How to stop fear from holding you back from success

WHAT’S your biggest goal, and why haven’t you accomplished it yet? What’s the goal you want to achieve in the next six months? Why are you falling short of the life you imagined for yourself?

These are the tough questions fired at the crowd by self-help phenomenon Tony Robbins at his Unleash The Power Within four-day seminar.

It’s a mostly air-punching, “yes” shouting, dance-like-nobody’s-watching type event. Jumping up and down like a teenager at a One Direction concert might feel uncomfortable at first, but, as the woman seated next to me said, “You’ve just got to embrace it.” His infectious enthusiasm and stirring speeches are guaranteed to fill you with an insane amount of self-confidence by the end of day one. By day four, you’ll feel motivated to start taking the necessary steps to live the life of your dreams.

But it also asks you the hard, intimate questions. It asks you to be honest with yourself and identify what’s really holding you back. And it’s not just about being honest, it's about being brutally honest, as Robbins booms from the stage.

For most people, the answer is simple - fear. In our professional lives, we often judge our work as not being good enough or finished. For achievers, fear manifests as perfectionism, stress or imposter syndrome. We fear people won’t like our work or we’re scared it won’t work out. In our relationships, fear takes the form of rejection and emotional pain.

Fear is a central theme of Unleash The Power Within. Robbins says fear itself isn’t the problem - indeed it’s necessary to the human condition - but fear shouldn’t prevent us from making the crucial leap between what we want to do and actually doing it.

“I don’t have to get rid of the fear,” Robbins told the 8000-strong crowd at Sydney Olympic Park. “I dance with it. If you’re going to succeed at the highest level, you’ve got to face your fears.”

And, as Robbins teaches, our fears can be used as a motivator rather than an excuse. Fear of missing out, of having life pass you by, or settling is perhaps the biggest motivator to achieve what you really want in life. As taught at Unleash The Power Within, here are five steps you can use as the ultimate motivator to achieve your goals.


Bulldoze that self-imposed prison of fear with this psychological trick. In your mind, think about achieving your goal as a “must” rather than a “should”. Say goodbye to wishy-washy somedays and maybes. If you think about achieving your goal as a “must”, nothing else should matter. Once you feel your goal is essential to the fulfilment of your life, you’ll do whatever it takes until you reach that goal. The fear of not achieving your goal will eclipse the fear of failure.


Excuses are fear’s greatest ally. You’re too tired, too stressed, too poor … the list could go on forever. Humans are good at identifying a roadblock and hiding behind it. As Robbins teaches, making excuses is often a lot easier than opening yourself up to vulnerability or failure. The trick is to identify these excuses and counterattack these with strategies to help quieten that little voice telling you “no”.


Conquering fear isn’t easy, and there are bound to be trials and tribulations along the way. Developing a “growth mindset” will prepare your mind for the expected setbacks and disappointments you’re bound to come across on your path to success.

“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you’re still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying,” Robbins says.

According to Robbins, if you’re not progressing, you’re actually “dying”. The key is to keep moving forward towards your goal. Progress is the key to happiness.


Unleash The Power Within draws people from all walks of life, and at all stages in their life. The audience is made up of everyone from CEOs to stay-at-home parents, teenagers to grandparents. While everyone boasts different backgrounds and strengths, you quickly learn everyone experiences hardships. It’s an inescapable part of being human. Robbins teaches the art of accepting pain, so it doesn’t control your life. The key is to learn from pain and grow from past mistakes.


The fear of failure is perhaps the most significant barrier to fulfilment. Accepting failure as the inevitable part of life is crucial to reaching your goals. Robbins says successful people all have one thing in common: They don’t let fear suck the life out of their dreams. They know settling or compromising is a far more significant failure.

"Get on your feet, motion equals emotion!"

Unleash The Power Within is a transformative event. It’s not a comfortable experience, and it doesn’t pretend to be. The days are long (some days conclude at midnight) and the energy is constantly amped to the max.

“Get on your feet,” Robbins constantly encourages the audience. “Motion equals emotion!”

And it works. Bouncing from foot to foot, feeling the energy of the stadium crowd swell around you really does up your mood and energy.

At other times throughout the four-day program, you might find yourself breaking down, shouting with joy or grinning like a little kid. You’ll rub shoulders with small CEOs and business owners and Olympic gold medalists and parents.

Acknowledging the things holding us back is a lot harder than it sounds. Intellectually, we know honesty is the best policy. Acknowledging those things holding us back from success is a lot harder said than done.

But, boy, is it freeing.

For me, it required addressing the fear of what other people think of my work. The fear of rejection - in the workplace or our personal lives - has a paralytic effect. Since attending Unleash The Power Within, I’ve asked anyone who has the time to share their feedback and advice on how to improve my work. I operate, now, with the acceptance that imperfection and failure sets a foundation for more growth. Before attending Robbins’ seminar, I wouldn’t have put myself in a situation of potential rejection. There’s something altogether liberating in opening yourself up to rejection when you’re prepared for it.

Once you’ve identified those debilitating fears, the next step is recognising “musts” in your life, banishing the excuses you use, developing a growth mindset, learning from pain and knowing failure is a necessary part of any journey. Facing your fears and welcoming failure, not running from it, is part of unleashing the power from within.

After walking on fire at Tony Robbins' UPW and learning how to finally smash any fears or obstacles in your way, you'll start creating the life you should be leading.