6 Practical Tips to Overcome Fears that Are Holding You Back

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6 Practical Tips to Overcome Fears that Are Holding You Back

How do you deal with worries that are holding you back from success? It all boils down to arming yourself with thoughts, goals and experiences to change the way you look at fearful situations.

Is fear holding you back? Our 6 hands-on steps will help you change the way you think about fear and help you eliminate its effect on your work and personal life.

Types of Fear

What sort of things do you worry about in your darkest moments? When you’re trying to progress in life, what’s holding you back? Your problem may boil down to fear of one of the following:

  • Failure, or even success
  • Rejection
  • Judgement
  • Missing opportunities
  • Not being perfect
  • Losing everything
  • Intimacy/vulnerability
  • Being seen as inadequate/not good enough

Worry isn’t the end of the world. A healthy awareness of risk can help you make smart business decisions. But spending too much time listening to the voice of worry can stop you making the most of life. Whether it’s holding you back from starting your own business, changing to a more rewarding career, asking someone on a date or just trying new experiences, worry can stop you living the way you want to.

How to deal with worries that are holding you back from success? It all boils down to arming yourself with thoughts, goals and experiences to change the way you look at fearful situations. Here are 6 steps you can take to stop fear controlling your actions.

#1 Acceptance

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

You aren’t going to overcome fear unless you take hold if it, study it from every angle and acknowledge its effect on you. The first step is bringing the fear to light- turning it from a vague feeling of unease at the back of your mind into a concrete, observable experience that you understand and accept.

Mentally acknowledging it isn’t enough. Say it out loud. Write it in your journal. Shout it from the rooftops! Avoiding or denying the fear will get you nowhere. Stop fighting against it and instead treat fear as something you can work with and control.

#2 Learn Some Quick Fixes

In-the-moment fear can rob you of your focus and lead to poor decisions. Take control back with some simple and effective relaxation techniques.

Clearing your head of spiralling worry can be as simple as taking ten seconds to control and steady your breathing. If you feel yourself tensing up, work through every muscle in your body, clenching and unclenching to encourage relaxation. You probably already know what calms you down best, so work with what you know.

#3 Change Your Perspective

Once you have a specific understanding of your fear you can start to break it down, changing your thoughts by forming a more realistic idea of what your feared situation will actually look like.

Write down feared situation or experience. Then, in your head and on paper, work through exactly what would happen if it occurred, trying to imagine the worst case scenario. The reality is likely to be far less frightening than you’re imagining.

Afraid of losing your job? The worst possible outcome is that you spend a few weeks looking for work and eventually find something. Afraid of not being perfect? Ask yourself what will happen if you complete your work to a standard that’s “good enough” once in a while. In all honesty very little would change.

Future fears consequences rarely survive a detailed analysis. Remove the unknown areas of future and re-orient your thoughts based on reality.

#4 Do It Anyway

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
Jim Morrison

Removing fear from hypothetical worst-case scenarios is one thing, but actually meeting the thing that causes you to worry can often be the key to freeing yourself from the fear altogether. If fear is holding you back from risk-taking or stepping up to challenges then sometimes the best way to deal with it is to dive right in.

Putting yourself at risk of failure in business, rejection in relationships and other feared situations will either prove that you can succeed or that you can cope with the consequences of failure, making the entire process less of a hurdle to overcome when you try again.

Meeting apprehension head-on through calculated risks is a great way of proving to yourself that you are capable of stepping up. And remember that failure is a vital part of learning to succeed.

#5 Build Relaxation into Your Life

Fear of certain situations can be heightened by general feelings of stress and pressure. You need to be ruthless in identifying stress and purging it from your life.

Relaxation and leisure aren’t things you do when all the other, more important tasks have been done. It’s a vital part of staying healthy. Get serious about having fun- allocate time in your schedule for hobbies, time with friends or just chilling with a book. Refreshing your mind, managing stress and improving your well being are worth having a few less work hours in the week.

#6 Envision Success

Another way to improve your thought processes is to focus on the benefits of success rather than the costs of failure. Think about what overcoming your fear will mean for you. Growth for your business, more meaningful relationships and all around greater success and life satisfaction are definitely worth the worry you might have to endure to get there.

Picture specific goals and work towards them. Build your entire life and business around this vision of the future. Focusing on an attainable goal instead of potential failures is a huge step in helping your dreams become reality.


The most important points in overcoming fear are accepting its reality, re-writing the way you think about it and reducing the uncertainty around it through planning, accountability and direct experience.

Angus Munro

Angus Munro is a registered clinical psychologist and director of Angus Munro Psychology in Sydney. He excels in evidence-based therapies for a comprehensive range of Emotional and psychological challenges. One of his passions is engaging, educating and helping people work through all manner of mental health issues to live their best life.

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