Seven fears that immobilise leaders

Human behaviourist Dr John Demartini discusses how to break through the seven most common fears and guilts that stop us reaching our full potential.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

There are seven areas of life we are here to master: spiritual, mental, vocational, financial, familial, social and physical. These areas can either be powerfully supportive of your genius, or they can impede it. There are also seven common fears and guilts that fragment our full potential in each of these areas. The only difference between somebody who does what they love and someone who doesn’t, is that the former can identify their fears and has a strategy to break through them.

The first fear is the spiritual fear of breaking the ethics of some perceived authority. Morals are the rules we impose on ourselves, and ethics are the rules that others impose on us. Many people fear that others may not approve of them if they do what they love and express their genius – so they don’t.

The second fear is the mental fear of not knowing enough. In fact, you already have the capacity to do whatever you dream of doing. You attract opportunities according to your level of knowing, and as you know more, you’ll grow. Love yourself even when you don’t know as much as you would like to, and you’ll liberate yourself to learn.

The third fear is the vocational fear of failure. Have you ever failed to reach a goal you set yourself? Of course you have. But you’ve also succeeded many times. You’ll succeed and fail equally and constantly throughout life, so it’s important to embrace both equally.

The fourth fear is the fear of financial poverty; the fear that you won’t make enough money from doing what you love. However, if you love something and are committed to doing whatever it takes to succeed, if you value money highly, and if you follow the financial laws of success and saving, you can certainly build wealth doing what you love.

The fifth fear is the fear of losing your loved ones if you follow your heart. I think that what made my marriage stable was the fact that we didn’t so much need each other as love each other. There’s a big difference. We both had a life outside of each other, and if either of us had decided to leave, the other would still have been able to function.

The sixth fear, the fear of social rejection, is a big one. The truth is, acceptance and rejection will occur throughout your life, and the more extraordinary you become, the more you’ll experience both. Learn to appreciate both equally. People come and go, they’re transient, but you’re with yourself for the whole trip. It’s your life. Never sacrifice the eternal for the transient.

The seventh and final fear is the fear of ill health, death or disease. Ironically, though, the greatest cause of illness, disease, and death is not living your dreams. Inspiration and gratitude heal and empower, and if you’re not doing what you love, you’ll feel ungrateful and desperate.

There will always be fear in your life; it means you’re growing and challenging yourself beyond your comfort zone. You will either break through or break down in all seven areas of life. If you break down, you’re listening to your fearful self; if you break through, you’ve listened to your immortal self.

I have fears almost every day, but I know that fear is an incomplete view of what is happening. My approach is to identify the fear, bring it to completion and balance, and then walk through it. I suggest you do the same.

Dr. John Demartini is a human behaviour specialist, educator, author and the founder of the Demartini Institute. To read more about Dr Demartini’s teachings, visit