Leadership Moments: Get Out of Your Own Way

We have met the enemy and he is us”

Walt Kelly, From the Pogo comic strip

Do you find yourself tugged in two different directions?  One direction is comfortable, safe, and known, but boring, tired, or done. The other direction is new, your next big move and scary! It means that you must make a change. So, you play around with the idea, like a cat plays with a toy. You push it around, throw it in the air, and then abandon it. You want to commit to the new thing, but you can’t just yet, you need to play with it, until you start to feel comfortable… and you never really get comfortable with the idea, so you continue to the play cat games endlessly.

I listened to a podcast called “Get out of your own way.” I was in my way again and happy to learn that I wasn’t alone and others had to learn to get out of their own way and I read about how Richard Branson deals with self doubt and gets out of his own way, to help me understand better.

I found myself second guessing some of my plans like writing a book and doing a podcast, and I started down the rumination highway and asked myself, Am I doing the right thing? Arrggghhh! So many thoughts, ideas, and questions, how do I get out of my way, and what does that mean anyway?

When you are in your own way

Getting out of your own way” implies somehow putting aside the anxieties and doubts, ego concerns and career pressures—“mental blocks” or “critical inner voices”… that stand between you and work…”

This is what getting in your own way looks like

  • You fear failure and/or success- this is normal and part of the process.
    • Everyone gets anxious when they face new things, the best way to overcome fear is to go ahead and do it afraid. Reframe the anxiety as necessary to move to the next level. Think of the fear as preparation. When you feel fear, get excited because you are getting ready for something good.
  • You feel inadequate, overwhelmed, like an imposter, and alone and isolated, this is normal.
    • Join a community (online or in person) where you can discuss these concerns and share ideas with like-minded people and move forward.
  • You overthink everything, procrastinate, and wish you weren’t that way.
    • Look at your strengths and figure out the next step. Take baby steps towards your goal until you can walk and then run.  You will learn problem solving by moving towards your goal.  

And you find yourself in the land of questions…

  • What about my finances-will we be able to make it?
    • Develop a plan with options on how to address financial concerns and discuss your plans with your partner.
  • What about my family and friends-what will they think?
    • What is and isn’t important about what others think? Decide if you need to discuss your plans with them. I had a friend tell me that people are too busy thinking about themselves and don’t have time to think about you. (Dave Hollis says the same in the podcast noted above).
  • What about the timing of this change?
    • Why is timing an issue and what can you do about it? Look at your options, consider planning a different time, going ahead, scrapping your plan, or developing a new one.

If you can answer these questions, you have a back-up plan. Write down your answers so you can see your plan. Modify it as necessary.

How can you get out of your own way?

  1. Be clear about your goal-your why.
  2. Realize that your plan and progress don’t have to be perfect.
  3. Focus on what you can control.
  4. Make up your mind to go for it and start by taking One. Step. At. A. Time. Organize your time and life, so that each day you can make progress toward your goal.
  5. Break down the plan into manageable pieces. Organize and systematize things to keep on track. Use your calendar to book time to accomplish your tasks, develop an excel spreadsheet to break your plan into manageable steps with timelines, or use other planning software.
  6. Manage your inner self talk messages, align the messages with your goal. Give yourself a pep talk-you can do this, you have done hard things before. Develop a Can-do instead of a Can’t-do attitude.
  7. Spend time with those who will help you achieve your goals; people who encourage you and hold you accountable—people who you can teach you positive habits. People who will talk out your doubts with you.
  8. Stop comparing yourself to others. You have experience, qualities, and skills unique to you and your perspective of the world. No one can replace you.
  9. Say “No” to things that don’t move you closer to your goal and be ready to face those who don’t like to hear “No”.
  10. Celebrate your successes.
  11. Learn from your failures. They are opportunities to get to yes.
  12. Be kind to you.

My Takeaway

So what does getting out of your own way have to do with a leadership mindset? It is all about managing your thinking, so that you can continue to move in a forward direction towards your goals.

How am I getting out of my way? I am looking at my plans, and deciding if they still hold up, doing a check-in with others and getting their advice. If my plans hold up, I will continue moving forward, if they don’t, I’ll try something else.

What about you? I’m curious, how do you get out of your way? I’d like to hear from you, let me know.

Published by Diane Allen

Hi there, my name is Diane and welcome to my blog site! Leadership mindset is the mindset that embraces, vision, courage and action.

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