What's Holding You Back?

Among the many self-limiting beliefs we tell ourselves, "I can't" seems to be one of the more popular ones.  This type of mind set is most commonly associated with that primal four letter "F" word that seems to pervade the minds of most people: FEAR. What is it that everyone seems to be afraid of? You name it: fear of failure/fear of success, fear of dying/fear of living, fear of the past/fear of the future, betrayal, change, uncertainty, loneliness, getting old, getting sick etc....
We live in a society where we are constantly being measured, watched, judged, compared. So much so, that we are afraid to act, to move forward, to do something that might make us vulnerable, exposed.
So we do nothing.
Eighty percent of our decisions are based on fear rather than desire. We make safe choices even when it's not what we really want. We're afraid of falling short. We're afraid of being rejected. This often leaves us feeling:
Hopeless - Nothing is ever going to change or get better
Helpless - I have no control over my situation. It's beyond anything I can do
Overwhelmed - This is impossible. It's too hard, I'll never get it done
Defeated - I may as well not even try
Wary of Disapproval - Any choice I make is going to be criticized or judged
Guilty - I've let others down
Having a fear is natural. It makes us human. Letting it stop you from going after your dreams is a tragedy. Fear impedes progress, builds impenetrable walls, paralyzes us.  We're told "Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear."
The problem is of course, getting to the other side. I'm talking about irrational fear - not the legitimate fear that warns us of imminent danger or protects us from making the wrong decisions. Irrational fear is always imagining the worst scenario, not living life to the fullest for fear of unrealistic consequences, dwelling in the past, obsessing about things that cannot be changed, wallowing in the safety of our comfort zone. How does one get to the other side of FEAR? You can start here:
- Awareness. Acknowledge your fear. Don't pretend it's not there. You created it in your mind. It's your interpretation and your thoughts that make up fear.
- Feel the fear. Accept what it is. Stand up to it. Feel the fear and do it anyway. It may be scary at first, but you will learn that you can do it.
- Ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that can happen? Often it’s not as catastrophic as we think. 
- Focus on the present. It makes no sense to dwell in the past. No amount of worry or anguish will change it.  Accept it and move on. The future cannot be predicted. Stay in the present and focus only on today.
- Take small steps. Each small success will motivate you to keep going. 
Understand that it is the anticipation of fear, rather than the fear itself that is so debilitating. The point is not to eradicate fear completely from our lives, but rather to embrace it, work through it and emerge more confident and empowered.