And 3 Questions I Ask Myself When I’m Stuck
Fear is the number one cause and source of disempowering behaviors. When there is a lack of progress in your life, you are undoubtedly being controlled by fear.
Since I can remember, I’ve been an observer and analyzer of behavior. Most of the time, I focus the highly unflattering and critical zoom lens on myself. Alternatively, when I observe other people’s behavior and hear their words during sessions, I’m certainly more compassionate, patient, and understanding. But isn’t that always the case? We can offer grace and sensitivity to others, but rarely to ourselves.
Human behavior drives my insatiable curiosity.
Past experiences shape how we feel now and how we approach life. Trauma responses are imbedded in our subconscious’ desire to keep us safe from danger. Now that the traumatic event is over, the subconscious has created a conditioned response to react to fear triggers and controls our responses.
In an attempt to keep us safe, these responses are still activated. But instead of shielding us from harm, they now keep us stuck, preventing us from making progress towards living a fulfilled and joyful life.
Barriers are built, brick by brick, by the lingering effects of our past.
We may even convince ourselves that the brick wall that keeps us from moving forward was supposed to be there all along. You may even feel safe behind your wall of built-up fear responses. But there is no denying, your actions are controlled by fear and obstructing your view and limiting your life’s experiences.
I know this because …
- I know what living a diminished life inhibited by the enduring effects of past trauma feels like.
- I know what it feels like to have my dreams stolen by disempowering behaviors left over from my past.
- I know what it feels like to have the lingering effects of a dysfunctional or traumatic childhood (or even adulthood) and be afraid and struggle with feelings unworthiness that prevent me from taking the necessary action to achieve my dreams and build the life I desire
- I know what it feels like to make choices in life that are controlled by fear while being disempowering and unhealthy.
- I know what it’s like to rely on unhealthy behaviors to cope with the depression and unfulfilled ambition
- I know what it’s like to grapple with the meaning and the purpose of why things happened the way they did and why they happen to me.
- I know what it’s like to have a dream and watch it fade away due to lack of attention
- I know what it feels like to know that time is ticking away and the space between today and the end of life is shorter than the time that has already passed.
- I know what it’s like to have an ache in my heart and soul because I have been controlled by fear and allowed those fears to stop me from taking a chance
- I know what it’s like to have big scary dreams even when having big dreams feels like a recipe for disappointment
- And I know what it’s like to face all of these internal barriers and STILL lift myself up off the ground and fight to bring my dreams out into the open. To breathe air into my dreams like an emergency resuscitation and dust off the debris of my insecurities and fears that have gathered on my dreams.
- I know what it’s like to begin again, and again, and one more time. Even when I feel I have nothing left to give.
This is the journey that we all must take.
The journey to feel the fear and act anyway. The journey to not let the remnants of the past negatively impact the quality of the future. When I need to reset or begin again, I ask myself these 3 questions. The answers enable me to start moving beyond the controlling effects of fear that keeping me stuck. When you put language and words to these responses (better yet – if you write the answers out in a journal), you are able to decode your thinking and direct your thoughts and your actions in a positive direction.
1. What are my primary internal obstacles now?
Even to this day, I struggle with my mindset and the patterns and nature of my thinking. I think of this as the general function of the engine. Whether it’s my Gemini-mind, my self-diagnosed ADD, or my fear creating mental clutter, I always need to be a good steward of my thoughts. My thoughts and ideas jump around indiscriminately. I have a hard time crossing the threshold of concentration, constantly looking for distractions. I force myself to redirect my thinking and put my thoughts into perspective.
Some days it feels like a full-time job by itself.
When my engine (my mind) is a little less chaotic, the thoughts that light up like neon are typically ones of doubt and uncertainty. The thoughts taking center stage for me now are:
- “Am I doing the right thing?”,
- “Who will care what you have to say?”
- “You’re not working hard enough. Work harder.”
- “Will this action bring me closer to my goals or is it a waste of time?”
- “There’s so much to do, what do I do next?”
