Your 30s are an ideal time to form healthy habits, invest in your relationships, and develop your career.
You don’t want to enter this critical decade consumed by personal and professional fears. Before you hit the big 3-0, it’s worth taking some time to evaluate what exactly you’re worried about and why.
To help you start reflecting, we’ve rounded up some of the most common fears that can hold you back from success — plus simple strategies for overcoming them for good.
1. Fear of being called a fake at work
More than seven in 10 people say they have experienced what’s called “impostor syndrome,” or the feeling that no matter how much you achieve, you’re a fake and that everyone else is smarter and more competent than you are.
If nagging self-doubt is a problem for you, try keeping a journal of your successes and failures so that you’re more objective about your performance. And when you receive positive feedback, resist the urge to automatically deny it.
Perhaps most importantly, know that people who have confidence in their abilities may come across as smarter to others.
2. Fear of rejection
Being afraid of getting the door slammed in your face — whether you’re applying for a job or asking someone on a date — is perfectly normal. But you shouldn’t let that fear stop you from taking risks.
The first step to managing the fear of rejection is to have a Plan B. In other words, don’t apply to just one company; apply to several so that a potential rejection won’t seem life-shattering.
Also remember that a rejection generally isn’t a reflection on who you are as a person. Maybe the object of your affection just got out of a relationship; maybe your interviewer doesn’t think you’d be a good fit at the organisation. It doesn’t mean you’re fundamentally flawed.
3. Fear of success
While the fear of rejection is widely talked about, it can be hard to admit a fear of success, but it’s more common than you might think.
Some worry the more they achieve, the more they will have to lose. Others subconsciously feel they don’t deserve their success.
Try to discern the origins of your fear. For example, maybe a friend or family member told you that you weren’t talented. Then challenge those messages by thinking rationally about all you’ve achieved so far.
4. Fear of your boss
It can be hard to believe that your manager is just another human being. Instead, he or she may seem like the most intimidating creature ever to walk the planet.
To help assuage that fear, one CEO says it’s important to remember that your worth as an individual isn’t wholly dependent on your job. Your boss’ bad attitude or negative evaluation of you doesn’t mean you don’t have value.
Also remind yourself that you deserve to be treated with respect. If your boss shouts or otherwise acts uncivilly, explain that you’re happy to have a conversation but expect it to be dignified.
5. Fear of missing out
Social media may give you FOMO — anxiety that a more interesting event is going on elsewhere — but once you hit 30, it’s time to get over it.
If you realise you’re spending too much time browsing Facebook photos of your friends’ night out and feeling bad you weren’t invited, you may need an intervention. One simple strategy is to take a break from social media so you aren’t constantly bombarded with other people’s updates.
You can also reframe your reaction to those updates as JOMO, or the joy of missing out. For example, blogger Anil Dash (who coined the term) writes about how satisfying it is to stay at home and give his baby a bath instead of going out.
6. Fear of being wrong
In her TED talk, journalist Kathryn Schulz explains that from an early age we’re taught to believe “people who get stuff wrong are lazy, irresponsible dimwits” and “the way to succeed in life is to never make any mistakes.”
Yet Schulz says the capacity to screw things up is fundamental to who we are. Ultimately, all innovation and creativity stems from realising that we were wrong and reframing our view of the world.
So instead of worrying your idea for a new product will be a total flop, remember that if you’re wrong, the experience will be an opportunity to learn more about what people want and to get better at your job.
7. Fear of upsetting others
It’s one thing to be agreeable — it’s another to think you have to tolerate criticism or else your friend or partner will leave you.
In fact, relationship expert Michelle Skeen told The Huffington Post that people may take advantage of you because “you are accommodating and compliant as a way to prevent the other person from getting angry.”
One Quora user has a solid suggestion for getting over this fear: Remember that having a different perspective doesn’t mean you’re going to upset someone. It can be interesting to share alternate viewpoints.
8. Fear of criticism
In the workplace, most of us know that criticism can help improve our performance, but we’re still wary of receiving it. In a way, it might feel like we’ve failed.
Yet as Deb Bright, Ed.D., writes in Fast Company, those receiving criticism should realise they’re in control of the conversation.
In other words, you decide how to react and what to do with the information: Will you storm off fuming or take the necessary steps to correct your behaviour? If you choose the latter, you have the chance to learn and grow, not to mention avoid an argument.
9. Fear of being judged
There are some parts of being a teenager that linger long after high school — like the fear everyone will laugh at you and your brand-new outfit.
But as your mum has likely told you, most people are too preoccupied with their own worries to notice yours. And even if someone is judging you, it’s entirely your decision to let their opinion affect you.
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