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3 Career-Killing Fears That Outlast Halloween

friday-the-13thIt’s that time of year when people enjoy getting lost in corn mazes, sipping hot apple cider, and carving a family of jack-o-lanterns. There is an abundance of wholesome fun to be had. There are super-hero and fairy princess costumes to make and trick-or-treating routes to plan.

However, it’s also that time of year when some people look forward to the scarier side of the season and intentionally find ways to terrify themselves. They can’t wait to dress up as a zombie or psychopath, decide which haunted house is truly the scariest, and host a Friday the 13th movie marathon.

I will be the first to say I’m not a fan of Halloween. I love Fall – it’s my favorite season – but I do NOT enjoy the creepy obsession associated with this holiday. I don’t understand the cobweb decorations and bloody tombstones that adorn my neighbors’ front lawns. I will not watch Freddie Kruger or some other half-dead creature tear people apart with a chainsaw.

The bottom line is that I don’t like being scared on purpose, and I know all my fellow control-freaks can relate. But the reality is that we have all have fears – real and imaginary. Fear is a powerful force in both our personal and professional lives.

After coaching hundreds of professionals over the last 20+ years, I have witnessed firsthand how fear can dramatically influence, inhibit, and derail careers at every level. Some of my clients have been fully aware of their fears, while others have used not-so-clever excuses and rationalizations to mask the underlying fear.

Someone once said, “It’s not that successful people don’t feel fear…it’s that they feel the fear, but do it anyway.”

Are you allowing fear to hold you back? Do you have a goal, but fear keeps getting in your way? Do you conveniently “change your mind” about pursuing something new, because fear takes over?

Here are 3 Fears that can kill your career…

1. Fear of Success/Failure – these are essentially two sides of the same coin, and they both boil down to the fear of the unknown. What if I actually get that promotion and start making more money? I’ll have more responsibility and more people will be counting on me…can I live up to the new expectations? Or, What if I apply for a new job and I don’t get it? I’d be labeled a loser, and I don’t think I could ever recover.

2. Fear of Being a Fraud – a successful career path involves growth, development, and advancement. However, many people fear advancing to another position, because they fear they’ll be discovered as a fraud. As soon as they realize I don’t know what I’m doing, they’ll regret ever offering me this position. I’d better stay in my comfort zone where I have all the answers.

3. Fear of Disappointment – we all have people in our lives we love dearly and would never want to disappoint. The problem is when the fear of disappointing someone else becomes the driving force behind career decision-making. I am passionate about working for a non-profit, but I know my spouse/parent would be so disappointed if I gave up my cushy corporate job.

Fear can be fun at a Halloween party, but fear can be disastrous when it negatively impacts your ability to move forward and take a risk. Feeling fear is completely normal…being paralyzed by fear will kill your career. Remember: “feel the fear, but do it anyway.” (Just watch out for zombies and psychopaths!)

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