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11 Fears That Hold Women Back

By Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez

It’s been said that FEAR stands for “Forget Everything And Run.” One way to counteract fear’s adverse impact on your career and life is to recognize the type of fear that might be defining you and driving your actions – or lack thereof.

The best way to combat any fear is to hit it head on, keep moving forward and stay focused on achieving your goal. Below are 11 common fears that hold people back from what they desire personally and professionally:

1. Fear of Success.

This is a fear of achieving your dreams and standing out. We all have things we want to achieve in life but, by giving into this particular fear, you lose faith in yourself, your abilities and in those who want to see you to succeed.

2. Fear of Leading.

Many people are afraid of being responsible for an outcome that impacts not only themselves, but also the people they are guiding. Trusting your intuition to guide you will help you make the right decisions. Letting go of the outcome and its various possible impacts brings freedom and releases you from fearing the unknown.

3. Fear of Speaking.

It’s easy to see why some fear public speaking more than any other activity. Whether it is ideas at a school PTA meeting, a speech at a wedding or funeral, a briefing during a staff meeting or a full-scale conference keynote, being a confident speaker requires training, not talent. Master this skill and you will command the attention and respect.

4. Fear of Encroachment.

Women and men today are working in fields that were once traditionally gender-specific. It requires a high level of confidence in your abilities and a strong voice to be heard, and even supported, among others who may not regard you as a peer. You don’t have to be loud and fight as long as you persevere and are unwavering in your vision.

5. Fear of Power.

Power is your proverbial fuel source – where your inner strength emanates from, your passions burn bright. It’s the juice that allows you to keep going in the face of adversity. If you start small, then confidently aim a little higher, you can achieve and revel in it.

6. Fear of Inadequacy.

Feelings of inadequacy can come from inherent low self-esteem or past negative life experiences. The best defense is to learn and master the specific skill, subject or activity in question and you will become self-assured in your execution. If it’s more about fundamental self-esteem, those who seek out emotional support often reap the benefits.

7. Fear of Failure.

All too often we stop short of attempting something new for fear we might embarrass our self or, worse, fail all together. These intense feelings can cause us to put our aspirations on the shelf where they can languish in perpetuity. Failure is part of the road toward success and an opportunity for growth.

8. Fear of Compromising Integrity.

Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is looking. Overcoming this concern requires nothing more than establishing a specific set of boundaries within yourself and knowing exactly where and when you will draw the line – and sticking steadfast to that plan of action. It’s important to recognize that you CAN be successful while adhering to your personal value system.

9. Fear of Vulnerability.

While it can be uncomfortable and scary to open yourself up and expose your true self, your ideas and aspirations to others of importance in your life, doing so can be cathartic. Letting down your guard takes courage, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable often helps people relate to you.

10. Fear of Being Alone.

Many people stay in negative career situations because they are afraid of breaking away from the pack or being isolated from a situation and people they once valued. Allowing our attempts at happiness and success to be controlled by external third parties will rarely bear positive results.

11. Fear of Appearing Selfish.

For some, it feels selfish to do anything for themselves. However, taking care of your needs first is not a selfish luxury, but rather a psychological imperative to ensure you’re emotionally nourished in your own right.


This article was first published on Little Pink Book.


Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez is a retired Air Force Master Sergeant and a motivational speaker known internationally as The Pink Biker Chic – a brand developed to empower individuals to take control of the handlebars of their lives. Learn more at

This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.

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