What holds me back?

In 2020 I’m answering a list of 52 journal questions. Read about it here.

What holds you back?
In early 2009 I did a 2 week course on goal setting. This was the first time I learnt that there are two types of fear: Fear of Success and Fear of Failure. Everyone has a tendency to one of those fears and that’s what holds you back from everything.


That lesson has stuck with me and is something I think of often when I feel I’m being held back.

Because I have thought about it for so long, I know which “fear” I succumb to, and that is fear of failure. I’m very goal oriented and I aim high. I’m also a perfectionist. Perfect storm for worrying about failure.

But recognising your fear is a big step forward in being able to overcome it.

I have strategies I use to help move past the fear. I think I’ve taken more risks, stepped out of my comfort zone more, since I have been able to deal with it.

I still find fear of failure holds me back at times, but my stubborness kicks in and I refuse to let it beat me. I’m determined to not let it hold me back.

Which fear do you fall into?

9 comments on “What holds me back?

  1. Giggling Fattie

    March 27, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    Hmmm this is an interesting thing to think about. I might have to put some thought into which one describes me best.

    • I found it took me a little bit to work it out when I learnt of it. But once you know, it does become easy to recognise it when it affects you.

  2. This is a good question. I like to take reasonable risks so I think I am more afraid of success than failure. Not so much success, but all that comes part and parcel with it. The expectation and pressure of continued performance and the scrutiny, the lack of anonymity, the channelling into a specific niche and that only to write about, the adulation and of course the criticism. Those things have no appeal for me.
    When I was younger, I wanted to become a writer (of the columnist variety – not fiction) and make a living from it – which means some degree of success. I am so happy to have found blogging, which gives my inner writer an outlet – with no risk of ever becoming (in)famous and thus considered a success. LOL!


    • I think this reflects in all aspects of life, so success doesn’t have to be something that leads to acknowledgement. For example, it could be as simple as wanting to learn to sew: What if I spend the money on a sewing machine and I mess up the dress? What if it doesn’t fit? What if I am a hopeless seamstress? I won’t do it = fear of failure.

      It’s great you’ve been able to succeed at something you’ve always wanted to do, Deb. You write a very engaging blog so I am sure if you’d made it into journalism you’d have done well!

  3. Oh no, I think I have both! Yoda is definitely talking about me.

  4. I do believe I’m more afraid of success than failure. I have lots of experience with failure, and it’s become an old friend. Interesting.

    • It makes you think, doesn’t it? Especially as the outcome is the same. I gues we just need different ways of overcoming fear depending on which holds us back.

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