You’ve got dreams.
I know you do.
Dreams wide like the sky.
Heavy like mountains.
Deep like the tap root of ancient oak trees.
But you’ve got fears too.
Some fears like pesky flies buzzing around your computer screen.
Other fears are murderous stalkers plotting to kill all of your dearest dreams.
But you can defeat them!
Yes, you can.
You can confront and eventually conquer even the most menacing fears.
I present to you:
21 of the most dream-threatening fears lurking in your subconscious, waiting for you to decide what you want.
How will this list help?
You can throw the first blow at your fears just by identifying them and naming them.
Let’s name these fears and start to squash them!
1. Fear of Being Alone
The pursuit of your dreams will be lonely at times, especially if you dream big.
Many nights working when everyone else is sleeping.
Loved ones who don’t understand your mission.
The possibility that your ideas will get rejected.
But you have to be willing to go it alone sometimes in order to reach a place where you can connect with even more people.
2. Fear of Change
If you’re not already living your dream, then you’ll have to make some changes to make that happen.
That’s not easy, otherwise everyone would do it.
We often fear change because it means admitting the flaws in what we’re currently doing.
What you’re doing now feels easy and comfortable because you’ve probably been doing it all your life.
But doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results . . . that’s just silly.
3. Fear of Conflict
This may come as a HUGE surprise, but . . .
Not everyone wants you to accomplish your goals, so pursuing your dreams might cause conflict, even with friends and family, people you love.
We see this a lot with students who don’t want to upset their parents, so they go off to college and major in something they have no interest in.
Don’t hold it against anyone. Just trust that people who really love you want you to be successful and happy.
4. Fear of Connection
No one accomplishes their dreams in total isolation. If you push everyone away who’s trying to help, you sabotage your own efforts.
Let go of the foolish mentality that you can and must do everything by yourself.
Not only will connecting with people help with practical stuff, it fuels you and sustains you through the emotional trials of dream chasing.
5. Fear of Criticism
Also known as the fear of what other people might say.
I haven’t done any scientific research, but I bet this is one of the most common fears.
And it’s legitimate, because no matter what you do, people will criticize you. They’ll call you mean names. They’ll slander you.
No matter what.
So you might as well do exactly what you want to do.
6. Fear of Failure
You’ve failed before, right?
You’re still alive, right?
You can still keep going, right?
Failure is not the end of your dreams. It’s a learning experience that can help you re-calibrate your efforts.
If children gave up on walking because they fall when they try, everyone would be crawling all their lives.
Falling down is part of the process, not the end of it.
7. Fear of not being Good Enough
This is for those who believe they don’t deserve to live their dreams. Some people think because they aren’t already superstars that they’re never meant to be superstars.
The secret is, “superstars” are just as flawed as the rest of us.
The truth is, you are enough, right now, just as you are, to live your best life.
No matter what you did or didn’t do in the past, no matter what your current status is, you’re more than good enough.
You’re a divine creation with a unique purpose.
8. Fear of Greatness
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
― Marianne Williamson
9. Fear of Incompetence
This is the fear that you will not have the ability to do what you want.
The catch is that you’ll never know if you don’t try.
Too many people never even attempt to go after their dreams because they just assume that they won’t be able to perform.
Don’t forfeit the game before you even start!
10. Fear of being Laughed At
No one really wants to look foolish, but successful people are willing to look foolish.
If the idea that you might make a fool of yourself paralyzes you and keeps you from trying something new, or speaking your mind, or dancing when the music feels good, then you’re basically a slave to fear.
Set yourself free. Be who you want to be. Do what you want to do.
Again, some people will laugh, nervously, secretly wishing they also had the courage to dance on the dance floor of life all by themselves.
Others will be inspired, and get out there and dance with you!
11. Fear of Love
When you’re struggling to love yourself, you might think you’re unworthy of love and admiration from others.
You’re suspicious of anyone who claims to love a flawed human like yourself, so you reject any showing of genuine love.
Work on learning to love yourself unconditionally.
