What’s Holding You Back? 

Getting out of your own way is, like many worthwhile endeavors, easier said than done. It takes commitment, self-awareness, tenacity and deliberate action; knowledge is not enough. As Pablo Picasso once said, “Action is the foundational key to all success.” So, it’s that knowledge, coupled with action, that fuels momentum and creates change. 

I recently had the honor of speaking on this topic at two conferences, and it seems to have resonated with the group of business owners, executives, and corporate staffers in attendance at each event. The premise is simple: We all experience a variety of barriers, both external and self- imposed, that impede those pursuits and achievements we dream of. Of course, our dreams are unique to each of us and no two are exactly alike. Yet they have commonalities that transcend gender, age, income, education, culture and geography. And the process from dream to action to results can be interrupted, detoured and fragmented for anyone  regardless of their circumstances. 

Luckily, just the opposite is also true. Your circumstances don’t dictate your outcomes. What does create those outcomes is simple: knowledge + action = results. This simple formula is what drives success. Whether success means getting all your laundry done this week or launching a hot new brand, we define our own success, and just like us, it comes in many shapes and sizes. 

With that, let’s look at a few examples of common issues that can get in your way. 

  • Self-imposed barriers: Do you intentionally or subconsciously hold back in any situations or group settings? 

  • Judgy comparisons: Many of us battle this emotional crutch to incessantly compare ourselves to others, and others to others. 

  • Making excuses: The habit of rationalizing the failure to fulfill a commitment can impede a realistic mindset and makes progress that much harder. 

  • Reflexive resistance: How often do you find yourself reflexively turning down an idea without even taking a moment to contemplate it? 

  • Societal restrictions: While the idea that girls can’t wrestle and boys can’t ballet, or any other notions based solely on historical norms, is diminishing, it does still exist to some degree. 

  • Defeating behaviors and routines: Every single decision brings you closer to your objective or takes you farther away. So, if you’re trying to tone up your body but you consistently neglect your planned fitness sessions, you’re moving farther away from what you’re pursuing. 

When we recognize and think about those areas where we may be struggling by holding ourselves back, and we then devise logical and sequential actions to achieve that which we dream of, and then consistently put those plans into action, that’s how magic happens. That’s how Disneyland came to life, and how polio was cured, and how we put astronauts on the moon. Obviously, those are just three huge examples among millions. I’m sure you get the idea. 

There are many other factors that can crush our dreams, but we have a lot more control than we may realize, and it’s not that hard to seize that power  once you know where to find it. 

Carrina JensenCerrina Jensen
Associate Vice President, Benefits Division
CoreMark Insurance Services, Inc.