My 10-step guide to overcoming blocks and limiting beliefs
Doing difficult things often gives us the best rewards: This is me and Dan in Devon, on the day I found out I had got my 2:1 in Communications at Leeds University
You can do difficult things
We all can.
Do you know what your blocks are? Your limiting beliefs?
Does it matter? Well, that depends on what you want.
Limiting beliefs are often deep rooted and they have evolved to keep us safe.
For example, you may struggle with a common limiting belief, ‘I can’t stand up and talk in front of large crowd of people’. This may have developed due to a bad experience at school, where everyone laughed as you spoke. The belief then developed to keep you from experiencing that situation again.
Which is fine, if you don’t want, or need to develop in this area.
But, if a presentation is standing in the way of you getting your dream job, it will hold you back.
I run workshops on limiting beliefs, as part of my Self-Care Club. So, I have examined this in detail, and I know I have some of my own!
Self-awareness is always the first step to personal growth.
I have long suspected I have ADD (which is now known as Inattentive ADHD). Upon research, I have discovered that it often comes to the fore during menopause, because the common symptoms of meno are similar, so the whole thing gets exacerbated. In the past I masked a lot of my issues, because I am so driven and ambitious. I also surrounded myself, at work, with people who had the ability to do the detail. I was very lucky to have some wonderful people in my teams over the years. You know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I do know my triggers. I FEEL them in my body. They show up in my chest and my throat. Panic can set in over what others would perceive as the smallest of things.
I personally have no problem talking in front of a large crowd. In fact, my career highlights include hosting panel events with Gloria Hunniford and Dr Dawn Harper regarding living well into old age, being silly and foolish running laughter yoga events and taking the plunge to do panto a couple of years ago.
It makes me a bit scared, but in a good way. I am mostly excited.
However, give me a day like to today - a rare day off with no commitments and a multitude of things to organise - declutter my wardrobe, food shopping, walk the dogs, do the laundry, mow the lawn etc, I feel the rise of anxiety holding me back. I get paralysed by fear and I don’t know where to start.
My brain gets jumbled and I want to retreat to my laptop and do something creative instead!
So, here you find me. Writing this!
I have given myself an hour. Then I will get started on those difficult things.
Why do I find them so hard?
Well, that is a long story…. It has to do with trying in the past and not managing to get to where I wanted. It is probably the way my brain in wired. It is linked to fear of failure, to perfectionism, to not being good enough, to having high expectations put on me, which I then put on myself.
All this reminds me of an Erin Hanson quote:
“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
My logical brain knows that I will supremely benefit from a day of sorting and organising - it will free up time and energy, but my emotional brain is keeping me from taking the plunge. I know that if I go through my wardrobe I will be confronted by decisions such as whether I will ever lose weight and fit into outfits I love again (should I keep them or are they holding me back) and around how I identify.. Who am I? What do I wear now? Do I still need this? It is confronting. It is scary. It is entirely out of my comfort zone.
So, I remind myself ‘I CAN do difficult things’.
And, ‘YOU can do difficult things’
In my coaching sessions recently, and with my daughter, I have heard myself saying this a lot. It has become a bit of a mantra. And it definitely helps. Here's an, off the cuff, 10-step guide to work through anxiety about stuff you find hard to do:
Notice the feeling - you feel uncomfortable in some way or another - it could be anger, anxiety, tummy ache, headaches, tension somewhere.
Close your eyes (if you feel comfortable doing so) and identify where it resides in the body - as I mentioned above, I often feel it in my chest and throat.
Sit with it and breathe - be kind to yourself, perhaps placing a hand on the area and tell yourself it is ok - you might want to imagine a healing light.
Now, think back to a time where you had something difficult to do, but you overcome it. You did the thing! How did it feel afterwards? It helps if the thing is related to what you are fearful of, but it doesn’t have to be. For example, for years I visualised myself getting my degree, after returning to uni as a single mum, with my son who had been ill for a year with asthma and eczema. I did that difficult thing - ergo, I can do anything.
Capture the feeling, make it bigger and brighter, relish the feeling… smile to yourself. You could even anchor a movement to it - like pressing your thumb and forefinger together. So you can use this movement later to remind yourself and conjure up courage. Or even a colour that stands out - I often use yellow as it relates to the solar plexus, our power centre.
Repeat the phrase in your head ‘I CAN do difficult things’. You may even want to develop something more specific, relevant to your limiting belief. I started using the phrase ‘plenty of time for everything’, after my divorce left me overwhelmed with projects and possibility for the future.
Write it down - scribble down some stuff that comes up, it will help you to get specific. I write what I feel and then, as I am often held back by overwhelm, I brain dump all the things I have to do - EVERYTHING! From putting a cheque in the bank, to listening to a webinar for my masters, to washing up, to booking a holiday. I then place all the non-urgent things in a C section, put the semi-important things in B and just focus on the most important things (in line with my values - this is crucial) that I have in the A section. I got this many years ago from a really amazing self-help book called ‘Eat That Frog’, by Brian Tracy, if anyone wants to look it up.
Do one thing now. Start small. Just do one thing… then another… then another after that. Break it down into small manageable tasks. So, I might even just make the bed, then choose one thing I no longer wear to donate to charity. Then congratulate myself on starting….
Next, do only what you can. We live NOW. Right now. In this very moment, so let’s not sweat the small stuff. Enjoy the process. Be present with yourself.
And afterwards, celebrate! You did the thing? Reward yourself. You are incredible!
Know your strengths: I surrounded myself with wonderfully talented and organised people in my corporate career!
Right then. Here I go! Wish me luck while I attempt to follow my own advice….
I CAN do difficult things, and SO CAN YOU!
Interested in identifying and overcoming your blocks that hold you back from your dreams and ambitions? My signature coaching course, BE TRUE TO YOU, will be opening again for booking soon. Working together in a group is so helpful as we realise we are not alone, we connect and offer support to each other.
However, if you prefer a more individual focused approach, please do get in touch.
Either way, register for interest to find out more.
You can read some kind words from previous clients here.
Have a wonderful day everyone. Thank you so much for reading.
With love and acceptance,
Rebecca Barabich x