Los Angeles, CA

5 Personal Fears Holding You Back From Your Dream Career

Dayana Sabatin

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Aren’t you fed up doing the same thing over and over again with little to no fulfillment?

If you are, I hope you know you’re not alone. Gallup's poll has uncovered that out of the world’s one billion full-time workers, only 15% of people are engaged at work. That means that an astronomical 85% of people are unhappy in their jobs.

I was part of that 85% for a long time. My dreams of being a writer and content-creator lay untouched in a dark corner of my mind. I was too scared to do anything that would jeopardize the life I was living — despite it being unfulfilling and mediocre.

I was able to pay the bills on time; I had credit debt, but it wasn’t too substantial; I took a vacation 1–2x a year, and I lived in Los Angeles. To most people, my life looked good. The issue was that I wasn’t happy, and I felt life slipping out of my fingers every day.

Change is difficult, and when you get comfortable doing things a certain way, you’re scared to make any rash decisions. What if it doesn’t work out? You wonder. What if I buy this course and it’s a waste of money?

If you’re someone who budgets and relies on a specific amount of money to go towards your bills or “fun money,” investing in endeavors that you’re uncertain of can be incredibly hard.

I took a leap of faith when I decided to leave the corporate world and start my own business. I had many fears holding me back, but I knew the best thing to do was push past them, not allow them to control my life.

You can do the same. Instead of allowing fears to hold you back from having a career that fulfills you, you can start fighting back and create a career for yourself that’s both fulfilling and rewarding.

Fear of not being good enough

When you’ve been doing something you don’t like for a long time, it’s hard to believe that you’ll actually be successful in a field you do like.

Partially it’s because a part of you doesn’t want to believe that you wasted all this time doing something other than pursuing your passion. You almost want to believe you’re not good enough because it’s a way for you to validate your lack of effort.

I was 11 when I realized I wanted to write for a living. Instead of pursuing that dream, I did what everybody else around me was doing. I went to college in the hopes of getting a “real job.” I thought to myself; there’s no way that I could actually become a writer. That’s reserved for special people, ones with true talent. I was just a simple girl who loved to read.

Flash-forward to 2019, I moved to Los Angeles, dropped out of college, left the corporate world, bought a few writing courses with the little money I had, and honed in on my writing.

I’m not by any means making millions yet. Still, the money that I have made has been all thanks to the hard work I put in daily, and seeing it shows me that I am good enough — and not just good enough to make money, but good enough that people actually gain something from my writing.

That is the best kind of reward there is. Your fear of your lack of education, experience, support, etc., should never hold you back from giving it your best shot and trying to do it over and over again.

You can and are 100% capable of doing something you feel drawn to do.

Fear of rejection

Rejection is never permanent. If one person turns you down, it does not mean you’re not good, or you’ll never succeed.

It’s simply a redirection. I know that sounds corny, but once you understand that rejection is not a sign of failure, you’ll become 10x more confident in your own work.

I always like to remind myself and others that 12 different publishing houses rejected the Harry Potter series before Bloomsbury accepted it. And now, JK. Rowling is the second-highest paid author in the world.

Can you imagine what would have happened if she had just said, “Ok. That’s fine, I accept your rejection. I suppose I’ll just quit now” after 2–3 rejections and hid the Harry Potter series away in a drawer or ripped it up? I don’t know about you, but I would be devasted.

You like to sit and think to yourself, “what if they say no?” which constantly hinders you, but what if you started thinking,

“What if they say yes? what if the next person I approach with my pitch says yes? what if things work in my favor?”

The moment I started changing my mindset and starting thinking of the potential positive outcomes, my fear started to obliterate. I felt like I was viewing the world from a different and brighter perspective—one with endless opportunities and adventures.

The first step in eliminating your fear of rejection is acceptance. You have to accept that chasing your dreams isn’t going to be easy, but each time you experience a no, it’ll bring you a step closer to a yes.

Fear of change

You have a routine — one that works well for you.

It’s hard to let that go; it’s hard to even think about getting out of a routine that you’ve worked so hard to build for yourself. But what if there’s a better one out there for you? One that’s more suited to your needs and desires?

I understand that embarking on a new journey will probably require you to make some drastic changes and shifts in your daily life, no doubt you might end up working more hours and giving up your weekends to jumpstart your new endeavors, but instead of allowing this fear to hold you back, learn to embrace it.

Think back on all the times in your life where you experienced major changes and how well you adapted to them. Use that as your inspiration during this massive transition in your life. The sooner you start to accept and embrace change, the easier it’ll be to adapt and experience new and positive things in your life.

Fear of being judged by others

No matter what you choose to do in life, there always be some sort of judgment or criticism from others.

There’s always going to be someone who disagrees, disapproves, and dislikes what you’re doing with your life. It’s not necessarily personal; it’s just that people often get jealous or frustrated when they see others doing something they can’t do.

That’s why when you announce that you’re going on a diet, people will ask why and tell you that you look good as you are.

Or if you say you want to quit a negative habit, they’ll say it’s not that bad, and there are “worst” things you could be doing. “You’re fine; stop overthinking everything,” they tell you.

If you feel like you’re trying to improve yourself in any area of your life and the people around you are negative, don’t let it discourage you from going down the path you feel is right. Instead, find a community of individuals that are like-minded and will help support you in what you choose to do.

Fear of it not working out

“It’s not going to work; I can’t do it. I’m not good enough. It’s too saturated. I don’t have anything to offer. I didn’t go to college for X. They told me I’m not good at Y. It just won’t work out for me.”

Your brain is constantly trying to tell you why you shouldn’t do something. For example, when your brain detects something happening outside of your norm, according to John Assaraf (The Secret, NeuroGym), it triggers the brain’s “error detection mechanism.”

Brian Evans writes for Inc Magazine,

When you get excited about something, shortly after, your brain (which is only doing its job) brings up life experiences, fears, and other things that may persuade you to be “realistic” and not to do what you just got excited about. This is your brain’s way of protecting you by convincing you to stay in your comfort zone and do the same thing that has kept you alive this many years, as anything else could mean danger.

Whenever my brain tries to tell me I can’t do something, I take a step back and analyze the situation.

Why can’t I do it? Is it impossible? Have others tried and failed? Am I getting ahead of myself?

Usually, after asking myself these questions, I realize that it’s simply my fear talking, and I do the one thing that anybody should do in that situation.

I challenge it.

I didn’t know if my writing career would work out, but instead of spending the rest of my life wondering, I tested it. I failed, got rejected, stumbled a lot, tried again, enveloped myself in the process of getting better, and little by little, it all started to work out.

Giving your all to something that you’re not certain of is scary; I won’t deny it one bit. However, it’s worth it if you get to do what you love for the rest of your life.

Bottom line

Instead of sweeping your fears under the rug and living with them, acknowledge them. Challenge each and every single one of them because chances are, most of them are made up in your head.

Your dream career — your dream life is within your grasp. Identify the way to get there and prepare for the massive changes that will come along the way.

It’ll all be worth it in the end.

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Freelance writer sharing thoughts on self-improvement, productivity, and success.

Santa Monica, CA
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