In the course of my consulting and writing on the topic of life changes, I have kept a list of the top 10 reasons that most people are afraid to make change.

As I was preparing Designing Your Ideal Life for publication, I promised myself that I would compile a “list of fears” for everyone to read. I found it personally fascinating, and certainly I recognized some of the fears I carried with me in my own life. In the coming weeks I will be exploring some of these fears in greater depth.

Before we go over the list, let me please say that everyone should rest assured. There is no fear that is insurmountable; no barrier that cannot be hurdled. It may take some of us longer than others to deal with our fear issues but we can all “get there.”

  1. Fear of the Unknown – For many people, the devil you know is a lot more comfortable than the devil you don’t know. We are all afraid of falling off an edge (whatever that edge may mean to us!).
  2. Fear of Failure – Most of us are motivated by being right and as a result, many people are afraid of really stretching themselves. Rather than join the race, they won’t even sign up. In a strange way, this is related to a Fear of Success. Some are afraid of “entering races” because they don’t see themselves as winners.
  3. Fear of Going against What Others May Want for Them and from them – This is actually a two part fear. If you really study it, you will begin to see how the two can be very different.
  4. Fear of Ridicule, Embarrassment or Rejection – We are often afraid of what others will say about us or think about us. We care more about their assessment of us than we care about taking care of ourselves.
  5. Fear of Disappointing Someone Else’s Expectations – What fears do we have wrapped up in pleasing others? Some of us are consummate people pleasers at the risk of destroying our own happiness.
  6. Fear of the Effort it Will Take to Change – Sometimes we are overwhelmed with the fears in attaining a degree, a certification or any kind of outcome. The idea of going through many formalized steps to achieve a goal terrifies us.
  7. Fear of Being Taken Advantage – We can fear that the promises or the proposals in starting a new venture may be fake and without merit. We fear someone will use our vulnerabilities to gain something over on us.
  8. Fear of Confrontation – “You want to do what?” It is a fear of telling close friends and family what we want or need; parents and spouses may yell at us for wanting something more for ourselves.
  9. Fear of Losing Control – We all want a safe zone in which to live and work. What happens if we make a leap to something completely new? We often want safety over change even though we know that the status quo is unhealthy for us.
  10. Fear of Not Having Enough Money – This is the legitimate fear of thinking we will lack the resources to support ourselves during a change.

Have you wrestled with a fear or many fears and felt lost? Have you been so fearful of living that you put off all of your hopes and dreams for an ideal life? You are certainly not alone. With time, patience and personal forgiveness, most anything is possible. I can help you get there.

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