Discover 5 Hidden Ways You Could Be Getting in Your Own Way

The greatest tragedy in life isn't death it's what we allow to die inside while we are still living - Norman CousinsHas your day, week, month or year ever ended with one (or more!) of these thoughts?

  • “Oh man, I never started/worked on/finished XYZ project after all my dreaming and talking about it….”
  • “I have worked so hard but somehow it hasn’t come together the way I wanted…”
  • “I know I gave [insert name] a bad impression of me, why would they want to work with me now?”
  • “I know I should charge more but I don’t think people would pay it….”
  • “How can I earn more money when I’m so busy?”
  • “How do I scale when I’m not getting enough work to begin with?”
  • “I don’t know where my time/money went…”

Because, recently one of the CreativeFlow community, let’s call him John (not his real name), told me that he wants to have the best year of his life next year but he has one big concern about achieving it.

His lack of self-belief

John realised he doesn’t value himself highly enough and this holds him back – particularly in how he is often apologetic with others.

In addition to feeling happier and more successful, John sees breaking through these patterns will open up many more money making opportunities – a big priority for him right now.

And he’s not alone because how to ‘get out of your own way’ was the gist of several emails I saw in my inbox recently.

You might wonder, is this really an issue? Surely when it comes to his creative endeavours John can just get stuck in and put this all to one side?

He can and probably does, however that doesn’t mean that he’s not affected by his lack of self-belief because it can be very sneaky in how it shows up!

5 Hidden Ways People Get in Their Own Way

#1 – Procrastination & Self-Sabotage

Quite often people procrastinate because of one of the following:

  • A fear of failure
  • A fear of success
  • Perfectionism

All three of these are directly related to lower levels of self-belief or self-esteem.

Even if people push on regardless and do take action, sneaky self-sabotage can crop up to ensure that you don’t get results that are any better than what you believe you are or deserve.

Maybe you miss a deadline, ‘forget’ to do something or even get ill, injured or have an accident. (Told you it’s sneaky!)

Your identity is absolutely vital in terms of your actions and results over the longer term.

If you don’t change your identity to match your desired results, then it’s likely that any changes you make won’t last because our subconscious will always look to be congruent with our identity.

#2 – Relationships

Before you can collaborate, partner, sell your product or get people to buy you, you need to be able to build positive relationships.

First off, if you’re mentally and emotionally beating yourself up or anxious then you probably won’t give the best first impression. And possibly, second or third impression either!

He who does not trust enough will be trusted - Lao TzuAfter all, how can you expect others to be confident in your abilities if you don’t appear to be confident in yourself?

Secondly, if you regularly attract people who can’t or won’t pay you or work with others who consistently let you down then a lack of self-belief is probably the cause.

In the way that years ago when I didn’t believe I deserved a man all to myself and I always got cheated on (Ha! As if that’d happen now… LOL), you need to believe that you deserve great clients and partners – in all areas of your life. 😉

It takes valuing yourself to say no the wrong people and opportunities.

#3 – Lower Revenues

Do you undercharge and overdeliver?

If you don’t set appropriate boundaries and have the proper processes and terms and conditions in place, you’ll likely end up working long into the night and yet wonder how you’re making so little money?

How can others value you and your work if you don’t value yourself highly enough? This creates a vicious cycle of less than delightful and unprofitable clients who want the world but aren’t prepared to pay for it who lead to even lower confidence and burn out.

The interesting thing is that great clients are nearly always happy to pay good money to have their problems solved and they usually are a dream to work with!

In fact, I’ve heard of instances where people have bought from others who were more expensive because they thought “If they’re that cheap, they can’t be any good!”

By the way, this applies just the same to those who don’t necessarily have direct clients, such as performers, filmmakers and product creators. Maybe you’ll do too much for free, not market yourself or your products appropriately or just miss out on lucrative contracts.

