D’ya know the 6 FEARS holding you back?


Last week, my CorporateCulturology blog topic was “Do you know your own WORTH?” In my post, I listed self-evaluating questions recommended by Napoleon Hill in his inspirational book Think and Grow Rich, based on Hill’s interviews of Andrew Carnegie and over 500 masterminds of his generation. One question begs further discussion: Have I permitted any one or more of the six basic fears to decrease my efficiency?


Fears you ask? We all have fears that affect or control us. According to Napoleon Hill and his mentors, the six basic fears that may control us are:

  1. The Fear of Poverty 
  2. The Fear of Criticism 
  3. The Fear of Ill Health 
  4. The Fear of Old Age 
  5. The Fear of Death 
  6. The Fear of the Loss of Love 

Uncovering which of these fears (may) affect you can free you. There are of course more fears than those above, but most others are considered minor compared to these life altering and controlling fears.

The biggest thing to know about fear is FEAR is simply a state of mind. Fear is the conscious mind trying to pull you back into your comfort zone. However, everyone knows you don’t learn or grow until you step out of your comfort zone. Fear often manifests itself as negative self talk. And negative begets negative.

One of the most important things you can do in your life is to learn how to control and overcome your fears and eliminate the negative talk. The best way to reverse negative self talk is to write down the negative beliefs, consider them from a practical view, assign it ‘logical’ or ‘illogical’ status, and dismiss it. Many people call this creating a CRAP board. Write down that crap and forget it!  But hang onto your list so you’re mind doesn’t forget about it or forget that it is CRAP. As Bridget Jones, while donning genuinely tiny knickers and sneakers in the snow, famously reminds us, “Everybody knows diaries are just full of crap.”  See there? Another Bridget Jones Diary reference! (PS. See my “This holiday season, don’t be Bridget Jones!” blog post.)

“Nature has endowed man with absolute control over but one thing, and that is thought.” Napoleon Hill

Fear of Poverty

The fear of poverty destroys initiative. It undermines your progress, promoting procrastination and allowing self-doubt and negative self talk to cloud your thoughts with clutter eliminating the focus which is required for success. It is the most destructive fear. Napoleon Hill shared the following symptoms of the fear of poverty;

  • Indifference or the lack of ambition and self-control is a willingness to tolerate poverty.
  • Indecision is a lack of discipline, imagination and focus.
  • Procrastination, related to indecision, is a refusal to accept responsibility to ACT and shows willingness to compromise.
  • Doubt shows up as excuses used to explain away our failures. (Fear of failure is really a fear of poverty at the core.)
  • Worry manifests as a tendency to spend beyond one’s income, neglect one’s appearance, alcohol or drug abuse, and lack of poise.

Fear of Criticism

The fear of criticism steals your initiative, erodes your power of imagination, and damages your self-reliance. Fear of criticism may have roots in early childhood by parents criticizing children. (Parenting tip – don’t criticize or make what could be self-fulfilling prophecies! Keep on the Sunny Side!)  Criticism creates fear or resentment but rarely love. But fear of criticism, due to our basic human need of wanting to belong, is a primal human characteristic.  We are tribal, after all. Symptoms include;

  • Self-consciousness expressed as low self-esteem or nervousness.
  • Lack of poise and indecision.
  • Inferiority complex acted out by showing off, putting others down, or bragging.
  • Extravagance or trying to buy acceptance.
  • No initiative or a failure to embrace opportunities.
  • Laziness or lack of ambition and scapegoating blame.

Fear of Ill Health, Old Age, and DEATH

Fear of ill health, fear of old age and fear of death are all related. At the core is the fear of losing one’s independence, both physical and economic freedom. Symptoms are when people say they need to slow down because of their age. Using excuses of being old kills initiative, imagination and self-reliance. And, you know this is CRAP! You’ve seen the memes countless times now. Colonel Sanders created Kentucky Fried Chicken at 65, Ray Kroc started McDonalds at 52, and Mary Kay Ash built Mary Kay at 45. Be bullish! Age gives the gift of experience! (I’m not just saying this because there is an AARP card with my name on it coming soon!)


The Fear of the Loss of Love

The fear of the loss of love creates jealousy, fault-finding, risk-taking or gambling, nervousness, weak self-control, or a lack of self-reliance.  Napoleon Hill theorizes this is as old as cave man days when men competed for mates. I propose this fear may be partially responsible for fewer women in leadership roles. The fear of the loss of love manifested as a desire by women to be liked and not rock the boat – something often required in leadership roles. (Hmm, maybe there is a study on this out there!? If you know it, share it!)

