What is your biggest barrier to achievement? Is fear holding you back? I ask these two questions to set the stage for where we’ll go in this article. In addition, I love questions as they are the perfect way to engage the mind which is not always easy to do in the digital, information-overload society we now live and operate within.

I usually don’t share much about my personal life, so I must admit that I’m a bit nervous about what I’m going to reveal to you now. Recently, I took an inventory of my basic fears and found that…My biggest fear is losing touch with my kids. I know, it may sound strange, but I travel a lot. With my hectic travel schedule and career path it’s not always easy to talk, yet alone, see my kids as often as I’d like. Yes, it’s a choice I’ve made, which I’m fine with, but on occasion the fear of losing touch with my three children does cross my mind.

Now, I try not to let this limit my thinking and plant seeds of fear or regret, but I feel very strongly about having a connection with them as I do not want to ever lose touch. I’m sure if you’re a parent reading this you understand where I’m coming from, but now that they are getting older, especially my 13 and 15-year old daughters, they are starting to pull away, find their wings, and become strong, independent young women. This is natural, yet often hard for a parent to understand and often times accept.

So, my question to you is… What is your biggest fear and is it holding you back? I encourage you to take a quick second and utilize the power of self-reflection –only humans have this ability by the way- to write down what your biggest fear is. Again, this is deeply personal, yet important and here’s why: we ALL have fear. It’s how we identify, asses it and take steps to deal with it, that I’d like to focus on with this article.

As I was recently reading through the late Napoleon Hill’s amazing and thought provoking 2011 release, Outwitting the Devil – The Secret to Freedom and Success, I was struck by the following quote he uses to set the stage for the book:

“Fear is the tool of a man-made devil. Self-confident faith in one’s self is both the man-made weapon which defeats this devil and the man-made tool which builds a triumphant life. And it is more than that. It is a link to the irresistible forces of the universe which stand behind a man who does not believe in failure and defeat as being anything but temporary experiences.”

I think his recommendations about how to handle and deal with fear and doubt are not only spot on, but even more important than ever especially at a time when the media continues to obsess, package, and aggressively market fear-based news and information. In addition, the lack of spotlight and attention being given to hard work and success stories built by honest businesses and entrepreneurs is a shocking indictment again to the fact that the media continues to focus on the wrong priorities by perpetually covering negative, fear-based stories and people. Hill warned about the media’s power to influence –often to scare not inspire- long before we had hundreds of TV stations, the Internet and mobile communications.

In this post I’d like to take a look at three ways to eliminate fear and doubt within your own life that Hill discusses in the book which was so controversial that his family hid the original manuscript before its eventual release last year, some 41 years after his passing in 1970.

#1: Definiteness of purpose. It’s amazing that once someone finds their true passion, life gets much easier. A confused mind uses excess energy and time. When you see or meet someone who’s passionate about their job, career, business or mission it’s very inspiring and the ‘lucky breaks’ seem to go their way. It’s the power of focus and goal alignment which brings opportunities -not luck- into their life.

Think of all the people you meet in a given week who are chronic whiners and complainers. They go on and on about how much they dislike their job, how stressed they are, how sick they feel, etc. Can you feel your energy level dropping as you read that last sentence? So, is it any wonder why these people are struggling? Their own thoughts, actions and words are repelling people and opportunities away every time they open their mouth.

I am very blessed to be surrounded by many “Go-getters” who are dialed in and ready to face the challenges of life because they have a clear vision of where they want to go and grow towards. They know the ‘why’ behind their actions and it serves to inspire them, even when the chips are down, and it keeps them moving forward in spite of what life or others throw their direction.

#2: Mastery over self. Your habits are either making or breaking you each day. Are you focused with your time? Do you have written goals that you review often? Do you have your day planned out with specific deadlines? I ask these questions, because as a society most people run from responsibility and seek to blame others for their own shortcomings. This victim mentality of blame and passing-the-buck is epidemic and is a major reason why so many people are “drifting” as Hill mentions versus moving ahead with confidence.

The following quote is a marvelous reminder about why goal-setting and working on yourself each day is of massive importance: “Failure to plan, is planning to fail.” Yes, this statement is simple and there lies the danger. So many people think that success is elusive, too difficult, and should be more complex. Frankly, it’s not. What it does require is setting up productive daily habits that move you closer to your goals; versus “hoping” and waiting for people, opportunities or breaks to magically appear out of thin air. That’s not how life works.

#3: Learning from adversity. It’s a measure of someone to see how they treat others when life has handed them a tragedy or major setback. If you’re doing well right now in most areas of your life, I congratulate you. However, I caution to be aware that being prepared to handle adversity when it rears its ugly head is a smart insurance policy to staying focused on your goals.

One of the smartest things to do when dealing with adversity is to seek out support from friends and other positive people within your networks who will not just listen, but lift you up by sharing how they’ve dealt with adversity and trying times within their own lives. Yes, it’s humbling, but also incredibly powerful to assist you in getting back on track and refocused on your goals and dreams.

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