“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
What is holding you back from being successful?
It may surprise you that, although there are many things you could list, most of them can be replaced with one word: fear. Fear and insecurities keep many people from becoming the best that they can be and attaining their goals.
Eleanor Roosevelt understood that fear can prevent people from accomplishing their goals and reaching their potential. She also understood, and encouraged others to see, that having the courage to overcome your fears is not as difficult as you might think. The first step is pinpointing what you’re actually afraid of, and the second is doing something about it.
1. Fear of Taking Risks
Risk-taking comes in many different forms and can be a very scary prospect. Many people are hesitant to take risks because they could lead to embarrassment or rejection—or even complete failure.
As undesirable as these outcomes may be, most successful people would argue that failure is valuable; it helps you learn, serves as a stepping stone towards success, and encourages personal growth. The fear of failure is understandable, but the cliché is true: “With great risk comes great reward.”
2. Fear of Leading
Perhaps your personal or professional ambitions will eventually place you in a position of leadership. Even if you are actively striving towards this goal, the idea that you’ll be responsible for yourself and your team—as well as the outcomes that directly affect the people reporting to you—can be very intimidating.
Leaders need to trust themselves and the trust that others have placed in them. Admit what you don’t know and use your intuition and experience to help you make decisions and guide you down the right path.
You will make some mistakes (you’re only human). But instead of dwelling on your leadership blunders, learn from them, right your wrongs, and try to do better next time.
3. Fear of Others’ Opinions
Too many people place too much stock in other people’s opinions, even to the point of being deterred from achieving their aspirations.
Listening to others and taking their advice to heart can be helpful along the path to success, but the number of people you allow to hold significant sway over you should be relatively small.
Don’t try to make everyone happy. It’s impossible, and there will always be people out there who will try to damage your confidence and get in the way of your success.
Instead of letting their words stop you in your tracks, keep moving.
4. Fear of Success
Some people are subconsciously afraid of achieving their dreams. They worry that they won’t know what to do after their goals actually come to fruition.
Some even begin to feel guilty or self-conscious about the success they’ve already achieved, worrying that it might alienate their family or friends. What would happen if they were to achieve even more success?
As Hugh MacLeod has said, “success is more complex than failure.” Achieving success often means venturing into new or uncharted territory, and it can be much easier to maintain the status quo than to try something new—but just think about what you might miss.
Being afraid of success is not uncommon. However, it’s important to remember than many people have risen above it and that you can, too.
Having the Courage to Overcome Your Fears
There is nothing quite like the feeling of having conquered one’s fears. Eleanor Roosevelt knew that when she stated, “courage is more exhilarating than fear.”
So, what will inspire your courage and motivate you to overcome the fears standing in your way?
Franklin D. Roosevelt defines courage as “the assessment something else is more important than your fear.”
Is it more important to you to achieve success or to maintain the power that your fears have over your life? If you truly want to be successful, it’s time to take a deep breath and start putting one foot in front of the other.
Take one step at a time and meet each challenge as it comes. Put your fear in its place and remember that you have everything you need to be successful, you just need the courage to move forward.