Are you afraid to go after the things you really want? Are you reluctant to pick up the phone to pitch your products or ideas? Send in that business plan? Ask for a plum project or raise?
It proves you're only human. "Fear is the mental response to a perceived threat," says Connie Kadansky, a coach with 20 years' experience. Her specialty is coaching people with sales-call reluctance, but her observations about false beliefs go beyond sales calls to just about every area of life.
Here are four perceived threats that may be keeping you from reaching for your goals, even before anyone or anything has gotten in your way:
I'm not ready.
Kadansky calls this Limiting Belief--you limit yourself instead of letting the world set boundaries for you: "I'm not quite good enough yet" or "I have to build up some more credibility first."
Of course, building credibility is a good thing, but it can easily become an excuse to wait just a little longer...and a little longer...before you go after what you want.
They don't want to hear from me.
Too many of us assume, before we even call a prospect or make a pitch, that our message will fall on unwelcoming ears, Kadansky says. "You think, They've already had 10 calls from people like me today, or I'm just going to get voicemail."
All of this is our own invention. But it can stop us from finding out what response we really would get if we tried.
No means they hate me.
"The perception is, when someone says, 'No, I'm not interested,' you think this person has rejected you," Kadansky says. "They didn't. You can perceive it that way; however, they simply said they weren't interested in what you were pitching."
For many, especially creative people and entrepreneurs, what you're selling is so near to your heart and so wrapped up in who you are that it can be tough to draw the line between the two when someone turns you down. And that's the problem.
"Fear keeps a lot of people from proactively prospecting, because they interpret a no as a personal rejection, and it simply is not," Kadansky says. "Nobody can reject you unless you reject yourself in some way."
I have nothing of value to offer.
Unfortunately, many people do reject themselves. "We have an inner critic that is cruel and destructive," Kadansky says. "It tells us that we don't have enough value, that we're not good enough to do this. It's messy emotional stuff."
Recognizing these fears is the first step to getting past them. Kandansky suggests taking pen to paper. "Whatever your fear is about reaching out to someone, write it down."
Are you afraid you'll be asked a question and won't know the answer? That someone will be rude to you or hang up? Write down that scenario and what you would do to handle it. Naming your fear and knowing you'll survive if it happens is a big first step toward going after your goals. "It's just your thoughts that are causing you to hesitate," she says.
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