What is the One Thing Holding You Back

Have you ever considered what might be keeping you from accomplishing your biggest dreams and goals? What is the one thing holding you back?

Here are a few clues. It’s has nothing to do with how smart or talented you are. Nothing to do with how much free time you have, how much money you, where you live, or our level of education. No, it’s not related to your athletic ability or the way you look either. It has nothing to do with your past, or how lucky you might be.

It’s hard to believe, I know, but none of those things are what’s holding you back. Most of the time, ALL of those things are only excuses.

No, the number one thing holding us back from our goals and dreams is something every single one of us faces, and that every single one of us—no matter how many other advantages we may have—must overcome. It’s FEAR.

It’s the fear we aren’t good enough, or the fear someone might laugh at us, or the fear it will be too hard.

But mostly, it is the fear we might fail.

Whether it be the fear of speaking in front of a large group, the fear of going back to school, the fear of what others think or the fear of traveling to a new country. There are so many different ways our fears can hold us back. Ways in which we let fear win.

But we can choose a different way.

We can choose courage. It doesn’t mean we aren’t ever scared. It means we might be afraid but decide to take action despite our fear.

It’s the same value I used to remind my kids about, and the same one I still have to repeat to myself. Sometimes courage — facing our fear — is simply a matter of reprogramming your brain, pushing past what feels comfortable to think of fear a little differently.

Do the thing you fear, and continue to do so. This is the quickest and surest way of all victory over fear.

– Dale Carnegie

Busting Your Fears

Learning to push past your comfort zone and recognize your fears will bring new meaning to your life. Here are a few tools and techniques to help you identify which fears are valid, put the irrational aside, and then move forward with your life.

1 | Visualize Your Intended Outcome

Maybe you’re scared of failing or some other possibly negative outcome. The key is to stop focusing on the negative and visualize how to achieve your goal. Instead of being scared of failure, get excited about success. Your brain will automatically and systematically pursue whatever you get it to focus on. This is how constant negative thoughts often lead to negative results. Redirect your brain to push past your fear for success and achievement by focusing on the results you want.

2 | What’s the Worst that can Happen?

Ask yourself this simple question.  What is the worst possible result of whatever is scaring you? Be brutally honest. If you’re petrified with the fear of failing your driving test, the worst possible outcome is for you to fail. No big deal. You go back another day and keep trying until you succeed.  Imagining the worst-case scenario often bursts your fear bubble and empowers your ability to try.

3 | Write it Down

Creating Positive Habits Gratitude Journal

You can really take the steam out of your fears if you write them down. Irrational fears don’t look very powerful on a piece of paper. Doing this regularly, and then writing down related positive thoughts and experiences may help you realize your fears are unfounded, and not very powerful after all.

If you’re looking for a regular way to improve your positive mindset check out my Creating Positive Habits Journal.

4 | Practice Gratitude

If negative thoughts are bringing you down, take a deep breath and clear your mind. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths in and then out. Then identify an area in your life where you are truly blessed and appreciative. No matter what your thoughts are focusing on, reminding yourself you have amazing friends, a wonderful family, or a fantastic vacation planned soon can help bust your fears. Gratitude thoughts are a reminder of good things in your life, and they tell those pesky fears you are capable of more good – there is nothing to fear.

If you’d like to try my free gratitude email course — click HERE.


Simple fears and concerns are natural. It’s normal to feel like we will fall flat on our face.  It becomes a problem when we allow it to hold us back – to keep us from even trying.  What’s the worst that could happen?

We could fall flat on our face. But maybe we won’t.

It feels terrifying but is also kind of thrilling.

It feels paralyzing, but we try anyway.

We’ve all experienced it, and it’s okay.

Eleanor Roosevelt wisely encouraged us to “do one thing every day that scares you.” I applaud her words of wisdom and challenge you to take the one thing holding you back and find a way to conquer it today.  Need a little more help? Check out my Conquering Your Fears Checklist. I’ll send it directly to your inbox – just fill out your info below.

What fear are you going to conquer today?

desk with candle and journal

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5 thoughts on “What is the One Thing Holding You Back”

  1. This reminded me of a quote by Victor Kiam, “Even if you fall on your face, you are still moving forward.”
    I am one with many fears but over the last few years I have learned a lot about how to neutralize or at least challenge them in new ways. Reprogramming has been particularly helpful in identifying the emotions, the source of the negative belief and learning how to replace the negative beliefs. It has been an interesting journey to learn to see things from multiple angles and not just what I was initially programmed to believe.

    1. Fears can be a huge inhibitor. I like the idea of reprogramming or reframing to identify the emotion and figure out a different way of believing what is true. Thanks, Tracy!

    2. I think you’re right, the key to turbulence in life is to keep moving forward. If we can learn to reframe our perspective it helps so much! Writing makes a big difference for me – learning to write it out and look at in a new way can motivate me to keep trying.

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