Overcoming obstacles, particularly personal ones can be so challenging, can’t they? What’s still holding you back from tackling them?
Perhaps you are thinking that you have worked so hard at your job or career or business and also at growing yourself and improving yourself and your skills and yet you still haven’t actually achieved what really matters to you – yet?
If that were true for you, how does that make you feel? Disappointed? Frustrated? Angry? Disillusioned? Depressed? Drained? Tired?
Or perhaps you already consider yourself successful and are wondering what you are going to have to do to “raise your game” yet another notch?
Overcoming obstacles required to raising your game
In much of my work, in much of my book and in so many of my blogs, I focus very strongly on the typical type of barriers or personal obstacles that can so easily get in the way of our success, whatever success means to you. Whilst I don’t want to take anything away from people struggling with very real and debilitating physical and other disabilities, I do suggest that most of the barriers that hold us back are in fact “made in the head”, and that they are usually the by-product of much of our conditioning.
The Four Agreements that got us here
I’ve just read Don Miguel Ruiz’ book “The Four Agreements” based on ancient “Toltec wisdom”. For me it has unequivocally been the best description I’ve ever read on the power of the beliefs indoctrinated into each of us in our childhood; what he calls the “domestication of humans”.
He speaks of how we don’t choose our beliefs (what he calls Laws), but that they are universally “passed down to us” via mum & dad, siblings, friends, TV, school, church, work etc and that in a subtle process of punishment and reward, and too young to know any different or rebel, we are made to “surrender to these beliefs with our agreement and in the end we become a copy of everyone else’s beliefs so that we don’t actually know who we really are”. “We feel unauthentic and wear social masks to keep others from noticing this. We create an image of how we should be in order to be accepted by everybody”.
We learn to judge others that don’t conform. And in fact we become our own worst judges whenever we fear that we are failing in the standards we believe to be expected of us or of not being good enough for someone else or if we fear being rejected by them.
He suggests that “95% of the beliefs stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and that we suffer because we believe all these lies.” His book is then so beautifully focused on how we need to break these agreements we (unknowingly) made in our childhood.
I have been truly inspired by this book and would highly recommend that you download it or buy it.
If our barriers were “made in our head”….
In my own book, Life Learnings of a Life Coach I suggest that so many of these unsupportive beliefs, having been “made in the head” and so long ago, can now be “unmade in the head” and replaced by more appropriate and more supportive ones.
I use the description of the takeoff of a glider aircraft where we were winched up via a cable from a truck with a dirty big engine at the other end of the runway, and where upon reaching the right speed we arced up into the sky at the apex of which the pilot had to unclip the cable so we didn’t complete the arc in a sorry pile on the ground at the other end. When he did, we soared up into the skies in a most exhilarating lift. Just like happens when we “unclip” the obstacles that had been holding us back…… Those of you that have experienced that will know exactly what I’m talking about.
Now whilst not every client is ready to “go there” it is in this space in so many of my coaching programs that those clients that were “willing to go there” have also found and achieved their greatest breakthroughs by recognizing and eliminating “mind made” obstacles that often for decades they had believed to be true for themselves.
And only when they have done so and “let them go” have they moved on in their lives and their careers and their businesses most significantly, thereby raising their game and that of many others in ways they couldn’t see possible for them before.
Can you feel the empowerment of that? Can you see the possibilities? Can you taste the success? Can you hear the applause? Can you?
A little afraid to “unclip”?
You see, what I have learned is that we don’t get given anything to deal with, until we are ready to deal with it. If we weren’t ready, it wouldn’t come up or we wouldn’t notice it. So if it has come up, we must be ready to deal with it, right?
If you’ll allow me to share a recent personal example, I realized that I was bumping up against another personal barrier, a threshold that I needed to cross.
The “normal” (left brain and ego driven) response to such a threshold or barrier insight is to “wish it away” or actually try to deny it and to rationalize it (which you know me to believe means to “tell ourselves rational lies”). You know, in this mode, our thinking is prone to suggest: “oh woe is me – I have been working so hard (on myself) and I’m still not seeming to get the results that I want (or better still – need). How much longer and how much harder do I need to try before the success I aspire to will be forthcoming”? Perhaps your Self Talk might even suggest: “I must not deserve this…” and lesser determined people will actually give up. Can you relate?
However, through my coaching experience and through working with my own coaches, I knew better and instead, posed the question: “I wonder what I am meant to be learning from this consistent “bumping up against” and where I should be looking for some options or perspectives, even solutions?”
I have said many times that it is extremely rare that economic results come before personal development and personal challenge, right? So I knew that the answer wouldn’t be found externally (I could blame the economy or whatever), but rather that there was another level of personal barrier I needed to overcome, and in my case that it would probably be found somewhere in my unconscious realms.
Learning to feel liberated by “unlearning”
In the last chapter conclusion of my book I share the quote from Carl Jung that I’d like to repeat here. He said: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate”.
And so I sought the right professional help to assist me in going back into my conditioning (my agreements in Ruiz’ language) to find any indications that may in fact still be holding me back at an unconscious level without me actually remembering them or being aware of their influence on my thinking, my beliefs, my behaviour patterns, my self-talk, my confidence and my decision making. And so over the last few months I’ve done a lot of “unlearning” of inappropriate thinking patterns and a lot of further replacing of unsustainable beliefs and a lot of Letting Go of “unconsciously held stuff” that I now know had been holding me back from me being who I am meant to be.
And now, I am looking back on those thresholds and old obstacles “from the other side” and feeling most liberated. I am buoyed by renewed and additional levels of confidence and self-belief and I am already blown away by two serendipitous events that have come about since (one of which was being invited to join Tony Delroy’s Nightlife program on ABC Radio where together with Peter Wilson, fellow MajorStreet Publishing author of his book “Make Mentoring Work” we chatted on air about coaching and mentoring. (You can listen to that at: http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/local/nightlife/mentoring_m2155633.mp3 if you wish).
The second is just as exciting and I’ll tell you about that another time. Coincidence? I don’t happen to believe that. I firmly believe these wouldn’t have happened without me having “done the work I needed to do on myself” first.
(By the way, if you are curious about what I needed to do “on myself”, you are welcome to contact me and I might share that with you personally).
So what next?
So may I suggest that you “step back” a little and reflect upon what has been and what is happening and what you are grateful for in your life right now? Perhaps you also capture what you feel is missing or lacking in your life right now? When last might you have afforded yourself the luxury of such depth of reflection? Perhaps you were too busy or you “weren’t ready” or perhaps you were even afraid of what you might find?
Let me ask you what I asked myself at that point: “when is the pain of staying the same going to become greater than the pain of the perceived change or obstacle”?
When are you going to reach the point of “enough is enough”? You know, the one where you say to yourself: “Right, I’m ready to do something about this, right now. My life is too short to keep putting this off”.
And if that’s the case, what are you going to do about it? Perhaps you’ll have the resources to address this yourself? (You probably do, you know?) Perhaps you’ll want to go and research what you are thinking and find some good books to guide you? (I could recommend one that might help).
Or perhaps you’ll do the smart thing and find someone that has not only been through and worked through such thresholds themselves, but has assisted and coached heaps of other people to identify these barriers or personal obstacles and to deal with them accordingly?
You know, someone to be your sounding board; your thinking partner and your confidante that will help you through the necessary steps (in absolute privacy) and hold you accountable to the changes you need to make, so you can’t “chicken out”?
Maybe you’ll even contact me and enable us to “lets talk coaching” together? I would be delighted.