Getting Out of Your Own Way

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Don’t let who you are stop you from being what you could be. -Jordan Peterson

It’s the little things that can make a big difference in preventing us from achieving our goals in life.

What is that little thing that you do that stops you from getting to where you want to be? For most of us, it’s more than one area that holds us back from fulfilling our potential.

How can you work on that today?


The bubble of denial

For the past few months I have decided to work on just one or two things each day rather than try to tackle a whole bunch of things all at once. For most of us, that only results in overwhelm and once we’re in a state of overwhelm we tend to procrastinate or freeze.

Right now I am working on frustration tolerance. Meaning, I am doing my best to expand my ability to tolerate frustration. As I start to work on it, I realize it is much worse than I thought (gasp) and it makes me think that maybe, just maybe, we don’t address our issues because we are afraid of what we will see. It feels much safer to stay in a bubble of denial than to face what is going on.

That bad news is that whether or not we choose to look at our edges they are still there.

The worst news is that they have a direct impact on those we love, like and on our work. Once we see that it might hurt even more.

But that is the real motivator isn’t it?

We want to be good to those we care about? Once we see the degree to which our actions and words impact those around us, it accelerates change.

Do you think you impact those around you? My guess is it’s far more than you believe you do. At heart, we are social, loving, industrious beings. We want to be better for those we love and for the most part, that’s what nudges us to move and change.

As a therapist and coach I can tell you that almost every person that signs up to work on things does so out of love of something or someone. Meaning they want to be a better wife, husband, doctor, boss, friend, sibling – and that’s a good thing.

But what you need to realise is that we will never be perfect. Striving for perfection only places more pressure on an already overwhelmed life. But the commitment to work every day on what I call trimming the edges helps us to make little changes and create better habits. With time and consistency, those actions and habits become part of our way of being.

Before we know it we are finally getting out of our own way and starting to fulfil our potential, to become what we know we can be.

It is POSSIBLE. Change is possible.


So my first question to you today is what or who do you love?


And my second question is what do you do that gets in the way of that love?


The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu

Here are my thoughts on how to begin this journey.


Dig deep

What is getting in the way of you being your best self? Write down the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors that you believe are holding you back.

  • Are you listening to that voice that tells you if you try that you may fail so you don’t even begin? Are you trying so hard to be perfect that you can’t put any work out because you can’t achieve the perfection you long for?
  • Do the faults you can’t tolerate in others remind you of your own deeply denied failings?
  • Who do you blame for where you are today? Your parents, society, the economy?

This isn’t an easy step. Set time aside in solitude with a pen and paper or record your thoughts as you speak them out loud.

If you are hard on yourself typically and you come up with too many things, then choose a maximum of two to work on right now.

If you are too easy on yourself or have listed a whole bunch of people and events responsible for the situation you find yourself in I gently encourage you to look at the part you may have played. Take this stage one step at a time and if necessary ask a coach or therapist help you to unpack what’s buried deep within.  

If you can’t come up with anything ask a couple trusted friends. They will (hopefully) tell you in a spirit of love and kindness.

Remember, no-one is perfect – and that’s perfectly OK.


Dig in

Start to research how to change these one or two things and each day review your notes.

  • If you want to expand your knowledge, sign up for that class online.
  • If your job leaves you exhausted and depressed at the end of each day, revamp that resume.
  • If you can’t shift those extra pounds you gained last year through diet alone, commit to exercise that you will enjoy and persevere with.

Sometimes one action inspires another.

If  you can’t think of one thing to do I often find that cleaning the kitchen empties my mind and allows creativity to flow.

If not, at the very least you have a clean kitchen and you know you need to help to get clarity on your goals.


Be patient

Ingrained behaviors won’t change overnight so don’t expect them to and be kind to yourself if you have a bad day.

One thing I’ve learned after almost 20 years in practice is that change happens slowly through persistence. It is not glamorous but it works. No one will notice or pat you on the back for a long, long time. But one day, it will click. Others will probably notice the change before you do.

You will think the change just happened but it didn’t. It was happening each step you were taking along the way.


Keep going. Keep thinking it is possible.



Nicole C Weiss LCSW

Nicole WeissGetting Out of Your Own Way

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