It’s ironic, I actually bought this book for my son Evan over five years ago. We used to play that game, the one where I would grab his hand and lovingly have him hit himself, and I would say, “Stop hitting yourself”. He would giggle, and I would say, “Come on, stop hitting yourself!”, and he would giggle more. For those out there about to call child protective services, I promise it was all out of love.
As I was going through my week, it occurred to me that we hit ourselves all the time. Maybe not literally, although I’ve been tempted, but how often do we stand in our own way, trip over ourselves, or sabotage our own success? I don’t have a study or a statistic, but I’m pretty sure it happens way too often.
Have you been standing in your own way in work, love, or life? I suspect we are all standing in our own way in some form or fashion. So what do you do to stop hitting yourself?
Here are 5 things I’ll be doing this week to get out of my own way:
1. Talk to myself instead of listen to myself. Ok, I know, I already talk to myself and answer myself, but this is different. We send ourselves negative messages that are completely self-defeating. Attitudes can only be formed, fed, and nurtured by suggestions in our minds and words that come out of our mouths. The change is subtle, but over time, we believe ourselves. We must be diligent about shutting down negative thoughts and deliberate about what we say to ourselves.
2. Stop striving to be mediocre. It’s so easy to get wrapped up trying to “fix” our weaknesses, and the result is that we end up with mediocrity. If you’re introverted, you might have a desire to be more social, and if you’re extremely extraverted, maybe you want to be more introspective. Find the things you do well, that come naturally to you, and focus on those! Find your strengths and leverage them.
3. Stop trying to move mountains. Rather than breaking your back, and your spirit, by trying to accomplish everything at once, focus on making subtle changes, consistently. Once you master those, move on to others. When we try to do everything at once, we defeat ourselves before we even get started.
4. See the forest. My husband and I were philosophizing over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the other night, and it dawned on us that we had gotten so sucked into the daily grind, we forgot to make sure we were still looking at the bigger picture. I’m turning another year older in April, that’s right, I’ll be 21 again, and I don’t want to look up 10 years from now and feel like I’ve missed out on living life to its fullest.
5. Have someone push you out of the way. If you’re not willing to get out of your own way, have a friend or loved one push you, just not into oncoming traffic. While we all like friends that are sweet and loving, we also need the ones that don’t BS, pull any punches, and will hold our feet to the fire. Remember not to limit yourself to your BFF’s. Also try to find BBF’s (Business Best Friends).
6. Challenge yourself. While you certainly don’t want to set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals, you also need to stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone. I absolutely love this video…it gets me every time.
7. Lighten up! I don’t know how or when, but we have gotten SO uptight and serious. Next time you get in an elevator, watch how all of the people just stare straight ahead or at the numbers to avoid conversation. While there are certainly days I do the same, sometimes I’ll burst out with a joke. “Ok, two guys walk into a bar. Third one ducks.” People can’t help but smile, and smiling is contagious.
Next time you’re feeling stuck, remember…STOP HITTING YOURSELF!