Own My Growth

Helping folks with practical tips to manage themselves better

Be Aware Of Your Fear Traps

fear traps
Fear Traps Distort Reality

All of us want success at whatever we do. Naturally, when looking for success, there is also a fear of losing. Losses can lead to insecurity. When we are insecure, we doubt ourselves. We start hesitating when it comes to decisions. Even when we know what the right thing to do is, we become reluctant in the face of fear. If something worries us, we hold back and don’t take confident affirmative actions. We succumb to fear traps, which then manifests as excuses for why we did not do what we were supposed to do.

There have been many instances when I have encountered my own fear traps, which with the benefit of hindsight, I can define for what they are. Knowing your limitations is liberating. It helps you call them out for what they are – Just limitations- and go about doing whatever you have to do. E.g., I know I have a fear of heights. Being able to define the fear of heights has helped me take those actions I was reluctant to take.

I am sure there must be more, but I am listing five common fear traps I struggled with at various points. By identifying the specific fear traps and defining them, I have taken the sting out of the fear.  

  1. Perfection Trap- “I am not ready yet. I need to spend more time perfecting this work.” I was struck by the fear of losing because I felt I was not ready for something. I have realized that there is no better time than NOW. This idea that I am not prepared and ready; it’s just an excuse. Every Blog I write, I go through this fear. The output is not perfect. But I ship it anyway. 
  2. Inspiration Trap- “I will work on this some other time. I don’t feel like working on this proposal. Ideas are not flowing.” It was not the inspiration I was seeking—my fear of not meeting up to the client’s expectations was holding me back. When I look back, I can see very few successes in my life coming from random sparks of inspiration. Most times, it has just been the struggle and discipline of just doing it. Anytime your internal voice says, “I don’t feel inspired,” beware. It’s just a trap to procrastinate. Recognize the trigger and move forward.
  3. Mistake Trap- ” I don’t know anything about this subject. I am afraid I will make a mistake and screw it up” I have sold myself short on many occasions, fearing the possibility of making mistakes. 90% of errors we make in life are non-fatal, and they are the ones that contribute towards our “experience” and that too, with very little pain. Falling into the mistake trap and not doing anything is a bad outcome. If you do something and succeed, you have achievement. And, If you fail, you learn and notch some valuable experience.    
  4. Comparison Trap- ” I can never be as good as that other person. So why waste my time. Let her only take on the project” I regret some of those opportunities I have let go because I thought I was not good enough compared to someone else. This was a silly mindset. No one is born great at anything. If someone else is good, so can you be. You need to recognize that with the right learning process, one can get better at anything. I have written about this in one of my early posts, The Learning Process.
  5. My Image Trap- ” If I fail, what will others think? What will this do to my positioning, my image?” Fear of other people’s opinions of how they will see me if I fail sometimes was paralyzing me. Over time I have realized this. No one really cares; to each his own. If you feel something is important, you do it for yourself and take responsibility for the consequences, good or bad. Having thick skin is useful. 

Fear traps are self-sabotaging stories we create in our imagination. Recognize your fear traps, and do what you have to do anyway.

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