Let’s be honest. Fear can be a bit*h. You have these great ideas in your head which you want to bring to life, but just as you’re about to kickstart the plans, then in comes fear. Fear is crippling. It can degrade the quality of your life in almost all aspects – careerwise, socially, academically, mentally, and emotionally.
Different people bring out different forms of fear. Some fear the unknown and others fear their abilities. After surveying over 4,000 adults, Ruth Soukup, author of the book Do it scared, found that the type of fear that holds us back in life manifests itself in 7 different ways. It’s what she refers to as the “fear archetypes”.
Let’s take a look at the seven fear archetypes and how to overcome each of them.
1. The Procrastinator
I can guarantee one of two things. You have either been the procrastinator or experienced the procrastinator. This is the kind of person who finds reasons to postpone working on something. They put off their homework, research, phone call, and many other things.
Why? They obsess over the end product and insist on it being perfect. They tend to spend too much time planning and researching instead of simply diving in. They hold themselves back from even getting started in the first place.
The solution to this is to just start. Wake up, and push yourself to keep going with that project. You can refine the finer details as you go, but just get started. Surprise yourself.
2. The Rule Followers
Rule followers are the ones that follow things to the letter, without ever deviating from that. You may be wondering how this is a fear archetype. The Rule Follower is just what it sounds like: you’re dedicated to adhering to clear definitions of what’s right and what’s wrong, even if it’s at the expense of your own success.
How do you solve this? Learnt to make the most of your instinctive sense of what’s right by recognizing and defining your own set of principles that “overrule” external sources. Don’t forget to practice a little self-compassion.
3. The People Pleaser
People-pleasing is an attribute that hits very close to home. The people who go out of their way to make sure they’re on everyone’s good books. Always remember that you can never, at any one point, achieve this. This fear archetype manifests as difficulty with boundaries or saying “no.”
You need to learn to prioritize yourself in order to deal with this fear archetype. One way to do this is to find a mentor, like “The Outcast” fear archetype to help you grow out of it.
4. The Outcast
There’s something admirable about people who choose to go against the norms. The non-conformists. However, this is another fear archetype. Why? Those with the Outcast archetype may appear to be fearless on the outside, but on the inside their biggest fear is rejection. Therefore, they often try to reject others first to avoid being hurt.
To deal with this, consider making your individualism work for you by pursuing a long-lost passion or seeking guidance from a mentor to create your own business endeavour.
5. The Self Doubter
A self-doubter battles with imposter syndrome. They don’t believe that they’re good enough, and it’s hard to convince them that they are. They feel insecure about what they do and are constantly second-guessing themselves.
Those who self-doubt are often the hardest workers. They put forth a lot of effort to overcome their fear of not being good enough. A good way to overcome self-doubt is to step outside of your comfort zone every once in a while and take note of the outcome. When you practice being proactive about your life, you’ll be surprised to see just how much you are capable of.
6. The Excuse Maker
Allow me to introduce you to the excuse maker. These people remind me of the common excuse – The dog ate my homework. They will find all sorts of ridiculous excuses to forfeit their dreams. They have difficulty taking responsibility for their life choices and goals. The excuse maker is afraid of being blamed or held responsible.
How can the excuse maker grow out of it? It seems counterintuitive, but they should encourage conflict. Psychologist Ruth Soukup says, “It’s important to hear other points of view, even when you don’t agree with them. Listening to the thoughts of someone who doesn’t agree with you forces you to solidify your own beliefs. Fighting to make things better will get you better results.”
7. The Pessimist
The energy of a pessimist can be draining. Those people have the ability to see the negative in almost every situation. Pessimists struggle most with a fear of adversity or pain. Hardships feel more like stop signs. Due to a past or current trauma, those who are the pessimist archetype often feel victimized, and sometimes rightly so. But Pessimists can tend to look at hardships as stop signs or a reason to give up.
If you identify as a pessimist, the next time something tough gets thrown your way, take a moment to step back and evaluate the situation. Think about the lesson this challenge might be teaching you, or how you can make the outcome more favourable.