Life Lessons: Get Out of Your Own Way with 3 Strategies

by | Dec 7, 2020 | Overthinking and Procrastination

Hey, Womxn/Women – How’s life? How’s your week going so far?

If I had a dollar for every time that I thought to myself, “But I don’t know if I can…” or “I don’t know how that’ll work…” I’d be wealthy right now.

Do you ever have the same thoughts? Even when the choice feels like the natural thing to do, but you can’t get out of your head?

A few days ago, I was having roadblocks sneak up again on a work project for y’all. This one has stumped me quite a bit, but it doesn’t seem like a totally irrelevant project. In fact, after doing research it’s a very relevant gig.

Either way, I couldn’t see the way through my thoughts because they felt like a maze. Too many and too all-over-the-place. To add to it, the voice of self-doubt crept up. You’d think after a few decades of Life here, and other past lives, I’d feel a little bit wiser. Especially, since I write about it and believe in it so deeply.

That’s one of the best parts of being in the Human form: we get so many opportunities to learn, to grow, to pivot, and to become aware of our Already There Wisdom. And because I believe in having a holistic experience—and try to practice it as often as possible—I literally got my ass off the chair and said, “Ok, new game plan!”

I enlisted a few strategies I’ve learned, and shared with others, through professional and personal experiences: recognition and awareness, reframing, and shifting distractions around.

1) Try to recognize when your thoughts are just thoughts and that voice of doubt is just there.

Not to sound cocky, but do you ever have a feeling of, “Why do I talk to myself this way?” It’s a real question, and one I’m trying to ask because I’ve done it myself. We can read up on the advice: talk to yourself like your best friend would or your grandparent. Be more gentle with yourself and more compassionate. One, valid ideas, and two: a lot of our ‘voice of doubt’ stems from conditioning. We evolved from freaked out cave people trying to survive and not get eaten; we go through collective and personal stressors that can rewire us sometimes. And there are a lot of other things that influence our self-talk and habits sometimes.

So, let’s give ourselves some grace first. Second, when we peel away layers of inner dialogue and self-talk, it helps to do this mindfully and with loving awareness. Mindfulness is paying attention in the moment, purposely. After learning about this technique years ago in social work, writing about it, talking about it, and practicing it myself, I still have to do it. Be it, really. (Yep, I’m still a Soul having a Human experience)

Honestly, I’m not trying to minimize your thoughts or feelings (of uncertainty, anxiety, panic, etc.), but it can be calming to see things in the moment, 100% present, right in front of you. Not 14 years ago, not 14 years from now, but here. For sure, 2020 hasn’t always been pleasant and sometimes we like to escape, but it can be valuable to be here now. In a way, you’ll prove to yourself that you can be and you may feel less ragged, more grounded.

2) Reframe What’s There & Use What You’ve Got

  1. Try to start by asking yourself: “Where am I stuck?” or “What am I getting overwhelmed about?” For example: “I don’t know where to start on this project.” (Yours truly)
  2. After weeks of here-and-there progress and scattered ideas, I got off my chair and tried something totally new. I got a pack of Post-its out, wrote all my fears out on them and stuck them to the glass door. Then I imagined what my grandmother would say or a good friend (even a lovingly blunt friend or family member). I pictured what my strengths were and how they may tell me, and I stuck those on the glass too.
  3. Then I had an incredibly logical person help: an engineer… Sometimes this dynamic can be challenging, but sometimes it can be really useful! I asked them to use their instinct and if they saw strengths that matched with the fears, categorially, match them and place the strengths on the fears.
  4. Oh, they did… And there were strengths left over. This wasn’t because I wrote more strengths; on the contrary, I wrote out more fears.

Their KEY statement: “You’ve got enough to cover it…”

And, Women—that’s what I’m saying to you right now, too. Twenty bucks, you’ve got more strengths in you than you realize or maybe even acknowledge. We’ve been conditioned to believe a lot of B.S., but let’s shift this one moment at a time.

3) Get Real About Your Self-Distractions & Course Correct

I’ve already talked about my planner a wee bit, which has helped tremendously by the way! But you know what else has helped? Figuring out when I distract myself vs. when outside things distract me. Like today, I was on a roll and had to tackle an impromptu visit. That’s ok… I mean, I couldn’t be totally rude and tell them to leave me alone; they know I work from home. And they’re a good person.

But one of the best ways I can be in my own way is when I go do something not related to the project or goal and I’m on a roll. Does that make sense?

Sure, the mug of tea or taking in calories to keep existing helps during the day, but sometimes that loaf of bread doesn’t have to happen then. Or, the 146th conversation with the spouse doesn’t have to happen then, because the subject has been talked to death for the time being. What about focusing on a project that can help others thrive? The bread or conversation can be left for another time.

At the end of the day, give yourself grace for the things out of your control and your reactions to it and boil down some of the barriers that seem to be overwhelming. Sometimes even the maze of thoughts can become awareness… Meaning, if we look at a maze and go, “Well, this sucks [and it may for the moment], and where in the hell am I going?” we can still shift. Try to hold a more inclusive, intersectional view. Consider: “This feels like a maze, but I will be in this experience mindfully, purposely, and fully here.” And then, the peace can come and we aren’t in our way anymore… 

What do you feel or think about these strategies? What do you do for yourself that I haven’t listed? It’s a big world and we can all have different methods that work for us. Feel free to contact me if you want privacy or leave a comment below. As always: I am grateful for you, your journey, and your growth, Friends!

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