No pain, no gain.
How many times have you been repeating this in your head?
Working in highly competitive environments? ==> Keeping up more or less.
Adapting to the new times, the technologies, the floating desks, the meetings … all of them? ==> Done that.
And now what?
Where is the passion, where is the excitement and where is the motivation?
The pushing and pulling are getting things done, but not doing anything to re-ignite the fire inside; all paining and …not gaining.
This, my friends, is called reaching a plateau.
A plateau is actually a good thing! It’s the consolidation of a new comfort zone.
Until it becomes too tight (again).
As frustrating as it may seem, it’s a greatly good opportunity to pause a second, and observe how you have evolved, and how your own process has shifted.
And with the process, comes also our own bottlenecks. Those self-sabotaging behaviors that can keep us stuck.
We all have our own kryptonite…
But before you start the cursing and self-bullying, know that kryptonite only works on superpowers!
What are yours?
The 3 (+1) of them all evils…
How many times do you say ‘later’ when your brain said ‘now’; the distraction happened and then ‘later’ became either a ‘never’ or a big ‘oopsie’?
I can count many of those and I am sure I am not the only one here.
Procrastination ain’t your friend;
Sure it may have some upsides – the need for more time to integrate new information, to feel more inspired, or just be in a better place before kicking ass.
But all in, procrastination remains the queen and king of them all self-sabotages .
And … it comes in different shapes and forms.
Kryptonite 1: Perfectionism
Show of hand!, how many would answer ‘perfectionism’ as your go-to to the ‘tell me about your weaknesses’ question?
It’s very pleasing!
It spells ‘attention to details’ and ‘high standards’ (your superpowers).
As much as it may sound cool to claim out ‘I am such a perfectionist!’, the reality of it is that you may come across as someone difficult to work with because of your impossible standards.
Worse yet, you will be perceived as the person who prefers to spend more time on the tiny stuff and completely misses the big picture, meeting deadlines and deliverables.
What to do?
Decide at some point what your ‘good enough’ looks like; accept that perfection is a bottomless pit, and your time and skills are needed elsewhere.
Kryptonite 2: Overthinking
That paralysis by over-analysis.
A close parent to perfectionism.
It loves building scenarios and seeing risks and potentials and possibilities.
It’s the trait of highly creative people. And also their downfall.
Because while the train and the boat are long gone, no decision has been made and the problem is still staring in the face.
You may then be labeled that person that critiques everything but never comes up with a solution.
Worse yet, you are great for brainstorming sessions but incapable of leading a project, let alone a team.
Use your creative imagination!
- What would it look like if you actually took option A?
- What would happen if you didn’t?
Play with the different options; accept that certain doors will need to be closed in order to leave you with the best option.
Your brain is on high powered energy when you give it some time and space to serve you. Remember that!
Kryptonite 3: Imposter syndrome
Let me clear something up: we all have it, we just don’t call it the same.
We all have self-doubts and wonder whether we will be up to the task.
It is healthy to have self-doubts – it makes us humble and realistic as to what we need to improve.
That imposter is not (healthy) when it paralyzes us completely; when it keeps us within that lane that we have outgrown; and when we end up apologizing for getting the new job, the promotion or the raise.
Name your imposter!
Seriously, give it a name, a face, a symbol. And ask them what they are trying to tell you: Is it helpful? Good! It isn’t? bye-bye!
Interestingly, perfectionism, over-thinking, and imposter syndrome can be a modified version of each other.
The reality: they become quickly our favorite place of hiding and our comfort zone (not in a good way). They make us feel in control but to the point of exhaustion.
But, let me ask you…what would happen if you ventured outside that zone of control?
And the glorious-est of them all
The answer is: your expansion zone.
It may be a scary place because we can see where it starts (at the end of the comfort zone), but we don’t know where it ends – a big jump into the unknown.
The brain doesn’t like that, and it’s going to rebel and bring you back to the safety zone.
But what if there is something in the new zone that 1/ you can control and 2/ that would be working for your greater good?
How to? build your own future.
Give your brain the information it needs to feel back in control, to see that it’s not the wild, wild west out there, but something that you are deciding upon. And asking your brain to do what it does best: help you get there.
Step 1: how do you want to be in the near future?
Give your brain some food for thoughts in its favorite form: imagine your ideal state of mind.
- What are the thoughts you’d like to have?
- How would you like to feel?
Describe the ideal ‘being me’ in details, and allow the brain to see it in visualization and elicit the feelings into your body.
Your brain and body are now having a pleasant and productive experience – it’s their (and your) new reality.
Step 2: Align your goals
Write down your goals and check-in with yourself.
- Do they make you feel alive?
- Do they elicit in you the same feelings and thoughts that you want your future you to be and have?
If not, go back to the drawing board and hone in your why’s.
If you want xyz to make someone else happy, then think again. What’s in it for you?. It’s not selfish; it’s being aligned with your inner desires to expand, improve, access your inner mastery, and work for your dreams…not somebody else’s and especially not when they contradict yours (you know, that little iffy feeling inside…).
Step 3: anchor, rinse and repeat
Let’s summarize where we are right now:
- You know how you want to be,
- You know what you want to feel and experience,
- You know the hows and the whats and the whys.
Now, how to make it pass the tests of distractions and too little time / too much to do?
Work with your brain.
Create your own madeleine. Let me explain (nothing to do with baking!)
In his book ‘Remembrance of all Things Past’, French author Marcel Proust describes how the smell of the little pastry would automatically remind him of a soothing childhood memory.
In Neuro-linguistic Programming, it’s also called ‘anchoring’. This is where you create a positive trigger that will bring you back to what’s important for you.
Find something that is healthy and joyful: a picture, an inspiring quote, a symbol. And reference back to it as soon as you feel you are slipping away.
- Remind your brain to also look at what you appreciate in life right now (you can find an appreciation calendar in my free resources).
- Allow it to sleep on your ideas and give you some new ones as you give it space from distractions.
- And most importantly, find enjoyment in what you do.
Not everything is fun per se. But you can find enjoyment in celebrating your own victories, no matter how small or big!
Can you rinse and repeat this one too?