Have you ever been aboard the struggle train when trying to get a specific task done? In this episode I share a story of a client who struggled for more than a year to update her resume and start searching for a new job. Although her saboteurs were telling her she was being lazy and unmotivated, she was just standing in her own way. So, get out of your head, into your heart and let’s talk about standing in our own way.
Hey, it’s Julie and welcome to the Corporate Yogi podcast. I’m going to share a client story with you today that I think will really hit home with you. This scenario has actually happened with about 3 different clients over the last year, but this particular version happened with a client named Val. And as I share her story, I’d love to know if this is something that you really resonate this, maybe it applies to some specific area of your life. It might be something that you’ve had to deal with in the past, or something you’re dealing with right now, in the present.
So, here’s a look at what you’re going to learn today.
So, get out of your head, into your heart and let’s dive right in, shall we?
Let’s begin with Val’s story. She had been working for the same organization for about 30 years, and she wanted to plan for the next 10 or 15. But she said every single time she thought about it, she had no idea what she wanted to do. She knew in order to start looking for a new job she had to update her resume, but without knowing what she wanted to do and what jobs she wanted to apply for, she was really struggling to update her resume. And she admitted to me that this is something she’s been stuck with for well over a year now. Yes, she had been trying to update her resume for over a year. It was on her list of things to do, a recycled goal if you will, and she was procrastinating on it, had not made any progress on it. Now let’s pause for a second here, bc the topic of procrastination always comes with a lot of shame and guilt in people. They think there’s something wrong with them bc they just can’t seem to do this one simple thing. And I’m here to clear a couple things up with procrastination. While we think that procrastination is a byproduct of being lazy, it’s not, it’s very commonly a byproduct of high performers. And if you’re procrastinating and struggling to get something done, it’s often never about the thing you think it is, there’s always something deeper going on, usually involving mindset and worthiness and giving yourself permission to do something bigger, or facing some sort of fear or limiting belief. Bottom line – it’s your mindset involved, and typically it happens in a situation where you don’t want to step outside of your comfort zone, and every time you get close to the edges of your comfort zone, your saboteurs chime in with some useless and unhelpful message to convince you that you have to stand still and stay exactly where you are, bc it’s just too dangerous out there.
So, back to Val. Val thought her problem was getting the resume updated, but when we really broke it down, she realized that this wasn’t actually the root of the problem. I mean, I get that we’re all busy, but if you’re literally struggling to get something small like a resume done for over a year, and in that year you’re still finding time to eat, sleep, cook food and handle the basics in your life, then I am here to tell you, there’s something deeper going on. This is not procrastination.
So we put on our deep diving gear and in we went. Over the next couple of sessions we revealed that Val actually did have a very clear vision of what she wanted to do for career 2.0, but she was scared and intimidated to start over and didn’t think she was qualified. So we started tackling her vision of what she wanted, part by part, piece by piece and she started to see a path of how she could actually make this vision come to life. Unbelievable, it was like a miracle. As soon as she owned WHAT she wanted, and got clear of all the perceived barriers standing in her way, she saw a pretty clear path of how she could step into this new career and knew exactly what networking steps she needed to take over the coming year to set her up to make the transition. And the resume? Well, again as soon as we had total clarity over where she was heading, the resume practically wrote itself over the period of two weeks. So, the moral of the story is, sometimes the thing we think is standing in our own way, isn’t actually the thing that is standing in our own way. You always have to dig deep, then a little deeper and then deeper still to figure out what exactly is going on in your mindset. And then by tackling that, the simple thing that you were struggling to get done, happens so easily!
OK did you resonate with Val’s story? It might be a resume you’re struggling to update, or some other small simple task that really isn’t rocket science, but for some reason you just keep putting it off, and putting it off and putting it off. Please know that you’re not alone at all. This happens to the best of us. Remember that the challenge here isn’t actually the resume, it what else is involved either in the process of writing the resume, or what action you will be required to take once you actually have the resume done. Those are just 2 simple examples of what’s really going on at a deeper lever. If this is something you’re dealing with, I’d suggest making it conscious and having a conversation with someone to figure out exactly what it going on.