12. Fear of Mistakes
Also known as perfectionism. This is one of the most common fears, and is usually driven by other fears.
For example, you’re afraid to make mistakes because people might laugh at you or it will prove that you’re incompetent.
You know perfection is impossible, yet you keep demanding perfection from yourself.
Just do your best.
Strive for excellence, not perfection.
13. Fear of Pain
Pain is the opposite of comfort. Anything that requires you to leave your comfort zone, your comfy bed or couch, or your cushiony job is potentially painful.
To live your dreams you have to face your fear of pain.
14. Fear of Responsibility
This fear is seen in those who blame everyone and everything but themselves for why they can’t or haven’t achieved their dreams.
It’s a scary look in the mirror to admit that you’re at fault for the condition of your life.
But until you take full responsibility for your life, it’ll never be what you wish it could be.
15. Fear of Being Seen
Do you avoid walking through crowded places or speaking up in a group of people? Perhaps one of your fears is knowing that others can see you, that they might even be watching you.
This fear, like many others, results from low self-esteem. The only reason you don’t want to be seen is that you don’t believe there’s much to see.
If you’re afraid of being seen, you’re probably also afraid of criticism or being laughed at.
Unless your dream is to be a hermit, you have to work on getting comfortable with people looking at you.
16. Fear of Starting Over
If you want to change careers, it might require going back to school, dusting off that resume, brushing up on interview skills, or what have you.
For many people, it’s scary to become a beginner after being a veteran for so long. They’re comforted by the fact that they know exactly what they’re doing, that they’ve acquired seniority, and can see retirement coming.
They don’t want to feel like they’ve wasted all of that time and effort for nothing.
The secret I learned when switching my major, is that you’re never starting over from scratch. There’s no doubt that those experiences you’ve had will always teach you something you can apply in a new situation.
17. Fear of Losing Status
Don’t stay stuck on a job, with a partner, or in a city you’re unhappy with just because you think it makes you look good to have those things.
Don’t be afraid to chase your dream simply because it might mean sacrificing a new car, or sacrificing an expensive social life while you build your new dream life.
Not to say you won’t ever get to see those things again. You just shouldn’t be afraid to put them on hold while you stretch your potential.
18. Fear of Time
I’m guilty of panicking because I’m “running out of time” to accomplish all of my dreams. For some reason I keep placing arbitrary deadlines on my achievements, as if achieving something at 31 will be any less fulfilling than achieving it at 29.
Even when I’m writing, I convince myself that if I don’t have a certain amount of hours to dedicate to it, then I might as well not write anything.
I know! Bogus, right?
Lots of people think they’re too old to go after their dreams now, or they think it’s a lost cause because they can’t possibly make it before it’s “too late.”
In this case I always go back to the fact that not trying guarantees failure. If you act right now, you still have a chance. And don’t self-sabotage by purposely waiting until the last minute.
19. Fear of the Unknown
Pursuing your dream is not a scientific equation that guarantees a precise result if you just follow the formula.
We can’t predict the future with 100% accuracy, so there’s no use in waiting on absolute certainty before you act.
I’m a fan of planning and research, but . . . don’t plan your life away.
Often times you’ll find that it’s the unexpected twists that bring the most joy and actually take you down a path that’s better than you could’ve dreamed.
20. Fear of Vulnerability
I love Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on The Power of Vulnerability. Unless we can accept our imperfections, ask for help when we need it (and realize that we probably need more help than we’d like to believe), trust people, and be honest with ourselves and others, we’ll be fighting against our own destiny.
21. Fear of Waste
I felt this fear most when debating whether to invest in my own professional development.
What if it’s not worth the money? I’d ask my self.
With proper research, these days it’s easy to verify if something’s legit.
Then there’s the fear of wasting time. You’re really wasting time worrying too much about wasting time!
The sooner you act, the sooner you’ll know what works.
You can’t get around the law of having to invest if you want some sort of return, whether in time or money.
Have you felt any of these fears? How’d you overcome them? Tell us all about it in the comments.