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Every person, whether they are just starting out in their careers, or they have a few years under their belt, wants to be successful. No one really wants to stay in the same job year after year feeling bored, overlooked and unchallenged.

And yet … so many people actually harbor fears that keep them from being all they can be.

Let’s look at some of the more common fears that are holding people (maybe even you!) back from all the success they could be enjoying if only they could overcome these fears!

Fear of failure

Fear of failure has a long medical term – atychiphobia. It’s a feeling of dread that comes when you have to perform in a new role or undertake a new project, and it can be downright paralyzing. Many people only attempt something when they know they can succeed. They cringe when they are given a stretch assignment or are asked to take over someone else’s work.

People who have a fear of failure are usually overly concerned about what others think. They may procrastinate working on a task if they think they won’t do it well. But failure often leads to success, and it’s the best way to learn what works and what doesn’t. Taking a task and dividing it into manageable pieces is one way to break through that fear. Small steps lead to bigger gains.

Fear of rejection

This fear often keeps people from asking their boss for a raise or asking a colleague or client to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you. Fear that the person will say “no” often keeps people from asking in the first place. But if you never ask, you’ll never know. If the worst-case scenario is that they do say “no,” at least you have an answer. Tackle your fear of rejection by acknowledging your feelings, taking a risk and facing your fear, creating an opportunity for growth, and seeking support from trusted friends and family member who believe in you.

Fear of the unknown

Often people are afraid of what they don’t know. When you’re comfortable in a job role, you may feel uncomfortable about taking on a new role because you won’t know what you’re doing right away. Maybe you need additional education to get the job you really want, but you’re afraid you’re too old to return to school. Or you’re afraid that you won’t be able to do the work or that you won’t be able to master new technology. So, you say everything is fine as it is and stay stuck. You think it’s better that way. Time to go outside your comfort zone and try something you fear. You’ll likely surprise yourself and gain confidence too!

Fear of being judged

Let’s face it, people are going to judge you no matter who you are or what you do. And remember,  judgments don’t always have to be negative. Every time you speak to a new person, they are judging you on some level and, often, they come away with a good first impression of you. People who look at your resume or LinkedIn profile might be judging you based on your impressive list of accomplishments. When you apply for a job, several people are judging how well they think you’ll perform in the role. If you hesitate to try to move up in your career for fear of being judged, you are short-changing yourself from achieving your goals and success. Try being more confident in your own abilities and what you’ve accomplished so far. Tell yourself. “You’ve got this,” and apply for that job you want!

Fear of not knowing how to do a job

You wouldn’t be where you are if someone didn’t give you a chance in the first place. Everything you’ve done in your life, from learning to walk, ride a bike, drive a car – you had to learn. It’s no different with a career move or starting a business. You have to start somewhere, and you learn as you go along. When you started your last job, did you know everything there was to know about how to do it? Most likely you did not. It’s the same of you want to change careers or jobs. You’ll learn just as quickly and become productive soon enough. It’s called figuring it out as you go along.

Fear of change

Heraclitus said that “The only constant in life is change.” Life around us is changing every day. Many people have problems coping with change. They want life to stand still and that simply isn’t possible. And why does change have to be a bad thing? Sure, starting a new job in a new company is stressful, but what if you stay in a stagnant job where you don’t have the opportunity to really shine? A new job might be what you need to get out of a rut. Maybe it’s where you’ll find your tribe or develop a new skill. You’ll never know unless you raise your hand and apply for that job!

Fear of success

Yes, that is an actual thing. Some people are afraid of success because they feel that once they achieve it, they’ll never again be able to make a mistake. Or they’re afraid that once they achieve it, they won’t always be able to live up to others’ expectations of them. Sometimes success presents other challenges that bring out fears, like public speaking or being in the spotlight. Some people are afraid they’ll lose good friends or colleagues they like after they hit the “big time.” But you shouldn’t be afraid of being recognized for your talents. You shouldn’t be afraid of thriving – if that is where you are meant to be and everything you’ve done in the past has led you to this success.

Fear of having to work 24/7

Many people equate additional responsibility with longer hours and little time for themselves. And while that may be true for some roles in some companies, it doesn’t always have to be the case. Learning to set and maintain healthy boundaries when it comes to work is important for everyone. You are entitled to a life outside of your job!


These fears are quite common in the workforce, but you can learn to overcome them and realize your career dreams and goals. Try working with a career coach, a mentor or read articles and self-help books that can help you gain more confidence and stop sabotaging yourself.


If you’re on the hunt for top-quality employees, visit atwork.com/locations to speak to an expert recruiter in your area today!


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