Part One: What’s Holding You Back?

I’ve commented extensively about fear.  I’ve examined how it holds us back from going for our dreams… and how it even prevents us from allowing ourselves to have dreams in the first place.  When teaching women’s self defense, I always point out to students how useful their fear can be if understood and even channeled to help them recognize and avoid danger.  And, as I think about it, almost all of the programs I have developed and delivered over the years, whether about job search or mind mastery or goal achieving, contain an element or tool to raise the level of awareness of the fear that might be sabotaging results.

But, in all my years of supporting others’ self-development (including as a parent) and in my own self-development, I’ve come to realize that there are other factors besides fear that cause us to get off track or that pause us in plans to move forward.

In fact, there are four other major factors that I’ve observed.

Here’s the first one…
Being convinced you don’t have the right tools, knowledge, ability, etc. to get there. 

Yes, I know.  This one can certainly be related to fear… as in “I’m afraid I’m not smart enough.” Or “I’m afraid to admit that I don’t have what it takes.  What will others think?”  This kind of fear-based thinking can certainly stop you in your tracks.

Yet, being convinced you don’t have the right tools, knowledge and ability does not necessarily mean you’re stuck in fear mode at all.  It might simply be that your mind has not yet seen a way forward.  Your mind has not recognized the possible resources at hand, and when that happens, you get stuck.  Creative thinking is temporarily stymied.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to do something that would be much easier if you knew how to automate it.  You become frustrated because you’re convinced you lack the technical skills to create an automated process.  However, you don’t lack the skill to research.  If your mind would stop being frustrated, it might click into creative gear.  And while in creative gear, it might seek out and find that someone else has created a tool or process that you can use.

On the other hand, what if it’s absolutely true that you are missing the necessary tools, knowledge and ability to move forward?  This means you will have to decide if it’s logical to make the effort to fill in the gaps and then make a plan to do it so that you can eventually arrive where you want to be.  Like maybe you’ve realized that your dream job requires you to take the time to become immersed in an educational program, just like Brandon did when he decided to become an ER nurse after an unsatisfactory career in IT.  After two years in school, Brandon will have gained the knowledge and ability he needs to succeed.

So, have you got it?  Do you see the truth of what to do if this is why you got stuck in the first place?  It’s that taking action to get the necessary tools, knowledge and ability is in itself moving forward.

Next up we’ll take a look at one more of the other factors that might hold you back (besides fear)… which has to do with timing, commitment and the others in our lives.


Angela Loëb helps people rediscover and use their gifts so they bring who they are to what they do in life.

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