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Overcome the Fears Holding You Back at Work

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Whether they’re conscious or unconscious, we all experience underlying fears that hold us back at work. How can you overcome yours? First, identify where you start to feel stuck. Maybe you’re hesitant to have difficult conversations with your colleagues, to be more decisive, or to set better boundaries. Acknowledge what jams you up—and dig into it. Name the fear that’s holding you back from taking action, whether it’s the fear of damaging a relationship by being confrontational, of tarnishing your reputation if you make the wrong choice, or of not wanting to disappoint a colleague by saying “no.” Once you name the underlying fear, think about where it comes from. Chances are, your anxieties are based on an experience unrelated to your present circumstance. Finally, conduct safe, small, and low-risk experiments to debunk your assumptions. For example, if you have fears related to money, try meeting with a financial planner to get an independent evaluation of your situation. Eventually, you’ll unlearn your old patterns and free yourself of your fears.

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