How many times have YOU stopped yourself from doing something good or great? Not in an “I’m not eating pizza – I’ll take the salad”-kind of way. I mean, how often do you detrimentally lessen your own growth (when you genuinely think about it)? How many times are YOU the barrier to your own success?
I randomly caught a conversation Joe Rogan had with Robert Downey Jr. on YouTube the other day about getting out of your own way. That topic struck a chord with me since I often struggle with it. I have admittedly gotten better with it over the years, though – so I want to share some key habits I recognized and ways I actively strive to change those traits each day to avoid sabotaging my own achievements in Life.
If you thought about it and honestly answered, “Never,” to the questions above, good job. Seriously – you have it more together than a ton of people I know (myself included), but for the rest of us, here’s something to chew on.
Three Steps to Get Out of Your Own Way
A lot of getting out of your own way is handled in three steps (based on my own experience and what I’ve seen/heard/read of others’ experiences):
You have to acknowledge the bad behaviors impeding you.
You just have to start (and the rest will follow).
You have to stay busy, being consistent in your actions, and vigilant of bad habits.
If you adhere to these three things often enough, you’ll kind of start habitually getting out of your own way. If you don’t, I’ve personally found that you can sink back into a pattern of being your own worst enemy.
Ways You May Be Holding Yourself Back
THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST, but here are a number of common ways that people are probably slowing or halting their own progression without even realizing it. See if any of these are culprits in your life, and if they are – acknowledge them! Don’t just act like they aren’t there:
Impostor Syndrome is real. Many people deal with doubt on a regular basis and limit what they go after based on those ill-informed doubts. If you find yourself doing any negative self-talk, interrogate those feelings. Ask yourself how accurate those bad vibes really are. You are not your doubts and worries, and you know and can do more than you think. Challenge your doubts vs. giving in to them.
Hanging with the Wrong Crowd
I consider my friend group to be some of my biggest cheerleaders in life. They are honest with me, they aren’t “Yes People” – but they also don’t crush my hopes and dreams. And they don’t bring drama to me either. I like to think we enrich each others’ time on Earth. I have seen people whose “friends” (intentional quotes) always put them down or bring negativity. Leave those losers alone. Put positivity in your circle. Also – get friends you can learn from. Trust me on this – it helps you out more than you’d think.
Quitting (Normally “Too Often” or “Too Soon”)
This was a big one for me because I’m a habitual quitter. I can start things all day, but I used to easily move on to the next adventure without really ever starting the first journey. It is genuinely easy in my mind to just drop a thing and move on. Normally there’s no issue with this, but it can, and has, impacted me professionally and in my daily life before. I can only recommend fighting the urge to walk away here.
Taking on Too Many Things at Once
You may have A LOT of good ideas or opportunities legitimately worth pursuing, but you only have so much time in a day. This one bites a lot of people because rather than doing a few things well, they end up doing a lot of things in a sub-par way. Screw that! Make a simple list or plan for everything you want to get done and the order you want to achieve them in, and commit to that order vs. “all at once.”
We have all met someone who says they would do a thing if only “blah-blah-blah”. And then “blah-blah-blah” happens, but now it’s “so and so”. And then “so and so” happens and suddenly “what’s its name” comes into play. Look — it’s a pattern of behavior. If you are the person constantly waiting on the perfect time to get something done, but you notice that perfect time never coming – accept that and go for it. Move while considering the imperfections (because life isn’t perfect), don’t come to a standstill just because you’re waiting on things to be smoothed out.
Some people REALLY don’t feel like they deserve whatever good thing is coming their way. I personally used to feel that a lot. Some part of me just believed I was a bad person who wasn’t worthy of certain things. And here’s the kicker, I didn’t know why. I don’t know what to call this, but I know it’s a lie now. If this is you – listen: You deserve it. Whatever makes you happy, smile, and feel motivated for something better… You deserve it.
Never Starting/Fearing Risks
Closely tied to the portion about excuses above, this is more specifically being gun-shy or unwilling to try something because the reward doesn’t outweigh the risks in your mind. You can have the best idea with the most potential success ever, but it amounts to nothing if you never start or just procrastinate all damn day. You WILL have some adversity along the way – I won’t lie to you about that, but you have to grow beyond that. And you never will if you don’t start.
Not Learning From the Past
Sometimes you have to accept a certain type of thing, place, or person may not be for you. People will often revisit things that aren’t good for them and then be surprised when pursuits don’t quite pan out. Hmmm… I wonder why? Next time you botch something, ask yourself what went wrong. Meditate on it. And once you have an answer, arm yourself with being aware of it so that you know which pitfall(s) to avoid in the future.
Skipping Due Diligence
Haha – I have friends who just jump right in with little to no research. Just full of faith and willpower. That can actually work. Statistically, though – increase your chances by knowing a little more about something than just going on a whim. If you have time to look into a matter before acting, do so.
(Constantly) “Betting on the Wrong Horse”
Making bad investments. Taking on bad debt you may or may not be able to repay. Staying in bad relationships. Making (Literal) bad bets when you have far too much to lose. Some people aren’t too skilled at discerning what’s good vs. the bad for them in their day-to-day. If this happens to you, it might be worth forming your own little council to kind of run things by before you jump in. Pick people whose judgment you trust based on their proven track record, not based solely on their word.
Not Facing Emotional Hang-Ups
If you regularly miss opportunities because of some emotional distress or stagnation you may feel, you may want to face the source of that trauma. That might be a talk with a trained professional. That may take on the form of speaking to the person who wronged you. Whatever the case, don’t let emotions you have over a moment in your life stop you from taking on your proper future. You have to reckon with the past sometimes.
Start, and Keep Pressing Forward
Accept that the negative duality will always be there. It never goes away. Not really.
And you may have to learn to live with it… Like an annoying roommate or something.
But… Once you’ve dealt with acknowledging whatever is holding you up, start in spite of it. Manage whatever is throwing you off-center each time and accept that it’s a part of you that YOU have control over because you see it for what it is now.
And once you’ve done that — once you have that ball rolling — all that you have to do is show up (for yourself).
You may doubt yourself, prove yourself wrong. Keep a list of things you achieve that you can look back on each time you have any doubts to remind yourself how far you’ve come. You may worry about things going bad, but you can plan contingencies and thresholds to watch to keep yourself from falling into anything that you deem unacceptable.
Be inspired by the fact that you aren’t alone and that others have overcome whatever you’re dealing with right now.
Strive to be consistent. Start small and then build your way up. As you do that, your confidence will grow and it’ll feel second nature rather than a foreign external riddle you’re always trying to solve.
Never forget to audit yourself and look for whether or not you’re blocking your own path.
I know this has gone full inspirational platitudes, but you have to amp yourself up if this is something you struggle with! You have to find your acceptance of your own BS unacceptable for any of this to work. No one can do that for you.
I know you’ll do well with getting out of your own way if this is something you honestly want to get past.
You can do it.
If anyone else has anything else they want to throw into the discussion, please do so in the comment section below. Otherwise, as always…