The stress of navigating the complexities of the workplace and trying to get ahead or at least doing your best work takes its toll over time. There are external obstacles that you confront every day. That’s reality. But the external challenges aren’t the only ones you face. Truth be told, you would be able to tackle almost anything life throws at you if you could better manage your own expectations and limiting beliefs about yourself; in other words, if you could get out of your own way. The internal barriers you create rob you of the energy and passion you need to succeed. It undermines your belief in yourself. As a consequence, you may not opt out but you drop out emotionally.



How do you get in your own way?

First and foremost, you don’t give yourself a break. You beat yourself up for not doing better work or completing enough work. Perfectionism can get the best of you as you to try to exceed expectations, and the most difficult expectations are the ones you create for yourself. Your habit of not acknowledging your accomplishments and believing that the results are never good enough sabotages your grit and ambition. Think about it. How often do you give yourself a ‘high 5’ for your accomplishments and cheer yourself on?

Solution: Learn to own your talent and success. Keep a daily journal of your accomplishments, big and small, and review them at the end of the week and ask yourself, what does this say about me? Routinely share your accomplishments with your manager in a weekly or bi-weekly status report. And practice accepting not deflecting compliments when given.

Listening to the negative chatter in your head. If you are having an ongoing conversation with yourself most of the time, it’s almost impossible to actively listen to others and communicate appropriately. The focus on how best to respond and have the perfect answer jeopardizes not only your ability to truly listen, but it also hinders your ability to speak up effectively.  In this article, Matt Abramson addresses how the chatter in our heads prevents us from speaking spontaneously.

Solution: Listening to the negative self-talk gives it power and although you will never completely silence the chatter, with practice and focus, you can learn to normalize it and not pay attention. Meditation and mindfulness help clear out the negativity. Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul, was a life-changing book for me in that it taught me to ‘relax and release’ the negativity that preoccupied my thoughts.

Another way you get in your own way is by procrastinating. Procrastination may stem from a lack of confidence and self-doubt and a discomfort with asserting yourself. You put things off that you find uncomfortable or difficult.

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