Will You Let Fear Stop You from Achieving Your Potential in 2023 (Again)

While many people know exactly that they have the potential to achieve, they don’t always know the fears that are most likely to hijack them from the desired trajectory. This is why it is so important to know what fear will get in the way of achieving our hearts desire. Fear is the most common reason people have for staying stuck in their lives and if we don’t know what we fear or deny that we actually have them, we don’t have a chance of achieving our potential. We will get in our own way!

Everyone has fears just like everyone has needs. They are instinctual, biochemical, and occur in the brain whether we want to them to or not (or whether we believe it or not!).

Research shows that as much as 80% of what we fear never happens. Yet, we allow our lives to be deeply affected because of the scary stories we tell ourselves. Fear, not desire or passion, is the strongest emotional motivator we have and if it comes down to what do we want vs. what do we fear, fear will often win out. We can experience everything from mild anxiety to terror. Fear causes us to behave in ways that ensure our physical and psychological survival. We accept our physical fears much more easily than we do our psychological ones because we have been conditioned to believe that our fears make us weak.


Controlling or Denying Our Fears

Most of the advice that you will receive about fears is how to control, deny, rationalize, or overcome it. Feelings such as fear occur naturally, out of our conscious control. It is the body’s warning system that there is a threat. Our fears are often associated with past experiences, and we tend to fear those things that have caused us pain and suffering in the past. We can tell ourselves that we aren’t feeling anything, because it is “stupid” or “ridiculous” but meanwhile, our bodies and behavior are telling a different story. The reality is, we’ve already felt it and choose to ignore it. Or we push the feeling so far out of awareness and blindly go forward despite warning ourselves of the danger.

The mistake that we have is that our fear is not going to return because we tell ourselves we shouldn’t be afraid. We can call ourselves names, tell ourselves we are stupid for feeling afraid, all to no avail. We need to have the experience of fear and then figure out why we feel afraid. For example, if I most fear embarrassment, I may reflect on what the consequences are for feeling this. Why I am unable to tolerate the emotion? How do I live in my experience instead of fearing what I might feel?


Avoiding Our Fears

Fear is an emotion we all experience, and how we handle it determines what kind of life we’ll lead – whether shackled by anxiety and dread, compensating and adapting to what others are asking of us. Or we empower ourselves by facing our fears and finding the courage to conquer new challenges. Yet we spend most of our time trying to avoid fear, so we muddle along, rarely getting much better at the art of mastering it. That’s a shame, because with a little effort you can find the courage to push beyond your comfort zone and tackle new worlds.


Knowing Our Innate Fears

The truth is that most of us just don’t understand our own needs, fears, and habits of mind very well, so we sabotage ourselves by living life at less than full throttle. We let our fear define and decide what experiences we will have and what we will say, because we are afraid of stirring up emotions in others or ourselves. Over time, we may accept this compromised situation as living, when, unknown to us, all we are really doing is living life on autopilot and trying not to rock the boat.

Our innate fears are varied. They are based on our strongest motivations and the associated psychological needs. We are conditioned to judge our fears rather than to examine them and ask ourselves the purpose of the feeling. Only through understanding the motivation and need attached to the fear, can we stop acting out of the fear.

Based on the Striving Styles® Personality System, there are eight distinct psychological needs which are rooted in the four quadrants of the brain (two per quadrant).

One of these needs is your ‘alpha’ or predominant need, so it has the greatest influence over your behavior and sense of security. It also determines the innate fear that wields the greatest power in your life when you are not aware of it or when it is being triggered.


Shifting our Automatic Response 

Our behavior changes when our innate fear is being triggered, whether we are aware of it or not. Fear pushes us into the emotional part of our brain, leaving us at the mercy of our impulses and unconscious habits of mind that have been hard-wired into our brain through our conditioning and experiences.

The following are the eight distinct psychological fears as well as the key impact on your behavior. By understanding the motivation and need attached to the fear, we can stop acting out of the fear.

  • Innate Need: To Be In Control

Associated Fear: Feeling helpless or powerless

  • Innate Need: To Be Knowledgeable

Associated Fear: Being inferior

  • Innate Need: To Be Recognized

Associated Fear: Shame

  • Innate Need: To Be Perceptive

Associated Fear: Disconnection

  • Innate Need: To Be Connected

Associated Fear: Abandonment

  • Innate Need: To Be Creative

Associated Fear: Assimilation

  • Innate Need: To Be Spontaneous

Associated Fear: Loss of Freedom

  • Innate Need: To Be Secure

Associated Fear: The Unknown

Don’t Let Fear Get in the Way of Achieving Your Potential

The Striving Styles® Personality System is a neuro-psychological approach to achieving potential. Quickly moving individuals from ‘knowing’ to ‘doing’, the SSPS identifies the predominant need that must be met for you to be psychologically secure and the fear that is most likely to get in your way, causing you to revert to adaptive, self-limiting behaviors. The Striving Styles provides a step-by-step roadmap for your development.

To learn more and to find out your Striving Style, make sure to visit www.whoareyoumeanttobe.com

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Anne and Heather are organizational and leadership development experts at Caliber Leadership Systems, a boutique consulting firm specializing in dismantling of dysfunction in organizations.  They are dedicated to empowering individuals, leaders, and organizations to achieve their potential by leveraging their expertise in the neurobiology of human development combined with system thinking approach. They wear many hats – Consultants, Executive Coaches, Trainers, Speakers and Authors – adapting their expertise and solutions to meet the needs of their clients. They bring a unique depth and breadth of knowledge and experience that gives clients the benefit of all of our disciplines to help them achieve their goals

As experts in human development and behavioral change, leadership and organizational transformation, interpersonal dynamics and the achievement of potential, Anne and Heather have worked with thousands of leaders and individuals from around the world, been featured in dozens of publications, spoken at professional conferences, and written several series of books on personality type and the brain based on the Striving Styles® and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®.

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