Follow Your Passion, But First …

Following our passion sounds wonderful, doesnít it? But before we can do that, our own particular crop of fears is bound to surface.

Here is a list of the six most common fears that keep us from pursuing our deepest dreams. Often they are deeply hidden and unconscious. Simply reading this list will help you to begin the process of facing your fears so you can truly follow your passion.

While most of us want to run from our fears, the paradox here is that only by going toward them can we move toward our passion. We are not asked to overcome or resolve our fears completely. Rather, we are asked to befriend them. Fear is a necessary ingredient to passion. Indeed, it is part of what keeps the fire hot.

Fears are inevitable as we claim our passion. We need to go toward them in order to uncover them, talk about them, and transform them with mentors, counselors, or trusted colleagues. We need to use them as part of the fuel that fires our passion.

Here is the list of fears:

1. Fear of disobeying an idealized father figure.

2. Fear of disobeying a patriarchal organization or culture.

3. Fear of betraying our mother who didnít follow her passion.

4. Fear of displeasing or threatening our lover or spouse.

5. Fear of the inner critic who tells you that you are worthless and canít follow your passion, that you donít have what it takes, that youíre not enough.

6. Fear of confronting the litany of excuses that blocks your real passion: fear of failure, disappointment, not enough money, not enough time, not enough staff, not enough …

Adapted from Enlightened Power, edited by Linda Coughlin, Ellen Wingard, and Keith Holliman (Jossey-Bass, 2005).


Ann W.
Ann W4 years ago

Mother who married an overgron child and leans onyou tomake up for it (money, bitching, time). That and fear of loss of financial secuirty. Twin apes.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola4 years ago

very intersting

Loo Samantha
Loo sam5 years ago


Patricia H.
Patricia H.5 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago


irene fernandez
irene Fernandez5 years ago

All true, but I think the most powerful one and the one who whispers the rest of them in our ear is the Inner Critic. If you can conquer the inner critic you can conquer the rest.

Abbe A.
Azaima A5 years ago


Carole R.
Carole R5 years ago

Thanks for the post.

Susan S.
Paul Stephan6 years ago

Wow--I think I have (have had) several of those at once!