5 Fixes for Your Fears by Steph Beth Nickel

5 Fixes for Your Fears

I can relate to the following five fears. Maybe you can too.

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

This is the reason my bookshelves are bowing under the weight of skills development and reference books and my inbox is bursting with countless links to the online courses I’ve purchased.

These materials are great—if we use them. I have to admit some of the items I purchase are outdated before I get around to reading them and implementing what I’ve learned. Not good!


  1. Narrow your focus. (If you have eclectic interests like I do, this can be a challenge.)
  2. Set aside regular time to learn something new that pertains to your chosen area.
  3. Make sure the information you’re learning is current and relevant.
  4. Implement what you’re learning.
  5. Impose a spending freeze until you’ve gotten a handle on steps 1-4.

Fear of Underachieving

One of my goals for 2017 was to publish 4-6 ebooks in my “Nurture and Inspire” series. That didn’t happen. In fact, I doubt if I’ll even get one ebook published, although I do know which one I want to send out into the world first.

Yes, I have been busy doing other things, but I had several hours I could have devoted to the process that I chose to spend doing other things (including binge watching Netflix, but we won’t talk about that).


  1. Create a realistic list of things you want to accomplish in a given time frame.
  2. Prioritize these things.
  3. Break them down into specific tasks you need to complete to accomplish your bigger goals.
  4. Set a specific deadline for each task.
  5. If you miss a deadline, don’t give up. Instead, rework your schedule.

Fear of Letting Others Down

I once heard a speaker say she always prayerfully considered what she would set aside if she wanted to add something new to her To Do list. Maybe one day I’ll do the same … maybe.

When someone asks you to take on something—especially something you’d enjoy and corresponds to your skill set—do you try to squeeze it into your already busy schedule?


  1. Humbly ask yourself it you’re really the best person for the job.
  2. Honestly evaluate your To Do list. Do you really have the time to add another responsibility?
  3. If you take on something new, will important things suffer? Time with family? Current commitments? Time to care for yourself? (And no, that isn’t selfish.)
  4. Decide what you’re willing to set aside in order to do what is being asked of you.
  5. Ask yourself if you will develop skills that will move you closer to your overarching life goals.

Fear of Failure

Joanna Penn was the first person I heard say we must each determine what success means to us. If we understand what success means to us, it makes it easier to define—and avoid—failure.

When we know our destination, it’s easier to determine the path we need to take to get there.


  1. Write out a personal definition of success. What would success look like in your life?
  2. Write out a step-by-step plan to reach your destination.
  3. Make a list of obstacles that stand in your way.
  4. Determine which obstacle is right in front of you and brainstorm ways to overcome it. Then implement your plan.
  5. Face each obstacle one by one and keep moving forward. (Sometimes our definition of success changes and sometimes life throws things at us we weren’t expecting. While it’s good to have a plan, remember there will be times you have to make adjustments along the way.)

Fear of Imperfection

Seeking to do the best we can is admirable. Seeking to develop our skills and implement what we’re learning is commendable. Seeking perfection … well, that can cause no end of troubles.

After all, who determines what is perfect? What one person loves another hates. What gets a five-star review from one gets a one-star review from another. What is spot on according to one expert is full of errors according to another.


  1. Prioritize the tasks before you.
  2. Determine what you need to learn to do better in each area, devoting the most time to the things at the top of the list.
  3. Set aside time to learn and implement new skills.
  4. Be willing to consider a task complete even if it isn’t perfect.
  5. Know when to say, “Good enough is good enough.”

What are some of your fears? What steps are you taking to overcome them?

Steph Beth Nickel is the coauthor of Paralympian Deborah L. Willows’ memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books. They are currently working on a follow-up book, Still Living Beyond My Circumstances. She is a producer at HopeStreamRadio and has contributed to InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Christmas Stories & More. You can connect with her on her Facebook. (Photo Credit: Stephen G. Woo)

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