- Do you ever feel stuck?
- Are you frustrated by your lack of progress?
- Do you sometimes feel like you’re holding yourself back through laziness, procrastination or lack of clarity?
This is very human and something most of us experience time and time again in our lives. We want to make a change or we even have a burning desire to achieve something, yet we feel we’re blocked or being held back.
Lots of people attribute this sort of hold up as being down to perceived character flaws, like laziness, procrastination or indecision. However, those judgements are most likely a smoke screen for what’s really going on.
Believing we’re lazy, indecisive, procrastinating (or whatever) actually gives us an excuse to not take action. Having these sorts of self-limiting beliefs can have lots of benefits in terms of keeping us safe and maintaining the status quo.
Even if our situation isn’t good on many levels, the subconscious is very likely to work hard at keep things familiar. It figures you’re not dead or in imminent danger, so it’s safer to put up with a familiar feeling — even if that feeling is deeply unsatisfying to our higher selves.
So, if it’s not those pesky character flaws that are holding us back, what else could it be? A good candidate is fear. Fear is the thing that’s most likely to hold us back from stepping up to a challenge.
Fear is essential; it keeps us from putting ourselves in harm’s way and keeps us alive. Fears of heights, large animals, even the concept of being rejected are all advantageous and have helped us stay alive long enough to evolve and thrive as a race.
However, sometimes our fears can stop us living our lives to the full. Essentially fear is about the feelings we think we’ll experience as a result of imagined, unwanted outcomes. We fear criticism, failure, success, loss, not being good enough, humiliation, loneliness… the list goes on.
Often though, the anticipation of the event or feeling is worse than the reality. If we examine the fear, give it a name and fully describe it, we can devise all sorts of creative ways to avoid the unpleasant outcomes we’re imagining.
Write down your goal. Now write down all the imagined unwanted outcomes you fear, associated with this goal. Spend plenty of time describing and understanding each of your fears and what they mean to you.
(Far from being depressing, this can be an empowering exercise in developing self-awareness and taking control.)
Then, write down lots of ideas to counter those unwanted outcomes – how can you avoid them, or address them if they do occur? What strategies can you put in place to increase your chances of your desired outcomes? Can you ask for help? Get more training? Practise in a ‘safe’ place (or with a safe audience)? Explore your options fully.
Doing the exercises on my website could help you to move closer to your goals and improve your life. Sometimes we all need a little help, though … and self-coaching may not be enough. Friends and family might not always be able (or willing) to give you the support you need, and they may also be resistant to change.
A session with a professional life coach can help you to figure out what you really want … and how to go about getting it. Having someone on your side who will gently hold you accountable, and root for your success, can boost your confidence and make the process of change faster and more satisfying.
Whether it’s one-to-one or group coaching you’re drawn to, please get in touch with me to discuss options.