What is Holding You Back?

Last weekend, I taught at a writing conference. The fact that I was teaching doesn’t mean I wasn’t also listening, learning, and gaining valuable inspiration. One message that came through repeatedly, and clearly, was to move forward, to take the information obtained, do the work, and, as one speaker said, “Just get on with it.”

Yet, often, some deterrent looms in our path, an obstacle that we allow to thwart forward motion. So, what is holding you back? Following are a few possibilities:


In some ways, fear serves a valuable purpose in our lives, to warn of danger and protect us from making foolhardy decisions. But often, the negative aspects of fear take over. Fear is an ever-present nemesis that paralyzes, causes us to question and over-think decisions, and delay taking action. Usually, the component that holds us back is fear of failure. In the writing world, fear of rejection runs a close second.

Early in my writing journey, a wise professional said, “Take a risk. Send that query or proposal. The worst that can happen is a “no, thank you” from one person at that moment in time. But a no for now is not forever.”

Moving beyond fear involves risk. Some people are wired to be risk-takers, but for those who aren’t, risk is tough because it has the potential to expose vulnerabilities. However, don’t allow fear to prevent you from grasping opportunities and stepping through doors that swing wide before you. Failing to risk robs you of rewards.


Perfectionism is the bane of forward motion. Perfectionism causes us to what-if, re-think, re-do, and procrastinate. Instead of getting mired in details, and spending too much time investigating, researching, and gathering information, force yourself to think more globally and take some simple, practical steps that help you advance. Perfectionists spend too much time preparing and not enough time doing.


Have you ever felt confident about your appearance and capabilities, and then walked into a meeting or event and suddenly felt dowdy, unprepared, and ill-at-ease when you saw someone you immediately deemed better? That’s what comparisons do. Comparisons shift your focus sideways instead of ahead and fill you with self-doubt.

Comparing yourself to others ensures hesitation and cessation. Don’t allow comparisons to change your ideas, dreams, goals, and perspective. Your uniqueness is one of your greatest assets.


The COVID-19 pandemic moved uncertainty to a new level. What was predictable, everyday, and certain, gave way to inconsistent, unusual, and unsettled. Ultimately, uncertainty and unusual circumstances had an impact on everything about our lives. Effort is required to banish the effects of uncertainty and gain momentum.

None of us know what is coming next, but don’t let the uncertainness of last year cling to you and inhibit moving forward. Trust God for protection, provision, inspiration, and vision as you shake off the shackles that hold you back and take the next steps forward.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include While You Wait: 7 Simple Truths for Seasons of Waiting (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

To receive Candy’s blog, Forward Motion, via email, go to https://candyarrington.com/blog/ and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up.




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