Setting a goal and working out how to achieve it are huge steps forward. But let’s address the elephant in the room: if it was that simple to do what you want to do, then why haven’t you already done it?
The simple answer is that something in the way you think or feel is holding you back.
Often it comes down to fear: fear of failure, fear of judgement, fear of the unknown, fear of change. And we all have limiting beliefs – eg I’m not a people person; I’m not clever; I’m not deserving; I’m not good enough; I’m not the kind of person who succeeds… Sub-consciously, we are justifying staying in our comfort zone, safely insulated from having to deal with the risk of failure.
In addition to this, we’ll have personality traits that will make us resistant to certain activities. For example, an introvert is unlikely to relish the prospect of networking, while an extrovert is unlikely to enjoy time alone working on ideas.
We mustn’t beat ourselves up over this: we’re all doing the best we can with the resources available to us. What we need to do is find the tools that allow us to become more resourceful, so that we can deal with the thoughts and feelings that hold us back.
It’s easy to assume that the way we think and feel is not something we can control – that it’s just “who we are”. But you only need check the self-help/personal growth section of any book shop to realise that there are a myriad of tools for changing how we think and feel about ourselves, and how we engage with the world. Neuroscience has shown that we continue to develop new neural pathways throughout our lives; we can even use our bodies to influence our minds (see Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk “Your body language may shape who you are”), and Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking” shows how it’s possible for introverts and extroverts to adapt environment and behaviour to better suit them. And it’s certainly not a modern phenomenon – for centuries, religions and philosophers have encouraged us to rethink the way we understand ourselves and our lives.
The trick is to find something that’s right for you. Some people will come at it from a “feel the fear and do it anyway” angle, while others will work on deconstructing their fear or limiting belief first. For instance, lots of people struggle with a tendency to overthink things and end up catastrophising: some will use physical exercise to clear their minds and leave them feeling more positive; some will meditate to find calmness and resilience; some will feel better if they actually list out all that could go wrong and how they’ll manage those scenarios; some will just take the mother of all deep breaths and get on with it, because they believe that anticipating doing it is worse than doing it.
Coaching will support you in exploring your fears, your limiting beliefs, and the situations that make you uncomfortable, and in finding ways to increase your resourcefulness, so that you can move forward with a tool kit to help you build yourself up whenever you need to.