the catcup game!”
Do you remember how you felt when you saw the pictures of a friend enjoying a vacation on Instagram? or How much time it takes to order something on swiggy or zomato? It is because of the same feeling of FOMO.
FOMO can cause us to make choices that we later regret, such as buying something we don’t need or booking a vacation without doing enough research. It can also lead us to stay in unhealthy relationships or jobs because we’re afraid of what might happen if we leave.
Here is what you must know:
“You practically cannot experience or enjoy everything out there.
And deep down, you actually need very things to be blissful in your life!
More does not mean better. It can mean fatigue or emptyness … ”
Now, let us look at the fears that we normally don’t actively recognize!
3 Less Talked about but Common Biggest Fears
1. Fear of Achieving Success
In other words, we call it “fear of what it takes“. You may be surprised how it can be a fear?
Let us look around. How many of us want to be CEOs, leaders, top performers, or extraordinary achievers? Almost each one of us!
Yet how many of us manage to put in the required efforts or genuinely even try to take the efforts?
Being successful comes with its own set of challenges. You ned to work hard. Your need to be constantly on your toes!
There is constant pressure of changes and uncertainty. You need to constantly learn and improve. And finally, one small mistake that can take it all down!
Just the thought of these things takes the wind out of your ambitions.
Yes, high levels of success is lucrative, but not easy. So are you going to let this fear cripple your possibilities?
3 things you can do to overcome the fear of success
- Focus on learning and growth. The real win while chasing success is the growth you achieve as an individual and the skills that you build.
- Aim one small challenge at a time. The focus shifts here from the ultimate goal which seems nearly impossible to a small thing that you can achieve.
- Make note of small success daily. This builds a positive feeling about success. In a few days, you will find yourself much more confident.
2. Fear of your own self
Each one of us has self-destructive habits or traits. They make us fear the problems they create when at work or in our lives.
You may fear that you have a big unnecessary ego. Or you may fear that you will not be able to work hard, cause you find yourself lazy. Many of us fear getting angry and saying nasty things.
This fear is about self-sabotaging habits that we have built-in our life. If you have this fear, pat your back once. Know that you are self-aware!
5 Step Framework to overcome the Fear of your Own Self
- Clearly identify what it is exactly that you are afraid of
- Recognize the problems or shortcomings that it creates in your life or at work
- Imagine of possibilities of growth in life or career, if this fear is overcome
- Find a coach or mentor who can help you with it
- Define and execute a baby step you can take in the journey of overcoming this fear
3. Fear of Loss of What you have
We all have things that we are deeply attached to. It can be some qualities you have, things you enjoy doing, people in your life, and your prized possessions.
Moving to next level can mean letting a few things in your life go.
But since you are so much attached to them, you have an inner resistance fuelled with fear of losing them. You tend to worry, what will happen if you let something or someone go? You get restless about how boring or sad life can be, if you lose it.
It is this discomfort that creates friction. So what can you do about it?
3 things you can do to overcome the Fear of losing what you have
- Determine if your goal is worth the sacrifice of what you may lose
- Think of what problems or discomfort you will have if you lose that thing
- Confirm if you really need to lose that thing or if there is some other way out
This will significantly impact the burden of the fear of loss and show you the way ahead.
So far, you should have been able to identify your fears. But what are the conditions or situations under which they get triggered?
Let us explore that so that we become more aware of when to apply the methods to overcome them.
What are your biggest fear Triggers?
Triggers, as you can imagine, are the specific situations that activate your fears. Let us cover them one by one.
When you can relate to any one of these situations, make a note of them. Then write which fear or fears is it triggering.
Situations that trigger your biggest fears at work
1. The moment you are suddenly given a challenging project or assignment
2. When you face office politics
3. The times when you have to deal with a difficult boss or colleague
4. When you are asked to do something creative in front of a crowd or teammates
5. When your industry or company faces a slowdown
6. Times when your superiors or colleagues, whom you admire or follow, face tough situations
7. When you find yourself on the wrong end of a scenario
8. The times when you fall short of your own or your manager’s expectations
9. When you have multiple options of interesting career moves to make
10. Times when your organization is making rapid changes in structures or processes
11. When you shift in a new role with multiple unknowns
12. When you have to give up your current position to someone else
When you read any of these situations, think about the reasons why you are able to relate to them. It will make the feeling and reasons for your fear more vivid.
Now that you have a starting point, you can refer to the section above to define how you will deal with it.
So, do you feel more clear and capable of overcoming your biggest fear?
Many of us try to procrastinate dealing with our fears. It is obvious, easier, and natural compared to the daunting task of dealing with your fears head-on!
However, if you dare to look within and conquer your fears, your career will skyrocket in its possibilities and outcomes. Just give it a go!