Three Toxic Fears That Are Killing Your Odds of Becoming a Thought Leader, Episode 86

There are three toxic fears that are ruining your odds of becoming a thought leader or authority in your field – the fear of judgment, the fear of being found out, otherwise known as imposter syndrome, and the fear that you won’t be able to do anything big due to anxiety. 

This episode is specifically for someone who could use more courage to create authentic content to connect with power players who may feel out of your league for now, and also folks who want to communicate their message – the message on your heart with a dose of realness. 

These three fears are going to sabotage your most well-intentioned efforts, especially when it comes to doing anything that might currently feel outside of your comfort zone. They can cripple even the most well intentioned, aspiring thought leader like yourself, from putting yourself out there. 

Whether you want to deliver a TEDx talk, or get in front of camera and do a video on Instagram, or maybe write a LinkedIn article that really showcases your expertise – all of this can be petrifying if you don’t know how to overcome those three toxic fears.

If you don’t know how to overcome these fears, you will totally stop yourself from even showing up as an authority in your field. Then the odds of you doing what you want to do to become a thought leader will cease to exist. Or worse, you’ll be putting out there a diluted form of your authentic self. So let’s dig into why these three fears exist and how you can work around them to start putting yourself out there faster and more authentically. 

I have personally coached so many people who had every single right under the sun to call themselves an authority in their fields. These are people who have brought decades of personal or professional experiences to the table. Yet even they didn’t dare to put themselves out there until they got with me, and because they had these persistent and nagging thoughts.

If you continue to wait for someone else to say you’re an authority in your field, then you’re ultimately putting your destiny in someone else’s hands. Ultimately, these three fears can be overcome if you’re using the right processes to rebuild your courage muscles, one that includes a bit of faith in your own ability to harness the power of your imagination to generate the bravery you need to extinguish those three fears. 

Share this with someone who has a message to share with the world but is struggling with these fears so they can finally move from feeling powerless to feeling powerful, and be the change they want to create in this world.


Limiting belief: It’s a thought or belief, or worse, a conviction that you might even confuse as a proven fact that gets in the way of living life on your terms. 

Courage: My coaching program called Courage Makerspace(™) is centered on helping aspiring thought leaders who need to overcome their fears so they can have the courage to connect, communicate and create something incredible.

Challenge: The hardest piece of the puzzle to find and put in its place is being able to identify the precise limiting belief that is holding you back. 

Barrier: If you are using your finite energy to battle limiting beliefs instead of applying that energy to pursue your dream of becoming a thought leader, that is a huge impediment. 

Self-awareness: When you have those doubts about how others think about what you do, self-awareness is key. 

Acceptance: Would you rather just accept that you’re going to be judged or focus your energy on battling with judgment from other people? Instead, focus your energy on taking steps forward towards becoming a thought leader. 

Personal experience: If you have experiences that would add value to a particular space, don’t discount the personal experiences that might completely outweigh the professional experiences of anyone in that field. 

Imposter syndrome: Find it within yourself to move forward even if you don’t feel like you’re totally qualified as a thought leader yet. 

Trust: People wait for something before they think they’re qualified enough to start calling themselves thought leaders. But you need to learn how to trust yourself again.

Cognitive dissonance: You can’t continue to wait until you feel like you are as qualified and influential before you can start rubbing elbows with people in your circles.

Change: Be aware and catch yourself every time you feel like an imposter and you hesitate to make a move in the right direction. Change your relationship with your limiting beliefs and take a second look at your excuses.

Anxiety: Change your relationship with anxiety and change the amount of trust that you have in your own ability to work through whatever anxiety pops up. 

Impact: This is not just about you, but the people you want to help. Anxiety is not going anywhere. It’s not disappearing. So make it work for you. 

Want to be a COURAGEOUS thought leader?

If you intend to become a thought leader and have the courage to communicate your message with precision, book an appointment with me in the next 24 hours. We’re going to assess where you are on this confidence journey, then we’re going to put our heads together and come up with a step-by-step game plan to define how you can rebuild your courage when you need it. Book this free session by going to

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Want to continue the conversation?

Find me on Instagram! You can read my daily mini-blogs centered on the same three topics that my podcast features: creativity, courage, and curiosity. I believe that without all three it would be impossible to solve the challenges we were each uniquely made to solve. Wouldn’t you agree? I’m easy to find on Instagram @melissallarena

Rather keep it professional?

Let’s connect on LinkedIn. I encourage every single podcast listener to connect with me.

About Melissa Llarena

Melissa brings a makerspace mindset that is laser-focused on creatively making space for courage for those with a big message to share with the world. A makerspace is a collaborative workspace with very different tools meant for making things fueled by active imaginations. In a makerspace, the goal is to inspire new creations. In Melissa’s program called Courage Makerspace ™ we are making space for courage in your daily life so that you can become an incredible thought leader who has the courage to connect, communicate, and create something incredible that will have an impact on the world. 

What makes Courage Makerspace™ different is that it uniquely brings an interdisciplinary and creative approach to high-performance coaching. This online program is based on psychological principles, the art of storytelling, and incorporates proprietary experiential tools that harness the power of our imagination. Melissa has infused proven strategies and insights that have empowered clients around the world.  Her background includes a psychology degree from NYU, an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and she holds a Transformational Coaching Academy certificate based on Tony Robbins principles and Landmark Education insights. She is a native New Yorker who has lived/worked in Paris as well as London, and courageously relocated to Sydney, Australia with her family.

Catch her Tuesdays for a new episode of An Interview With Melissa Llarena, where she brings the world’s most creative, curious, and courageous entrepreneurs to your earbuds.

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa Llarena is an author, imagination coach, consultant, speaker, and contributor to ForbesWomen articles that have garnered 4 million + views. She is also the host of Unimaginable Wellness, the podcast for entrepreneurs, founders, and creators who are also moms. Featured guests include GaryVee and Beth Comstock. Melissa holds a psychology degree from New York University, an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and a Transformational Coaching Academy certificate. She is training to become a meditation practitioner. Melissa lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three sons. Visit

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