How To Get Out Of Your Own Way and Achieve Success

I have sabotaged my success in so many ways that I would be ashamed to list them. I’ve gotten in my own way in my relationships, my career, my education, my health, my finances and my sanity and peace of mind. 

I’ve delayed my success far longer than I should have. I’ve wasted time on things that were clearly not in my best interest. I’ve gone through tremendous pain at times when I didn’t need to. The three brutal mistakes people make that cause their own sabotage are:

  • Staying in their comfort zone.
  • Inability to predict and manage risk.
  • Denying the part of themselves that wants to create, grow and improve.

Beware. In your pursuit of success, you will find that you will encounter many fears, obstacles and hardships that will take you outside your comfort zone. There will be a strong pull to stop your efforts. 

You will be tempted to return to your comfort zone. This is normal. There may be times when you will need to stop for a while, in order to adjust to the changes you are encountering.

Sometimes it takes time to adjust to a new level of “havingness.” Your psyche needs to adjust to the changes. Even positive change is stressful. Allow yourself some time to relax, then “psyche yourself up” to move on to the next task in your pursuit.

There are also times when we are so uncomfortable with change, that we will actually sabotage our own success. We are uncomfortable because things are not familiar. The subconscious mind equates “familiar” with “safe.”

Therefore, anything that does not feel familiar may feel unsafe, thereby causing a great deal of anxiety. Our anxiety may manifest itself in mild to serious sabotage. Some people are afraid of failure, while others are afraid of success.

This is what keeps us stuck in the status quo, conforming to the “norm” as we see it. You need to evaluate your risk – whether it is too risky or too comfortable. This evaluation is an ongoing internal and external process.

As I write this article I am plagued with “writer’s block.” This is the inability to act on what I say I want to do. I often hear people say “I want to do it but I just can’t seem to get myself to do it.” When this happens, the person is in touch with their “wanting to” but not in touch with their “not-wanting to” which is preventing their action. 

Action blocks are usually forms of denial or “dissociation.” It is important to get in touch with the part of you that wants to change, grow, create and improve.

It is also very helpful to get some therapy or coaching at this point, as many of these exercises will bring up issues you may need assistance in working through. A good coach or therapist can also help you create a “genogram” which is a family map. Find out what success level your relatives achieved and what may have blocked them from further success. 

This can help you to either re-create some of their positive achievements or to not repeat their blocks. 

— and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

— Anais Nin

Let’s Get Off Our “But’s”

As I mentioned earlier, if you are not already taking action toward your goal, it is either not what you really want or you have obstacles that need to be overcome. 

Let’s take Donna for example. Donna states she would like to be a competitive tennis player. Donna has been thinking about playing tennis for quite some time but has not yet started playing. 

She has not even started reading about tennis or watching tennis matches. Not only has she never played tennis, but she also hasn’t even found out where the tennis courts are in her neighbourhood. She does not own a tennis racquet and has not signed up for lessons. 

My question to Donna would be, “Is playing tennis competitively what you really, really, really, really want? Or is it just a wish or fantasy?” If she says it is what she really wants, then I would ask her, “Why haven’t you started yet?” I would find out what her obstacles are (or her perceived obstacles) and determine if this goal is realistic for her, or if it is her true desire. 

If it is a strong desire, I would recommend coaching for her to assist her in overcoming her obstacles so she can begin taking action.

You see, if you really, really, really, really want something, you will start right away! Your passion for this desire will be so strong that you won’t be able to NOT do it! You will at least be taking action steps toward your goal. 

As a success quote says, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

You should either begin taking action toward your goal or seriously reconsider your goal. 

People are always blaming their circumstances for where they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.

— George Bernard Shaw

Exercise: What Are Your Self-Sabotages?

For each of the following, list at least one way you have sabotaged your own success in the past. Then write an affirmation about how you will not sabotage yourself this way ever again.

  • Love Relationships:
  • Friendships:
  • Family Relationships:
  • Physical Health/Appearance:
  • Emotional/Mental Health:
  • Spiritual Health/ Peace:
  • Career:
  • Finances:
  • Education/Learning:
  • Productivity/Creativity:
  • Hobbies/Recreation:
  • Other:

No one can go back and make a brand new start, but anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

— Unknown

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