Climb Out of Your Box! – Part III

The Seven Barriers Holding You Back – continued

Things do not change; we change.

–          Henry David Thoreau

The change in heart is the essence of all other change and it is brought about by the re-education of the mind.

–          E. Pethic-Lawrence

4.  The Lack of Self Awareness

Being aware of your own style and behavior is a learned art over your career. It’s even more important to ask your mentor, boss, sponsor or a friend at work to provide constructive feedback to allow you to alter or improve your behavior.

A mentor/boss once made a profound statement about how people perceived me that has stayed with me ever since. He said, “Jennifer, it’s not the snapshot of you that you want people to see, but it’s the motion picture.” At that moment, I knew I needed to become more aware of those around myself, my environment, and how my behavior was affecting others.

I am coaching a client who was recently promoted to CFO of her company.  She made the strong statement that “no one gives her any respect.” I asked her to give me an example. However, all she talked about was how she felt that people didn’t believe she was capable of fulfilling her new role.  We discovered that this was not really how people felt about her abilities but her lack of confidence.  She was projecting her lack of confidence of herself onto others.  What negative behaviors/emotions are you projecting on coworkers or loved ones? 

5.     Procrastination to Decide

Procrastination is another roadblock to change that can lead to unhealthy stress!  Do you put things off?  We all do to some degree.  Those nagging feelings about things left unfinished and tasks pilling up can cause extreme stress.   One member of my family struggles to complete tasks in a timely manner and continues to induce stress because of the resulting pain. She feels overwhelmed but can’t seem to complete a project or leaves it to the last minute. 

I am sure all of us can give examples of people we know or family members who procrastinate.  Coaching clients who are disorganized, leave things to the last minute, stressed and are overwhelmed with life, I suggest one thing; buy a journal size book to write down each day what needs to be accomplished. Write in this book your “TO DO List” so you can keep everything in one place. I can’t tell you how many of them have said, “That saved my life”.  When we procrastinate it is usually about long term objectives or it has an unpleasant outcome. Instead of addressing the objectives, we go with what is more pleasurable or less painful.

Did you know men are slightly more likely to procrastinate than women? Younger people are far more likely to procrastinate than their elders. Workaholics, for example, almost always meet their job-related deadlines. But many of them will put off going to the doctor, doing the taxes or seeking counseling if their marriage is in trouble.

Here’s a test you can take to discover why you are playing this stressful game. Check off the ones you can relate to or if you can relate to it in your life.

  • You’re bored

  • You are overwhelmed with work

  • Your confidence has slipped

  • You have low self –worth

  • Your work is meaningless/you’re not fulfilled

  • You are easily distracted

  • You are lazy

  • You are unorganized

  • You are over committed with work and family

Let’s discuss ways to remedy this situation to eliminate this barrier.  It helps to understand your level of energy versus your decision to delay; the more tired you are, the more likely you will put off the objective. Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly and organize your objectives in a book or in one place to help eliminate your level of stress. 

My favorite suggestion, when coaching clients or working with people who procrastinate, is to take the large project they are working on or a personal objective and break it down into three segments.  Accomplish one segment at a time. You will be energized once you complete that first task. Everyday set a new goal that you can accomplish then reward yourself once that task has been completed.

6.       Not Listening To Your Intuition

This barrier is a tough one for many to overcome when trying to make life changing decisions. I can personally reflect back on my own life choices and know that if I had just listened to what my gut was telling me at the time, I would have made better choices. Have you ever regretted decisions made when listening to your TRUE intuition? Probably not!

Making life choices using intuition can be used as a tool. The challenge for some people is when your instinct of “self-protection” gets in the way of accessing intuitive information to move forward.  If you seek intuitive information on a particular question or problem, you may want to start by exploring the full landscape of the situation.  I ask clients to share their gut feeling when discussing a particular situation.  Listening to your true intuition is a powerful tool in making life changes. When you really understand yourself, know the facts of the situation or problem, following your “GUT” rarely gets you into trouble.

Create meaning and purpose in your life by listening to your intuition. Ask yourself that one question, what do I want instead? Women are hardwired to set and pursue goals with enormous personal challenge.  The great thing about women is we forget how hard something is like having a second child after a painful first delivery.  There were a number of times in my career after having my children, that I was physically and emotionally exhausted.  But, I knew in my gut, I was making the right decision to remain in the workplace.

Learning to always listen to your intuition is powerful. I shared at the beginning of this series that over the past year, I have not had one moment of regret starting this new business. However, there have been days that I couldn’t imagine how I was going to put one foot in front of the other. I keep asking myself that one question; what do I want instead?  And you know what has been so interesting through this journey? My gut keeps guiding this journey as everything continues to fall in place.

If your barrier is not truly living your life with meaning and purpose, what is your intuition telling you to change? Why wait one more day if you already have the answer to help you Climb out Of Your Box?

7.       Challenges of Resilience

I left this barrier last because I believe that most people struggle with resilience.  For most leaders, balancing work and home life still remains a lofty, never-achieved goal. Although each day brings impossible demands on our personal time, with too many meetings, obligations, and 24/7 connectivity with the internet world, it is our resilience and energy that are stressed daily, it’s not the clock. However, shifting your mindset and focus from time management to energy management will allow you to discover your own unique ability for sustained energy and resilience throughout each day.

Work-life balance is a choice. Moving from time and efficiency to energy and resilience is a powerful mindset to overcoming this barrier in your life. What do I mean? If you are going to shift from managing your time to supporting and managing your energy -the fuel that helps you accomplish your goals, take on difficult challenges, and be present in your relationships-you need to focus on all domains of your life: physical, mental, spiritual, and your emotional intelligence. Try to avoid activities that drain you and don’t have meaning in your life. Say, “NO” when being asked to take on more responsibility that you know will zap your energy level or cause you stress.

I believe this barrier is the most difficult to overcome than the other six. Researching for this Blog, I came across a five-year study completed by Dr. Leonard Poon of the University of Georgia, that revealed some interesting principles influencing resilience. In his study of 97 active, productive people over 100 years of age, he found that they had mastered four common characteristics:

  • Optimism: They tended to have a positive view on life. They weren’t dominated by worry or negativity.

  • Engagement: They were actively involved in life. They are not passive observers watching life pass them by. My 89 year old mother-in-law is engaged in her life, playing bridge every day with her friends and exercising at her community pool.

  • Mobility: they stay active physically. They participated daily in a physical activity, gardening, walking or going out with friends.

  • Adaptability to Loss: they had an extraordinary ability to stay balanced by adapting to and accepting change and loss. I remember when my grandmother lost her husband and days later lost her best friend of 50 years. They understand losing loved ones but still have a zest for life.

Resilience is a dynamic process that isn’t static or rigid but it is a type of centered fluidity that lets us move in any direction with ease. Being resilient means you can recover your balance even in the midst of action. Separating your career, personal, family, emotional and spiritual lives into distinct pieces doesn’t work. Managing that entire dynamic is the key. The magic in eliminating this barrier is to work on your inner and outer behaviors that keep you centered and grounded when you are dealing with the outer world.  As you build on more resilience, you will do more with ease. I will leave you with a quote that hangs on my wall;

It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast-you also miss the sense of where you’re going and why”

 –          Eddie Cantor

Mastering the seven barriers holding you back from Climbing Out of Your Box will be invigorating when achieved.  The magic will come, when you look back on your decision to change with no regrets, having confidence to continue listening to your initiation that will help you remain out of that old box!

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