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Are Your Fears Holding You Back?

Today is Halloween–the scariest holiday of the year! What frightens you the most? The scary witches, ghosts, vampires or werewolves? Each of us has different types and levels of fear that can hold us back from accomplishing something we want to do. Having fear is normal. The difference is how we handle them. 

I have often spoken about getting out of your comfort zone. But some fears are so big that they can actually paralyze you. I read an interesting article written by Dr. Karl Albrecht. He classifies all fears into five main categories. 

Here are Dr. Karl Albrecht’s 5 Types of Fears that can hold us back:
1. Extinction. The fear of annihilation, of ceasing to exist. This is more than just a “fear of death” or how we might die – It’s a fear that we would simply no longer BE. Examples: Fear of the dark, flying, heights, and fatal diseases. 

2. Mutilation or Bodily Invasion. The fear of losing a part of our body, having our body’s boundaries invaded, or of losing a natural function. 
Examples: Fear of spiders or snakes, dogs or sharks – (animals you believe to be harmful), crowds, needles, germs, surgical procedures or having to make a trip to the dentist!

3. Loss of Autonomy. The fear of being restricted, confined, trapped, suffocated. immobilized, paralyzed, overwhelmed, imprisoned, smothered. When it’s a physical fear it’s called claustrophobia.
Examples: Fear of commitment, poverty, debilitating illness, aging. Any situation where we feel helpless or powerless. 

4. Separation, Abandonment or Rejection. The fear of abandonment, rejection – we humans have a strong need to belong. We fear upsetting people for fear of being rejected and/or abandoned.
Examples: When a relationship ends – a friendship, divorce or death of a loved one. Also, a fear of intimacy, arguing or disagreeing.

5. Humiliation, Shame or Worthlessness. Dr. Albrecht called this type of fear, “Ego-death”. We all need to feel lovable, worthy of love and of value. Shame can be an excruciating feeling–we will go great lengths to avoid. 
Examples: Fear of failure, criticism, bullying, victimization, mistakes, public speaking. The fear of losing one’s job, or leaving our house unlocked and getting robbed. 

What fears are you letting get in your way in your personal life or at work? Figure out what you are going to do about them so you can move forward, get that promotion or get your health back on track. Is your fear internal or external? 

Over the years, I have let fear stand in my way more than once. I was horribly afraid of heights when I was younger. To be honest, looking back, I’m not sure if it was fear of heights or falling, but I knew I had to do something about it. I have done things to get out of my comfort zone–like mountain climbing (I climbed Mount Fuji), ziplining, and even riding the Ferris wheel and Skywheel. 

I also used to be afraid of public speaking, and I knew that it was holding me back from my ideal position in our company. So, I joined Toastmasters International for a short time. I also participated in interview competitions, and started going with salespeople to speak to small groups of prospects. Then, I started volunteering to speak at events. Eventually, I got over that fear. 

The most recent fear I overcame was my fear of snakes. It held me back from going camping with my husband. For that fear, I actually got hypnotized. Guess what? It worked. 

What are your biggest fears and how are you going to move through them? Remember to stay in the Present. Fears come from thinking about the past or the future.