Overcoming 10 Common Leadership Fears


Audio # 6 - The Fear of Not Measuring Up

Leadership Fear of Not Measuring Up

Every leader asks themselves, "Will I measure up?"

Today you’re going to learn about the Fear of Not Measuring Up. Let’s get clear about the definition of this fear. This fear has everything to do with your belief about what makes you feel significant.

When we feel significant, we feel alive. The Fear Of Not Measuring Up is simply being afraid of feeling insignificant.

Feelings are a moving target. Yet, most leaders compulsively pursue the feeling that comes with achievement. There’s always a superficial shell game of perfect logic, but what we’re really after is a feeling.

The Fear of Not Measuring Up turns your compulsion into an endless and desperate search for significance. The heroic business deal you landed yesterday lost it’s high in a few short weeks.

Small Signs This Fear Has A Grip On Your Leadership

The Fear of Not Measuring Up always has a grip on your life and your leadership. It exists in any leader at any time. This fear affects your daily self-talk. There’s a broken record looping in your head hundreds of times a day.

  • When you walk into a boardroom to make a presentation you consider, “Will I measure up?
  • At dinner with your investors and bankers you think, “Am I measuring up?
  • During a business deal you worked on for three years you whisper to yourself at the last minute, “Why am I here?

This self-talk contains signs of how the Fear of Not Measuring Up has a grip on your life. Why does negative self-talk make an appearance just when you are ready for a Breakthrough?

What Effect Does This Fear Have On Your Leadership?

Insecure Identity - You wonder if you are good enough. The Fear of Not Measuring Up remains alive to haunt you at the most vulnerable times. You worry about failing because any mistake would mean you were a failure as person.

Overcompensation - Have you ever realized after the fact that you had swatted a mosquito with a sledgehammer? In other words, maybe, just maybe you had overcompensated for something? Don't overcompensate to guarantee you’ll measure up.

Domination - Do you ever find yourself falling into dominating behavior so everyone will see things your way? Don't adopt the false belief that if you’re always right, you’ll always measure up.

Shifting From Mission – At any time, have you ever let fear insert itself ahead of your original, mission-driven purpose? Don't sabotage the mission just to avoid looking bad or not measuring up.

Let’s face it. No one wants to feel unworthy, incapable, useless, or ordinary. At the end of your month, or your year, or your life, not measuring up to other people’s expectations (or your own) is the greatest pain you can imagine. Everyone wants to feel significant. Some of us become driven by it if we’re not careful.

Spend The Time to Verify The Truth Versus False Reality

Invest the time to find out what’s driving you? Is it fear or faith? Has your fear become an unnecessary fate?

This might be blunt, but the reality is this: You have spent more time vetting the coffee shop you visit than you have spent verifying the assumptions you’ve made about your capabilities.

It doesn’t require adrenaline or ego to temporarily overcome the Fear of Not Measuring Up.

Ask yourself these questions…

  • What is my motivation behind what I’m doing right now?
  • Am I investing my time in the right things?
  • Am I spending most of my time where I can make my greatest contribution as a leader?

You can turn this Fear on its head. How? Here’s a hint about where to start: The Truth.

Know The Truth - The bible speaks clearly about addressing this very specific FEAR. “The Truth will set you free”. If you want to be free from this fear, it will start with the Truth.

Know The Truth About Who You Are - Study scriptures that explain the Truth about you you really are in Christ, and the Truth about who you were created to be (e.g., Ephesians 1). When you know your identity in Christ, you will find satisfaction and significance.

Know How To Bring Fear Into the Light of Truth - Once you have established this Truth in your life, the Fear of Not Measuring Up will have no place dark place left to hide. Fear cannot exist in the Light of biblical Truth.

For More on the Fear of Not Measuring Up: Greg shares his story about how the façade of invulnerability was running on the 9-volt battery of his search for significance in his book, Broken, How Being Broken Unlocked The Greatest Success of My Life.

View the complete Audio Library for the more in our series, 10 Common Leadership Fears


1. Verify whether your beliefs are reinforced by the Truth or solely on circumstances.

2. Observe your fear and question whether its the Truth with your conscious mind.

3. Refine your clarity about where your significance and satisfaction comes from.

I’d love to hear your comments on the Fear of Not Measuring Up.

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