Regardless of the flavor of fear, all create destructive thinking. All break down focus, motivation and ambition. All result in crippling inaction. However, one weakness trumps all these fears, “Without doubt, the most common weakness of all human beings is the habit of leaving their minds open to the negative influence of other people.”

Any comments you would care to share?

If you like my writing here, please check out my blog CorporateCulturology.com. I welcome your comments and advice for future topics.

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Lesley Davidson


Do You Know Your Own WORTH?


One of my favorite motivational books is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I first read this book in the early 1990’s as a college student eager to apply its advice. Think and Grow Rich is one of the most influential books about financial independence and personal achievement. It was written by Napoleon Hill, inspired by Andrew Carnegie who allowed Napoleon Hill to interview him and teach Carnegie’s secret of personal achievement. Napoleon Hill went on to interview another 500 wealthy men and summarize their thoughts on how they became successful men.

Carnegie, via Napoleon Hill, advises you to take inventory of yourself yearly. The yearly recognition of where you are with your faults and virtues (also known as your bad habits or skills!!!) helps guide you toward your goals, allowing you to make adjustments on your course. It is important to do this at the end of the year to include in your New Year’s resolutions. How do you take stock of yourself? For starters, you ask yourself questions.

Taking Stock Questions!

Here are some questions that Napoleon Hill suggests you ask yourself as you take stock:

  • Have I done the best I could possibly do this year?
  • Have I reached the goals of my objective for this year?
  • Have I been persistent following my plans through to completion?
  • Have I had focus and reached decisions definitively on all occasions?
  • Have I procrastinated or wasted time?
  • Have I been over cautious or under cautious?
  • Have my decisions been based on guesses or analysis?
  • Have I improved my personality and in what ways?
  • Has my spirit been harmonious and cooperative this year?
  • Has my relationship with my associates been pleasant? With my family?
  • Have I been guilty of any conduct which was not approved by my conscious?
  • Have I been open-minded and tolerant or been unfair to anyone?
  • Have I wasted energy with lack of focus?
  • Have I improved my abilities?
  • Have I followed a budget for my time and expenses?
  • Have I permitted any one or more of the six basic fears to decrease my efficiency?

And most important,

  • Am I following my dreams or am I in the wrong vocation?

Any one of these questions can give you a starter point to fine tune and redirect your course toward your goals.  If you aren’t passionate about your vocation, it is time for a big gut check. You will never be as successful (or happy, take my advice!) in something you are not as interested in as you will be when you are pursing your dream. It is hard to take step after step toward a goal if your heart is not in it.  Getting to the top, like me at Choquequirao (Peru) in the picture, is tough work…stay on course!

Do you have any questions on how to make, break down, and strategize your goals for success?  Any examples you would care to share? 

If you like my writing here, please check out my blog CorporateCulturology.com. I welcome your comments and advice for future topics.

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Writer’s Block and Mind Mapping


Yes, I have been on vacation and playing hookey from my blog. Then, when I was ready to write my blog post – nothing came out. Try as I might, the font was dry.

Fortunately, I know a few tricks to conquer writer’s block and build creativity. One such idea is Mind Mapping.  With Mind Mapping, a brainstorming technique, you create diagrams of relationships between ideas, problems or concepts. Mind Mapping can improve brainstorming and learning success up to 15%. This is undoubtedly because you form data links and create neural connections which increase the brain’s ability to recall information, enhancing learning and retention of information.

Mind Mapping begins with selecting a central idea or theme.  New, related ideas are connected from the central idea in branches.  Subtopics can, in turn, branch further. Embellishing with color and pictures, as mnemonic devices, will improve the efficacy and memory retention.

Mind Mapping works best in team environments where ideas are tossed out quickly without discussion or vetting. The goal is to get as many ideas down without judgment. This allows for creative thinking ‘outside the box.’ Not all ideas will be practical or possible, but they allow for creative ‘what-if’ thinking that may lead to a breakthrough. If, after completion of a Mind Map, there is no breakthrough, select a subtopic and start anew with it as your new central node, essentially going down a rabbit’s hole.

Mind Mapping Characteristics

  • The subject is the central node.
  • Themes radiate from the central node.
  • The branches comprise a key word or image associated to the central node.
  • Subtopics can radiate off the relevant themes.
  • The branches form a connected nodal structure.

There are a number of consultanat, software packages and websites that allow the creation of, or otherwise support Mind Maps. Or, you can pull out your Crayola crayons and go old school. Whichever technology level you use, you are sure to see the problem in a new way.

What creative ideas do you use to brainstorm?  I welcome your comments and advice for future topics.


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Writer’s Block…it hits the best of us! So, while I recover from my temporary mind block, I will share one of my favorite poems. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.