Is Fear Holding You Back?

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“If we all feared the same things, and if nobody was willing to take a risk for what they believed in, the world would be a very boring place indeed.”
—Tania Aebi

If anyone knows about conquering fears, it’s Tania Aebi. On May 28, 1985 at the tender age of eighteen, Tania left her home in New York on a little 26 foot Contessa sailboat she named Varuna. Her goal: to circumnavigate the world alone.

Tania had never sailed a boat alone until that day. As a matter of fact, her sailing experience in total was fairly limited and she lacked many of the required sailing skills at that time, such as celestial navigation. Starting out, the media had a heyday with Tania’s lofty ambitions. Television reporters accused her father of sending her to her death. Many didn’t think she would make it around before giving up or falling to a fatal end.

Little did they know that Tania would sail back into New York two years later on November 6, 1987 setting a world record as not only the first female from the United States to sail around the world solo, but also as the youngest person to do so.

“I remembered back to the days before leaving New York, when I worried if I would ever adapt to life at sea on my own. Having done it, I realized now how much more is possible. But I could never have known had I not tried.”
—Tania Aebi, Maiden Voyage

Tania’s journey was not an easy one; it was filled with massive challenges and Tania had to face her fears daily and tackle them one by one in order to reach her goal. And reach it she did.

Now this is an extreme example, I know. But after I read Tania Aebi’s book, Maiden Voyage, I couldn’t help but think that no matter what our goal is in life, we are all faced with fears. No matter if your goal is to be a writer, artist, teacher, CPA, or entrepreneur… the fact of the matter is that you have fears that could be holding you back from accomplishing your goals and dreams.

Fears could be anything from anxiety over public speaking, terror of rejection or failure, financial worry, or even panic of the unknown or unfamiliar.

If you want to conquer your fears, there are several things you need to do.

  1. Identify your fear.

Sit down and get really specific and honest with yourself. Why haven’t you taken steps towards your goal? What’s holding you back? Identify your fear (it could be more than one) and write it down.

  1. Determine the worst possible scenario.

Ask yourself, what is the worst possible thing that could happen if this fear came true? Write down all of the possibilities.

  1. How would you handle it?

Now, ask yourself how you would handle it if each of those possibilities came true. Think outside of the box; how could you manage each scenario and take control of the situation? Write it down.

  1. Could you live with those options?

Finally, determine if you could actually deal with it. Honestly ask yourself if you could emotionally, financially, and physically handle it if the worst were to happen.

After going through this exercise, you might just find that your worst fears really aren’t as bad as you envisioned.  A lot of times we tend to blow our fears up into something much bigger than they really are. So when we take time to get really honest and specific about each fear, it can help us see our fears in a different light.

Today, I challenge you to find a quiet place to sit down and go through this exercise.

If you get stuck or find yourself in need of someone to talk you through the exercise, send me a message at and I’d be happy to help.

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