#4 Not Taking Feedback Well

"Taking things personally is painful" Una Doyle

One of two extremes tends to happen with feedback when people don’t value themselves enough…

Some people take all feedback personally as criticism and feel terrible about it. They might even actively seek feedback because they’re looking for that external approval. But then they ignore the positive things and just focus on the negative.

Others will ignore all feedback and feedback opportunities (not wanting to admit anything might be less than perfect) and miss out on the opportunity to learn and improve.

#5 – Personal pain

Imagine your mind being as clear as snow… Only thinking about what is in front of you, being truly present – except when consciously thinking about the future (e.g. planning, brainstorming or dreaming) or the past (e.g. reminiscing with friends).

As opposed to when things happen or somebody says something it triggering negative self talk where you beat yourself up. (You know, from that voice in your head that might well be saying, “what voice?” right now!)

Or those times you feel unnecessarily nervous or anxious.

Wasting time and energy worrying about what might never happen.

The pain of not seeing your dreams come to life…

“The Greatest Tragedy in Life isn’t death; it’s
what we allow to die inside ourselves while we are still living.”
Norman Cousins

The trouble is that most people don’t get to be adults without having some crappy things happen in their lives. No matter how loving their parents or talented their teachers were.

And even when people have had a wonderful upbringing, there can be a pressure to live up to that. To make your life as wonderful…

The doubt that a lack of self-belief brings can not only be debilitating but can ruin things for you even when everything is going great.

So what is John to do in this situation?

I recommend that he creates and implements a very specific Personal Development Plan to overcome this lack of self-belief and get the results he really wants.

First let’s take a quick look at what I mean by Personal Development…

What is Personal Development?

Let’s face it, the average person isn’t often exposed to personal growth and development growing up – I know I certainly wasn’t.

And when I first did hear of it I thought it was all a bit weird and cultish…

is personal development cultish? image

But then when I discovered this could help me to get what I wanted I changed my perspective and got seriously stuck in!

I get it. When I first got into personal growth I became a little bit (ahem!) evangelical about it and probably turned a great number of people off – oops! (I’ve since discovered that this happens to lots of people by the way… LOL)

So what is personal development really all about?

Here’s a simple personal development definition from the UK College of Personal Development:

“Personal Development is the conscious pursuit of
personal growth by expanding self-awareness and knowledge
and improving personal skills.”

Straight forward enough, eh?

You might think well this isn’t for me – there’s nothing wrong with me! And if you’re already getting the results you want in your creativity, business and personal life then you’re right – there’s nothing for you here in this blog post, move on. 😉

However if you’re like John, myself or the rest of us you recognise that wanting better results and being open to learning new and different skills, mindsets and strategies, is not an insult…

…It’s actually a sign of courage. It’s a sign of taking responsibility for your life. And it’s smart.

Because look at any highly successful person and you’ll discover that they have done both the inner work (personal development) as well as the outer work (skills and strategies) to get where they are.

Become person that gets the results you want - UnaAt the very least they’ll have learnt from books and/or courses and often they’ll have had coaching and/or mentoring too.

So what would John’s Personal Development Plan look like? It could entail learning from biographies, self-help books and/or personal development courses.

In fact my first big shift came from reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey and I would highly recommend it.

However, once I’d got a grip on how things could be different for me and wanted to make changes, the deep and long lasting changes have come from being coached and mentored.

There’s really nothing as powerful as having that third party with an objective viewpoint who can see what your blind spots are and offer strategies and tools to help.

Saying that, there are some very practical steps that John can take that will quickly get to the heart of what’s required to get the results he wants and I’ll go into those steps in my next blog post.

So stay tuned and if you’re not already subscribed to be part of the community do so here.

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Una Doyle

About the Author

Una Doyle

Una is a Business Coach & Strategist for Creative Services Providers (Design, Animation, Marketing/Digital Agencies, etc.). She helps them to stand out from the crowd confidently & profitably so they can attract high-level, 'Ready to Invest' clients, doing creative work that fills their hearts with pride - WITHOUT selling their soul or adding extra workload.

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