the Terror Barrier
to Achieve Your Goals
How many times have you started a new project, reached for a
new goal, or set out to accomplish something big, only to abandon
the project or goal soon after starting? Why do people often start
out with grand aspirations, and then throw in the towel relatively
soon? In a word: Terror. In fact, the terror barrier is the number
one reason why people don’t achieve their goals.
Everyone has a comfort zone—a mental place where they feel
at peace. The problem is that if you stay in your comfort zone too
long, you don’t grow and achieve new things. All growth takes place
outside the comfort zone. But when most people step out of that
zone, they hit that phase when the “old ways” (aka: the comfortable
ways) try to get them back. That’s when they hit the terror barrier
and become frightened, procrastinate, make excuses, and do any
number of things to validate why they should give up and go back to
the way things were.
If you want to stretch yourself, set high goals, or learn new
skills, you must step up and get out of your comfort zone. Use the
following strategies to overcome the terror barrier you will face so
you can push through to your ultimate objectives.
1. Set goals that
are emotional to you:
Logical goals never
make anyone’s pulse increase. Yet many people set their goals very
mechanically, such as “Increase my sales by 10%.” Because people
don’t get excited about the goal, they’re not willing to push
through the extra mile to reach it. The key to creating emotional
goals is to start with visualization. Create a picture in your mind
of you achieving your end result. For example, if you want to
increase your sales, envision yourself at your company’s year-end
meeting, standing on stage and receiving the Salesperson of the Year
award. Hear the crowd applauding for you. Feel the pride of being
recognized as the best. That’s an emotional goal.
Next, write down the goal. But be careful. Don’t start
writing the individual action steps yet, as that actually stops
people from reaching goals. Too many people think they need to know
exactly what to do and how to do it before they can start toward
their goal. But if you spend too much time thinking of details and
action steps right now, you’ll get too scared to start. So just
decide on the goal; you can map it out along the way. Rather than
create action steps, write down ten reasons why you want the goal.
Why will it be worth it? You will need this list later when the
going gets tough.
2. Take notice of
how the terror barrier appears in your life:
When you are doing something new, how do you go off
track? Do you feel fear? Do you procrastinate? Do you worry? Do you
make excuses? Do you get distracted easily? For example, if your
goal is to increase sales, you may get sidetracked from making
prospecting calls because your desk is messy and you need to clean
it first (distraction).
Whatever gets you off track is simply an internal mechanism
to keep you in your comfort zone. But understanding this process and
how it manifests in your life is a fantastic source of energy. Now
you know why you are procrastinating, why you’re not sleeping well
at night, or why you feel fear. You know that it’s simply an
indication that you’re growing. Now you can recognize the sign and
can acknowledge that you’re at your terror barrier. This helps take
the pain out of it so you can continue to move forward. Remember
that the world is constantly changing. If you’re not moving forward,
then you’re falling behind.
3. Take action
toward your new goal:
feel, and be your new goal. Take both small and big steps toward
your destination. Map out your next steps as you go. The key is to
simply move in the right direction—you don’t have to get there all
Unfortunately, many people feel that they are successful only
when they reach the end goal. They don’t recognize the steps along
the way as successes, especially if an individual step did not turn
out the way they wanted. That’s why you need to redefine what
success is. It’s the process where you’re moving toward your goals.
Yes, you’ll have some bumps along the way and make some mistakes,
but those are important parts of learning. Your failures are
necessary in order for you to get the knowledge you need to push
4. Celebrate when
you hit the terror barrier:
Hitting the terror barrier simply means you are growing. Be happy that
you are widening your comfort zone and moving toward your goals.
This holds true for any worthwhile goal you want to achieve, you
have to live through some discomfort before you can get to the other
If you are an employer, understand that when you are asking
your people to step out and take on a new challenge, they will feel
fear. Therefore, have a plan ready of how you will support your team
so they have the confidence to move forward. And if you are an
employee, know that at some point you will face the terror barrier.
Find a co-worker or someone who can hold you accountable and help
you through it.
Know that repetition is the key to changing your habits and
reaching your goal: Keep on and push through! The more you
persevere and keep moving in the direction of your goal, the better
results you’ll achieve. When the going gets exceptionally rough,
refer to your initial list of ten reasons why you want the goal.
Read the reasons you outlined slowly so you can think about them and
envision them. Connect to the emotions of achieving the goal so you
Unfortunately, many business professionals are afraid of
failing. But failing is good; you simply have to decide whether you
want to fail forward or fail backward. In other words, either you
can fail, learn, and move on…or you can fail, get stuck, and give
up. The choice is yours. When you’re willing to work and take daily
action—despite any setbacks—you can fail forward and accomplish your
Freedom from the
Terror Barrier is Freedom to Achieve Your Goals:
If you don’t
feel like you’re hitting the terror barrier on a regular basis, then
realize you’re not growing and need to take some serious
action…right now. Celebrate the terror barrier, be grateful for the
opportunities available to you, and always have new goals in mind
that you can strive for. As humans, our natural tendency is to grow
and to want more out of life. Embrace that mindset as you press on.
When you acknowledge the terror barrier in your life and use it to
your benefit, you’ll have the ability to achieve any goal you set
for yourself and reach greater levels of success.
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