For Val, as much as she wanted to move forward and get her resume done, the reality is that she was standing in her own way. Think about it, there wasn’t anyone else external to blame. She might think she didn’t have time to do resume and that the resume was the problem, but the resume was just the surface level problem or excuse holding her back from doing what she really needed to do, which was to get clarity on her future career. And to be even more specific, it wasn’t actually Val standing in her own way, it was her Saboteurs who were standing in her own way. And if we don’t do the work to really make them conscious and understand how they impact us, then they can completely take over and run our life. You see, our Saboteurs are always there, at the ready to shame us, tell us there’s something wrong with us, and make us think we’re procrastinating, or being lazy for not getting something done, something that is seemingly really easy and simple and shouldn’t be causing all this hassle. Then as a result, we feel even more shame and guilt for not having done this simple little thing. We start to question ourselves. What’s wrong with me? Why am I being so lazy? And with all these critical messages we really don’t feel motivated to do something, we just get stuck, like we’re sinking in quicksand, because we feel too paralyzed to even start the project. And then voila, we have the formula of a vicious circle of beating ourselves up.
So if you’re resonating with this pattern, and you can thinking of something you are procrastinating on today, or something in the past that you’ve struggled with, then I have a few tips for you. First, you have to learn how to make your
Saboteurs conscious and learn to recognize their cruel little tactics, learn to spot them a mile away, so we don’t fall down the trap of calling this procrastination, and thinking there’s something wrong with us. You my friend, are NOT the problem, I repeat – you are not the problem. But your Saboteurs will try and convince you that YOU are the problem and that there’s something deficient in you. The reason they do this, is that it erodes your self confidence and makes you think there’s something wrong with you, and then you don’t try so hard, you accept defeat and just stay within your comfort zone and never try to grow or change. When this happens, your Saboteurs have won.
The second thing you can do is talk to someone else and have a conversation about what you’re struggling with. This can be anyone. They don’t have to be a trained professional to know that if you’re struggling to get a resume done for more than a year that there’s clearly something bigger going on than the resume, you have to dig a little bit deeper and a fresh perspective from the outside can help you figure it out.
The third thing you can do is to do some self-reflection to figure out what is really standing in your own way. For Val, that was the fear of owning her vision for Career 2.0, and as soon as we confronted and owned that, it was smooth sailing full speed ahead with taking action. This tip, #3 is more of a tip for an Introvert, whereas tip #2, talking to someone about it is likely more of an extravert tip, but either way, you have 3 different tips of what you can do to stop standing in your own way
1 – Make your Saboteurs conscious so you quickly recognize their cruel little tactics
2 – Talk to someone and presence what you’re struggling with
3 – Invest in some self-reflection or journaling to figure out what is really going on
OK it’s time to wrap up this episode on standing in your own way.
Let’s recap what you are taking way from today:
You learned that procrastination is not only for the lazy or unaccomplished, many high achievers procrastinate too. Quite often the thing we’re avoiding or procrastinating is quite simple or easy to do, but there’s a deeper mental block going on – something in our mindset, or a core believe or a story. We need to tackle that first, then the procrastination will drop away. And in order to get out of your own way there are 3 things you can do: Make your Saboteurs conscious so you quickly recognize their cruel little tactics, Talk to someone and presence what you’re struggling with, Invest in some self-reflection or journaling to figure out what is really going on. Thanks for tuning in today. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with someone who really needs to hear it. Let’s face it, everyone stands in their own way at some point in their life, so this is a great conversation starter. I look forward to seeing you next Tuesday for another great episode and remember, that any fear or resistance you hold deep inside of you, is simply your greatness in disguise.