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You know what to do, so why don’t you?


 

I would argue that one of the absolute worst things, feelings in life is that of regret.

Something not so great happens and just like the best analyst in the world, you immediately know what went wrong, why it went wrong and of course what should have been done differently. Call this the visit from Captain Hindsight, being smarter after the fact or what ever you wish but fact is that there’s nothing quite as annoying, frustrating, and upsetting than realising you made a mistake and on top of it, knowing exactly where you went wrong as well.

So why does this happen? If we are so smart, why do we make such …unfortunate decisions, usually repeatedly?

I can certainly speak from experience on this topic and it’s been an absolute journey to change my habits, my behaviours. It’s been an ongoing struggle for many years and in the end, it turned out to be much easier to fix than I ever thought. Let’s dive into the many reasons you might be in a similar situation and self-sabotaging, procrastinating or simply not doing what’s necessary.

 

One of the most significant reasons we undermine our success is due to a lack of belief. This can be a lack of belief in our abilities, our worthiness or we simply don’t believe we deserve good things. We may actually have the tools we require to succeed and even a roadmap, a good action plan, but deep down we don’t believe that success is available to us. We might get initially excited after we sign up to a new program, buy a new course or even just binge watch YouTube videos on how to solve our problems but ultimately, we don’t follow through.

Our exciting new plan starts sinking into oblivion faster than a struggling elephant into quicksand. Deep down we feel that all of the great advice and all of the great teachings would certainly work – “just not for me”. And that simply brings us back to a lack of belief. It’s a full circle moment.

 

When it comes to achievements, following through, and completing tasks, often our ego steps in pushes us swiftly to the side and says- “I won’t do it, unless it’s perfect!” In reality, no one cares.

I think it’s becoming one of those excuses, where the price is skyrocketing, and no one is buying it. In all my years of living on this planet, I’ve never met anyone, or know of anyone that was impressed by that sentence.

Perfectionism is simply masquerading as fear of rejection, fear of being told that perhaps we didn’t do something quite right and reaffirming that horrible crippling fear that perhaps we’re not good enough after all. No one is perfect, life isn’t perfect and if by some reason you are being held to such an unrealistic standard, then you are dealing with a completely different problem all together.


Accepting yourself, being kind to yourself and realising that we all go through difficulties, is one of the smartest things you can do for yourself and your piece of mind.

 

Many people like to say that rejection and failure is good, we should embrace it. There is no such thing as failure, its just feedback, keep going and so on. I couldn’t agree more. We should welcome failure and do our absolute best to learn from it each time, however once you get past the fear of rejection and failure there’s another sneaky saboteur lurking right around the corner.

 

Have you ever considered that in fact you might fear success? Fearing success is very real and even if it sounds wild and outrageous at first, it’s all to do with being unable to embrace change. Our mind hates what is unfamiliar and yes, I am using such a strong word, because I want to make it abundantly clear that our minds hate unfamiliar territory, unfamiliar behaviour as it poses a threat to our survival. The very sad truth is that we are programmed to survive and not to thrive. Our mind has a completely different agenda to ours. Our mind’s main goal is to keep us alive and not to ‘live our best life’.


Understanding this is extremely important. We need to learn how to work together with our mind as a team, instead of allowing it to run the show in a sneaky and subtle way.

Ultimately, not being comfortable with success, self-sabotaging and making sure we stay at the level we are comfortable with comes down to having and old and outdated self-image.

I’d like you to think of this as a thermostat in a room. Unless you can create a new self-image, one that is inspiring, empowering and one that excites your imagination, you will inevitably end up back in the exact same place you were in for years.


A dear client of mine used to tell me about her lack of self-confidence and her problems with her manager at work. She has been maid to feel incompetent on several occasions and was treated very badly but we are not here to take the manager to court right now.

After discussing the situation in great detail and asking some key questions, my client did mention in a humble voice that she knew exactly what she needed to do, to avoid arguments. She knew how she could make sure not to get told of on a daily basis, but it had become her reality and worst of all, her new identity. She felt like the odd one out in the team, the underdog, the scapegoat, the underperforming pigeon, you name it, she was it. After many months of this, years even, she simply could believe that she could be good at her job and fought hard for her limitations and shortcomings. That was her identity, and she was going to ‘protect’ it at all cost. The biggest problem was, that once she changed jobs, you guessed it, she took hew new identity with her.  


Certainly some could argue that in specific cases it could simply be a lack of ability, but I’m inclined to say that doesn’t matter. As Henry Ford said:

“Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right.”

That’s what it comes down to and we are back to the matter of believing in yourself.

 

Understanding is power and understanding is wonderful but what do we do about it?



How can we retrain our mind and make sure that we do all the things we know we are supposed to do?


You just need to get ACTIV! It’s that simple.


A-       Ask yourself how you could fail.

You may think I’ve lost the plot. All this talk about succeeding and now I actually want you to ask yourself how you could fail? That’s right! As I mentioned our minds are designed to look for threats, problems and anything that could endanger us. It’s so much easier for our mind to come up with problems and to even catastrophize. So next time you want to do well at something ask yourself how you could mess it up and then simply do the opposite.

Say you have an important client meeting coming up. Write down all the ways you could fail. Not be prepared, be rude, show up late, not listen to the client’s concerns, etc. Once you have your list, flip it on its head. Be prepared, be respectful and smile, be punctual, listen actively, and so on.


C- Create a detailed plan of action.

If I asked you to build a house, you’d probably tell me some choice words, tell me to go in a certain direction and take my unrealistic request with me. Is it an outrageous request? Sure it is! If however, I told you to start looking for a plot of land, speak to a developer, involve an architect etc, it would be a different story. Its extremely important to break down goals and tasks to manageable elements. Its exactly like that old saying.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.  

Also, I promise I have nothing against elephants, I love them so much yet somehow, I ended up victimizing them in this article haha. Back to the plan though!


T- Take care who you surround yourself with.

It’s said that we become like / the average of the five people we spend the most time with. This is by far one of the most important aspects to take into consideration when wanting to grow, get to the next level in our life. If you’re the smartest person in the room, leave. Sure it can feel great to be the brightest person amongst your peers but lets leave the ego out of it and find people we can truly learn from.



 

I- Identify as a higher version of yourself.

One of my favourite sayings of all time is:

“True nobility is being superior to your former self.”

I couldn’t agree more with Hemingway and the only person you ever have to worry about impressing is yourself!

So how do you become the higher version of yourself? By doing. You have your action plan from step 2, so now you need to cultivate discipline and take action every day to achieve your goals.

 

V- Vow to start now!

This is it. There will never be a better time to start. Winners don’t wait.

You may be thinking that you have so much on your plate already and whereas everything you’ve read up until now make sense and you agree but starting now just seems sooooo unrealistic.

Guess what, if having a better life, living the way you truly desire is indeed important to you, then you may have to reprioritise. Do a detailed inventory of how you spend your time each day, I can guarantee you will find some time. It’s 11:00 PM and I have made the conscious choice to do what I love, to write this article instead of falling victim to my habit of many years. Netflix can wait.

Start small, promise yourself to make small changes and carve out the time in your calendar for them. Read for 20 minutes a day, meditate for 10 minutes, do a 7 minute workout.

One of the best feelings in the world is keeping your word to yourself, and when you do that, you start to feel truly worthy!

 



 

 

 


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