We all have hopes and dreams, ambitions for achieving more in our lives. We all want to do something new, or let go of something that no longer serves us. So what keeps holding us back?
Many times, we are the road block on our path to success. It is our own doubts, fears, and insecurities that keep us from doing what we need to do to succeed.
So how can you start getting out of your own way? Here are 5 Steps you can start today:
1. Take Responsibility for Your Own Life and Your Current Situation: This can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but it is also one of the most empowering. Everyone has their own “blame story” that they need to release: He did this to me, she won’t let me do it, they always make me feel like I can’t, he’s holding me back, I had this experience or that experience, etc. While these may all be valid events or situations, it is your response to those experiences that determines whether you’re really holding yourself back or moving yourself forward.
Once you take responsibility for your own life, you can stop blaming others for your situation and stop being a victim. When you no longer think like a victim, you realize YOU can change your personal situation, you can CHOOSE to do things differently.
This past week one of my all-time heroes, Nelson Mandela, passed away. While he was alive, he was a shining example of eliminating this kind of personal barrier. Nelson Mandela fought for racial equality and the end of poverty, resulting in his imprisonment in South African prisons for 27 years. When he was finally released, Mandela could have easily gotten caught up in sadness or resentment about the life he missed while in prison. He could have spent time being angry at the government for locking him up and at the guards for being cruel to him. He could have easily become a victim, but he consciously made the decision to leave his anger behind and take responsibility for his own life, his thoughts, and his mindset. He then went on to become President, something that would not have happened if he allowed himself to be a victim.
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” ~ Nelson Mandela
What is your “blame story”? How can you begin to let go of that today? Many times it’s about forgiving. Other times, it’s reframing the situation and choosing to look at things differently, in a more positive and constructive way. For example, instead of thinking about it like “I was put in a bad situation and now I’ll never succeed,” you might think “How do I move ahead and make this better?”
In almost all cases, it takes practice. It takes observing your mindset. When you find yourself slipping back into your old way of thinking, you must make a conscious shift. Over time, you will succeed.
2. Identify Your Self-Limiting Beliefs – Replace Them With A Powerful Mantra: You may think “I don’t blame other people, so this doesn’t really apply to me.” However, you still may be limiting yourself. You may not even realize that you have self-limiting beliefs. But if you pay attention, they will reveal themselves. Some of the most common self-limiting beliefs are:
- I don’t deserve to make any more money.
- There are so many people already doing what I want to do, I’ll never succeed anyway.
- People who have money are dishonest. Honest people like me just don’t have that kind of financial success.
- I’m not as good as ____ at my job. She deserves it more than I do.
- I don’t deserve it because ________.
- I’m not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, rich enough, young enough, etc.
- I don’t have enough education, training, certifications, etc.
What are your self-limiting beliefs? Observe your thoughts and write them down. Acknowledging those beliefs is the first step to changing them. Replace them with positive affirmations or mantras. Affirmations are positive statements you can read or think about to help shift your mindset, while mantras are specific items of focus. Both affirmations and mantras are powerful tools to help you eliminate what’s holding you back.
One of my favorite financial role models has been Suze Orman. When she was a struggling waitress, she didn’t feel strong or confident and also didn’t know how to manage her money. In her book, The Money Class, Suze Orman recounts how she recited the following mantra at least three times per day to help her shift her beliefs, and today, she is all those things:
I am young, powerful, and successful, and I make at least $10,000 a month. ~ Suze Orman’s Mantra at Age 29
What is one mantra you can create and begin using today? Write it down and place it in conspicuous places – on your bathroom mirror, on your computer, in your wallet, by your alarm clock. Practice reciting it over and over again. You will notice an immediate shift in your mindset. Keep your mantra short so it is easy to remember, and don’t limit yourself. Suze used the term “at least” when talking about money. Also, don’t use the terms, “I wish” or “I hope.” Be strong in your mantra.
3. Stop Worrying About What Other People Think: We’ve all heard this one before, but seriously, stop worrying about what other people think. Focus on being true to yourself and becoming the person you know you can be. When you spend time worrying about what someone else might think, what they want you to do or not do, you are limiting yourself and not achieving your full potential.
4. Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself: This phrase comes from Tony Robbins and is an easy habit to slip into. “I should go to the gym more, I should eat healthier, I should work harder, I should, I should, I should…..”
Every time you use should statements, you are telling yourself that you’re not enough and that you’re not doing enough. This causes you to feel guilt and anxiety which isn’t very empowering. Instead of using should statements, change them to I want to, I will, or I am. You will feel more empowered and will eliminate the guilt that comes with should statements.
5. Stop Using Unhealthy Coping Strategies: When you’re feeling stressed or discouraged, you may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. You know what they are – overeating, drinking, smoking, ignoring your positive routines, pulling away from your friends and family, or feeling sorry for yourself. We all have them – make a list of your unhealthy coping strategies.
For me, when I feel stressed, I crave carbohydrates, chocolate, or diet coke – all things that inevitably end up making me feel worse. Now that I am more aware of my unhealthy coping strategies, I recognize when I fall into them and am able to either shift my thinking, or get back on track more quickly. I have learned to go back to my anchor habits which help bring me back to where I need to be.
What has helped you succeed? How have you eliminated your self-created barriers? Please share one or two specific examples that we can all learn from in the comments below: