I had a bit of an epiphany this week. I have been feeling stuck and I knew that something was standing in the way of success, but, I didn't know how or why. Time for a walk and talk with myself!
I got up and went for a walk at 530am, just as the world was waking up. The sunrise filled me with energy as I watched it for a moment, bathing in the neon pink light. It was really cold but it felt good to be outside. I like it at that time of day because I'm usually alone…perfect for talking out loud to myself!
What’s standing in the way of success?
Over the last month or so I’ve been taking a question for a walk and then recording my thoughts so I can listen back later. I knew I had to get curious. I also knew that I was standing in my own way because I was frightened. So the question I posed to myself was this: what am I afraid of?
This is what my answer was: "I can't say it. I feel like it's on the tip of my tongue but can't quite say it out loud.
So, I paused, let the silence come. Then I said " I'm scared I won't be any good. I'm scared I'm gonna put all this effort in and it's going to fail and then I realise that everything I do feels like Iike I'm no good at it. I'm scared it's all been a waste of time and it'll be worthless. " - That'll be it then!
Immediately my inner nurturer piped up to remind me of where I've made a difference, of all the kind things people have said, and all the things I've learned. But despite all this, I still stand in my own way. I procrastinate, I lie to myself - telling myself I am taking action, but really I'm skirting around the fear. This is the how. I create plans, break them down into manageable steps…but then nothing happens.
Why am I standing in the way of my own success?
Why? What's going on? If I've learned anything about understanding yourself, it's to come at it from a place of empathy and understanding. Instead of berating myself, I tap into my gentle parent and I get curious. That bit of myself is like a shy creature, if it gets spooked, it's not going to tell me anything.
So I walked a bit more. My biggest fear (more than spiders!) is being abandoned/rejected. This fear, when I feed it, ties into my self-esteem and my confidence plummets. I'm aware of this fear and I'm working with my coach to challenge it.
But my brain is sneaky because I hadn't even realised this fear was standing in my way. In my head, I was smashing goals but actually, I'm smashing planning my goals but not actually acting on them! Because by acting on them, I open myself up to rejection.
What to do when you're standing in your own way
So what am I going to do about it? The great thing about knowing when you're standing in your own way is that you're aware of the issue. Now you can take action…and not just say you're going to take action. Ahem.
My friend and I were talking about hermit crabs this week and I'm a bit like a hermit crab. I'm aware that my current shell is getting restrictive and uncomfortable. I need to move house, but in doing so, I need to expose my vulnerable front - that fear of rejection. It needs to be a decisive move so it's over and done with quickly.
If you know me you'll know that I believe we all hold the answers we are searching for already. In this case, I tapped into my intuition. What would I do if I weren't afraid? I'd make that call. I would choose to be vulnerable in order to grow. I'd be open to failing so that I knew for sure and I could learn.
So, you'll be glad to know, I made the call. I didn't get rejected.
How to get out of your own way
If you're standing in your own way I'd encourage you to slow down, explore what happens. Let's assume it's a fear of something getting in the way (usually is), almost all our fears come from limiting beliefs. So here are five steps to help you get out of your own way
- Break down the fear. What's behind it? How is it showing up? What do you believe? e.g. I believe that I don't deserve to have a fulfilling career or I believe that rejection is a reflection of my worth (neither of these things is true)
- Let them go. These limiting beliefs aren't serving you, they're sabotaging you. Release the hurt, shame, guilt, whatever it is and realise that whatever it is you're afraid of doesn't affect your worth/success/whatever it is
- Change your story. This is the time to listen to that inner nurturer. Flip the script. Reframe it. Choose an empowering story. Being vulnerable is brave. Being open to failing will build a growth mindset and change your life.
- Build your resilience. Successful people fail all the time. They learn from the experience, see challenges as opportunities for growth and build a deep belief in themselves.
- Change your focus. Have you ever noticed that what you focus on comes true? It's why gratitude is such an important practice. Focus on the (positive) end result – and the specific, direct actions you can take to get there – and that’s what you will get.