- Old faithful: “You’re not good enough”,
- The one screams at me lately is “I’ll never be able to learn how to …. _____ (insert the thing I’m trying to learn)”.
There are dozens of these thoughts on a daily basis, but these are the top ones that are gripping me today.
2. What’s my motivation?
I have 2 motivations. You and Me.
Me because I want to fulfill my highest potential in this lifetime. I want to see what I’m capable of and leave nothing on the table. I desperately don’t want my fears or limiting beliefs to prevent me from accomplishing all that I’m able to in this short amount of time I’m on this planet. If I have the potential to help people through my coaching and writing, I don’t want to leave that potential unfulfilled. It would be a shame. It would be a crime.
And YOU because I believe in your infinite potential to be happy and fulfilled. I believe in your ability to achieve your dreams, even if you don’t fully believe it yet. I think we need more happy, fulfilled people on this planet.
Motivations change over time as life changes.
Return to this question over and over. Please make sure that YOU are part of your own motivation. When you are not part of the equation, there ends up being nothing left FOR you. Trust me. When you make yourself a priority you set a powerful example to those around you. You are also undoubtedly a more pleasant, present, and happier contributor to those around you.
3. What are my primary values to remind me of a core belief?
In a recent situation, I was hoping for a positive outcome in a writing contest I entered. Hoping is probably the wrong word. Unquestionably, I was EXPECTING a positive outcome. I had a specific outcome defined. Well, that’s not how it turned out. Needless to say, I didn’t win. I was too attached to a specific outcome which meant that I did not consider any other potential paths available to me.
One of my primary values that I return to over and over is to never give up. Always keep trying. It may require a slight change in course or a little adjustment in my mindset. Even when I’ve been curled up in the fetal position, the only option (when ready) is to get back up and keep trying to make my life better. I pick myself up and take that next right action in a forward direction after a disappointment.
The worst thing for me is do is to stay still.
Without a doubt, no matter the lack of motivation or determination or how crazy my thought patterns are, without fail, if I keep stepping forward, taking the next right action that makes sense for me will lead me to where I’m supposed to be going. WITHOUT FAIL. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS.
The other value that I return to …. Don’t attach to a specific outcome. Often, we specifically define the way we think a situation should unfold. We may even have it scripted out. “When they say this, I’m going to say that.” This expectation, alone, is what trips us up. It opens us to too much disappointment when things DON’T turn out exactly like we imagined (and they rarely do). At the same time, failing to recognize the gifts along the journey is a result of being too focused on one single destination.
What values remind you of who you are and the character you want to embody? What action or values signify the strength and resilience that already resides in you?
And this is why I do what I do.
It is why I write these blogs and coach people. It’s BECAUSE of my personal challenges, experiences, the work that I’ve done, and my training as a coach that I am able to help people overcome the barriers that are keeping them from pursuing their best lives and their most audacious dreams. Because I’m doing it every day. And because I believe in you. I believe in me. I believe in US. Unfailingly.
I help people transform their lives to one that you’re living with intention and on purpose.
It all starts with the thoughts you are thinking. Your disempowering thoughts are like a long-forgotten gold chain, knotted up for years. We need to slowly begin to untangle the chain. It takes patience, extreme care, and attention to detail. That’s how we all must work through the thoughts and behaviors that are holding us back. THEN we get down to the fun stuff… starting to dream again. And believing in your dreams. The only thing holding you back is yourself. Every other obstacle is “figureoutable”, as Marie Forleo would say. But if YOU’RE unwilling to fight for yourself, who will?
Can you relate to any part of this blog post? If the answer is yes, this blog was meant to speak to you today.
You may have not had as traumatic experiences as I have, or you may have had more trauma in your life. Regardless, it’s time to chip away at the debris these experiences have left us with. I’ve been in the trenches, and I have dug and dug my way out of dysfunction, depression, and crippling self-doubt. AND YOU CAN TOO…
Do you still have questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out this article to find out more about how fear may be controlling and impacting your life.
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