What’s Stopping You? Why Smart People Don’t Always Reach Their Potential and How You Can

Posted December 1, 2011 in Self-Insight, What We're Reading

By: Robert Kelsey

Reviewed by: Glain Roberts-McCabe

The Premise: Robert Kelsey is a former banker and financial journalist who found himself on a career path that felt like it was careening out of control. What’s Stopping You? essentially documents his personal journey into examining his own fear of failure and the techniques he discovered to help him overcome it. Kelsey asserts that, for people constrained by a deep fear of failure, the only way to move beyond it is to get to the root cause of their insecurities, accept who they are, and stop trying to be someone they’re not. The book combines Kelsey’s personal experience with mountains of references and research to provide readers (who he classifies as high FFs – high fear of failures) with tools to begin the journey of overcoming what’s holding them back both personally and professionally.

The Bottom Line: I found this book read like a Master’s thesis. There were so many references to research studies, experts and other sources that I almost wanted to provide Kelsey with a grade at the end of each chapter for appropriate source acknowledging. I certainly enjoyed reading his candid and honest description of his own career anxiety and definitely agree that many mainstream “self-help” books that tout “positive thinking” just don’t work for everyone. In that respect, Kelsey’s book is a great addition. If you can wade through the academia and his writing style (which I found to be very confusing in many places), you’ll find some very solid suggestions on how to start to process negative thought patterns and get a handle on any fears that may be holding you back. This definitely wasn’t an “easy” read for me because of the author’s style. That being said, if you’re waking up every day hoping that today isn’t the day that your employer figures out that you don’t have a clue what you’re doing (even though you have a successful 20 year career track record)… well, this might be a good investment of a few hours of your time. Imposter syndrome isn’t something that you need to live with. This book might help you wrestle it to the ground.

Roundtable Rating: A good resource for anyone feeling paralyzed by fear of failure and who doesn’t buy into Anthony Robbins et al.

Check out the book and author here.


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