How to Identify the Fear That is Keeping You Stuck (So That You Can Finally Break Free)

We’re all scared of something, right?

I, for one, am terrified of heights. I also cannot stand snakes, am completely paranoid about bedbugs and lice, and have recurring nightmares about tsunamis, of all things.

But those types of phobias are not actually the kind of fear I’m talking about.

No, the type of fear I’m talking about is the fear that holds us back in life—the fear that keeps us stuck, keeps us from stepping outside of our comfort zone and trying new things, and prevents us from wholeheartedly pursuing our biggest goals and dreams.

That’s the kind of fear that I look at in my book, Do It Scared, and it is the kind of fear that inspired me to dig deeper and commission an entire research study, during which we surveyed more than 4,000 people on the role of fear in their lives. (You may have even been one of them!)

What my research team and I learned was pretty fascinating.

You see, as it turns out, not all fear is created equal. In fact, what we learned is that there are seven very unique and distinct ways that fear manifests itself in our lives and holds us back from going after our goals and dreams—something we call the seven Fear Archetypes™.

But what we also learned is that once you have a better understanding of your own Fear Archetype and the way fear is playing out in your life, you are also better equipped to overcome it. In other words?

 Identifying your fear is the first step to conquering it!

And while the book goes far more in depth into all seven of these Fear Archetypes, here is a brief overview of each archetype, as well as the underlying fear associated with each one:

The PROCRASTINATOR Fear Archetype™- What is your top fear?


  • Primary fear: Struggles most with the fear of making a mistake, which often manifests itself as perfectionism or the fear of commitment
  • Negative traits: Likes things to be “right” and spends too much time researching and planning; has trouble both getting started and feeling like things are finished
  • Positive attributes: Produces high-quality work; is usually well organized and pays great attention to detail.


  • Primary fear: Struggles most with an outsized fear of authority, which often manifests itself as an irrational aversion to breaking the rules or doing something that is perceived as “not allowed”
  • Negative traits: Gets nervous about not doing something the way it is supposed to be done; may adhere to a rule or the status quo at the expense of own judgment
  • Positive attributes: Is extremely trustworthy and responsible; possesses a strong sense of duty and right and wrong


  • Primary fear: Struggles most with the fear of being judged, which also manifests itself as the fear of letting people down and the fear of what other people might say
  • Negative traits: Has trouble saying no and struggles to set boundaries; can be hesitant to take action, fearing what others may think
  • Positive attributes: Tends to be well liked and fun to be around; is thoughtful, considerate, and generous; a great team player

Are you an outcast? Find out what your top fear is here-


  • Primary fear: Struggles most with the fear of rejection, or a fear of trusting other people—a fear that often manifests itself by rejecting others before one has a chance to be rejected
  • Negative traits: May outwardly appear to be fearless or unfazed by what others think; sometimes struggles as part of a team and may seek out risky or self-destructive behavior
  • Positive attributes: Is self-motivated and driven to succeed; tends to be persistent, willing to take risks, and not easily discouraged by failure


  • Primary fear: Struggles most with the fear of not being capable, which often manifests itself as deep feelings of insecurity and the fear of not being good enough
  • Negative traits: Feels paralyzed by insecurity and therefore stuck; often critical of others as a way to mask insecurity
  • Positive attributes: Is a very hard worker who will go above and beyond to do a good job; can be kind, empathetic, humble, and a good listener


  • Primary fear: Struggles most with the fear of taking responsibility, which can manifest itself as the fear of being held accountable, or the fear of being blamed
  • Negative traits: Often makes excuses instead of progress; can be hesitant to lead or take charge, preferring others to make decisions
  • Positive attributes: Is a good team player and an excellent cheerleader; can be a keen observer who learns from others’ successes and mistakes

Or are you a PESSIMIST? Find out what your fear archetype is here-


  • Primary fear: Struggles most with the fear of adversity, which can manifest itself as the fear of experiencing hardships and difficulties, or the fear of pain
  • Negative traits: Feels powerless to change circumstances; tends to see hardships as stop signs, rather than stepping stones
  • Positive attributes: Is sensitive and big-hearted; tends to be caring and compassionate and is often a good listener

So what do you do with this information? And why does it matter?

It matters because it is only once we identify the type of fear that’s negatively impacting our life, holding us back, or keeping us stuck, we can actually do something about it. We can’t fix something without first knowing what the problem is. Without a diagnosis, there can be no cure.

But once you do know where fear is holding you back, once you’ve started to identify those patterns in your life, you can also start to take action–exactly what my new book, Do It Scared, is designed to help you do.

However, in the meantime, if you would like to discover your own Fear Archetype, I highly recommend taking our fear assessment™ HERE.

The free version of the assessment will reveal your top archetype, which is a great starting point for identifying the way fear is manifesting in your life. Or, for a limited time, you can get access to our premium report (a $15 cost).

Our premium report will give you a lot more insight into your top three Fear Archetypes, including how they interact—and what you can do about them. The premium report also shows the overall impact fear is having in your life, as well as your overall score for all seven archetypes. ORDER YOUR BOOK HERE

The truth is, fear can hold us back in life. But did you know that not all fear is created equal? Don't miss these 7 unique & distinct ways that fear manifests itself in our lives and holds us back—something we call the 7 Fear Archetypes. Learn how to name your fear and then conquer it once and for all! #doitscared #motivation #inspiration

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  1. I got the excuse maker in the assessment, but I feel I’m all of them! Fear and limiting beliefs attack me in all sorts of ways… which, on the other hand, should be an indicator that what I want to do is really important.

  2. HI, I got to your blog from a Buzzfeed blog about mom bloggers. As another mom that blogs I thought I would jump over here to show support. I hope that the article gives all the blogs mentioned more traffic. 🙂 I already follow you. Keep up the great work.

  3. My #1 was procrastinator, which definitely rings true. I’d never thought of myself in that way before, but I do put things off until they are perfect, so that makes sense, and it’s been very, very helpful for me to be able to finally recognize that!
    My #2 was outcast, which partly fits and partly doesn’t. I do have a big fear of not fitting in, and I do come off as more fearless and unfazed than I really am. The two things that don’t fit are: 1. I actually am a really good team player. 2. I am very scared of, and discouraged by, failure.
    Great insights, Ruth!

  4. I’m really enjoying the first look at the book as part of the launch team. It’s super interesting to be part of the Do It Scared membership community.

    In my assessment, the overall archetype was Excuse-Maker, but ever since then, I’ve been working on stopping that part of personality and taking more responsibility. I basically look at it as a huge part of the #doitscared movement.

    Thank you for writing this book!

  5. The “people pleaser” for me was spot on. I have a hard time setting boundaries, love to over achieve and I’m a major empath. The more traffic my blog and YouTube channel get, the more I get fear of others’ reactions for something I might post. I have a few great challenges last week that made me think through some of this. I got a nasty comment from someone who misinterpreted something I said. Luckily, my followers were on top of it and affirmed me and the work I’m doing. Additionally, I was going to offer a coaching program for free as a trial, but MY coach said… no way! It was a great opportunity to charge what I’m worth, and face the feedback that would come.

  6. This is an awesome post. I am a self-proclaimed “fraidy cat”! Each and everyday I work to overcome my fears to create my best life. This helps people get to the bottom of their fears to overcome them. Love it. Thanks for sharing, Ruth!

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