The Fear List [or Why I Cannot Truly Have a Voice]

In the many years of being in management and training environments, I’ve culled a list of fears that I bring up in my leadership development and train-the-trainer classes. I start off with the question on “How do you create a safe [learning, work, etc] environment?” The answers are varied and almost always agree that the landscape can be tough. There are many fears involved…

The Fear List
Fear of reprisal.
Fear of peer pressure.
Fear of judgment.
Fear of being thought of as an idiot.
Fear of being challenged.
Fear of being ostracized.
Fear of being laughed at.
Fear of embarrasing people I love.
Fear of inability to move up in my career.
Fear of saying or doing anything that will offend because truly I’m a good person and saying something will make me feel like I’m the negative one.
Fear of becoming a punch line.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of losing respect.
Fear of losing credibility.
Fear of being told to leave the room.
Fear of being fired.
Fear of being wrong.
Fear of being labeled as the complainer.
Fear of leaving behind a trail of confrontations as a legacy.
Fear of the unknown result from having a voice.
Fear of losing my status in the environment.
Fear of being seen as betraying trust.
Fear of questioning beliefs inculcated to me through these years.
Fear of finding out my true self.
Fear of what I may become.
Fear of not knowing what to do next; whether positive or negative action so inaction is taken instead.
Fear of success.
Fear of love loss, losing love, inability to find love, being perceived as unlovable.

These (and possibly more) are the challenges faced by leaders, teachers, therapists, family, parents, and true friends when one tries to find their voice. I have heard these placates:

Not everyone has the courage to speak up.
Not everyone has the abilty to be find their voice.
Not everyone can question.
Not everyone uses critical thinking.

These (and possibly more) are the barriers. The No’s, I Can’t’s, But’s… Is there a solution? I know of a starting point: Awareness. People in positions of power, guidance, facilitation, friendship and familial ties all have a say.

As teachers we verbalize that the classroom environment is a safe haven of thought and dialogue; dialogue that sometimes challenges, confuses, contradicts, confront, compound, collide .. everyone has a voice.

As managers, we verbalize in meetings that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and their opinions will be weighed along with everyone else’s (or something to that effect).

But do we follow through? Awareness means that we will be conscious of our own reactions (verbal or otherwise) so that when we hear, see, feel something out of our norm, we don’t freak out, we don’t judge, we don’t frown, we don’t react to the point of providing fodder for fear to set in. Otherwise that safe environment loses its value and words of calm become meaningless.

I posted this today as a result of a discussion I had with a colleague on an AP news item this morning regarding an Alabama City considering to reinstate Prohibition. The discussion after reading the article started with “Really? WHY?!” “What is the reasoning behind this?” And many other queries. We ended with me saying “Maybe its because they are fearful of saying anything” thus cascading into a discussion on fear and its negating effect on morale, performance, stamina, belief systems.

Do you have fears that prevent you from having a voice? Post them here and solutions (if you’ve found ’em) as well ~

4 comments to The Fear List [or Why I Cannot Truly Have a Voice]

  • Your article is an informational piece written in clear-cut language that is virtually impossible to misunderstand. Thank you for your input into this subject matter.

  • Thank you Mel and thanks for reminding me of Pricilla’s request which I am posting today. Best of luck ~

  • Mel

    On Topic…….
    You forgot the Grandaddy of all fears: the fear of being found out that you are actually a phony (not you….in general.)

    Off topic…………
    I believe that by just being a part of “Priscilla Palmer’s Personal Development list” suggests that each of us post this list. You like me (Killeris at “Attitude, the Ultimate Power”) are on this list. If you have already posted it, THANK YOU. If you have not posted it, I am officially putting out a challenge that you add additional sites that fit the theme and post the entire list. This is my opinion only. If you disagree I respectfully understand. If you do agree with me this list can be found at:

  • This makes me recall that whoever controls the education also controls the norm or the status quo. In that sense, educators and trainers can either perpetuate factors that promote and maintain fear, or they can challenge them and therein teach others to do the same.