At the beginning of summer, I told myself I was going to do the Sprint Triathlon at Nyon, yet it was the 3rd week in July and I still hadn’t signed up. I was training but rather half-heartedly. So, what pushed me to sign up and properly commit 2.5 weeks prior to the event? It was my 8 year old daughter. She asked me if she could do the “Tri Kids” having seen a poster at the pool, and at the same time, explained that she was nervous. I heard myself ask her, “what are you nervous about?”. We discussed it and then, I shared the thought that “it’s good to be scared because you feel such a great sense of achievement afterwards”. As she reflected on that, I reflected on my own question, “so, why are you holding back Debbie from signing up?”.
We know the theory – we know that if we truly step out of our comfort zone and do something that scares us, it does gives us the great sense of achievement – it also boosts our confidence, self-esteem and generally puts a ‘spring in our step’ ; we feel empowered. Suddenly, we have more courage and conviction to tackle other challenges too and we ‘grow’ as a result. So, given that we know all these benefits and the positive impact ‘stretching ourselves’ has, what holds us back?
A common theme is that our fear is stronger than our desire for fulfilment. That fear, which leads to self-sabotage comes in a variety of guises – in the coaching world we label it as the voice of an internal Saboteur. The Saboteur may recite an old litany of judgement, rules and limiting beliefs. It says things like “you can’t do this”,” who do you think you are”, “you need to be much more skilled and specialised to do this”, “you’re wasting your time”, “you’re too young/old”.. In fact, whenever people take the initiative to change their lives, an alarm sounds and the Saboteur will awaken!
It could be that you have been complaining about your job for a long time and feel powerless to change, or you know you are not truly maximising your potential because it is easier to play ‘safe’ and stay with what you know. What happens if you consciously ignore the voices of the Saboteur and allow yourself to simply “dream”. Imagine that you are doing a job you love – what does it look like, where are you, who are you with, doing what type of activities that draw on your favourite skills and strengths? Imagine that you did go for the promotion, what is different now for you? What is possible from this new place, and possibly role?
My request is to please watch this clip and then reflect on the below 2 questions:
- What am I tolerating and holding myself back from?
- What is my dream?Making time to even consider your professional and personal dreams; and focusing on what you would like; allows you to take steps and make commitments to create the future and fulfilment you desire. The desire for fulfilment then becomes stronger than the fear and the voice of the Saboteur!To conclude, my story; I was in the water at 0830am, at Nyon, on Sunday, as the rain came down, with a nervous, sick feeling in my stomach. I did a couple of strokes to acclimatise to the water and that was my turning point. I thought to myself, “you’re in it now, you know what you will feel like at the end, so enjoy it and know you can do this!”. Of course, at the finishing line, I was delighted and proud of my achievement, although had less of a physical ‘spring in my step’ on this occasion!