I’ve long believed in the saying that ‘The greatest barrier we have is ourselves’. I’ve also been conflicted and wanted to believe that no, our barriers are external factors; it’s a touch of what we’re born in to, perhaps even the opportunities we’re given.
Of course external factors can contribute, but yeah let’s be real, it’s mostly up to us. We are the ones that can lean on our strengths to build up our weaknesses.
Parts of my personality that I’ve considered fixed, unchangeable – they’re constantly evolving. Call it a growth spurt or a call to arms of sorts to begin to adult. But some quirks are easier to work through than others. Yet the hard ones, the gritty ones, they’re normally worth more than you think.
My long-held fear of public speaking is still very much a fear. It’s no longer a paralyzing fear but a work in progress. The more I unpack it, the more I look at the layers of dread to understand it, the greater chance I have of overcoming it. When speaking in public, I’d always imagine the reaction of others and would feed off that energy, normally making me doubt myself or doubting the opinions I held. I’m not doing this for others I now realise – it is primarily for myself.
It is essentially the same attitude I have towards my writing. I’m not writing for everyone, I’m writing for who I’d like to hear from. People with real life experiences, tangible changes they’ve sought to their current selves, situations that they’ve improved because they realised that the main block in their path was themselves.
A useful technique I learnt when I’m feeling particularly anxious is to imagine the worst possible case scenario and the outcome. The “and then” that makes you freeze up and say no, it’s possible.
I’m presenting an idea and someone interrupts me and then I stop nervously and blush and get muddled with whatever I’m saying.
No, let’s try that again with a solution in mind.
I’m presenting an idea at work and someone interrupts me and then I wait for them to finish before continuing.
It’s a bit anti-climatic but it works.
See? Yours might look different. Think of them as your armour when shit sounds tough. This can be applied to so much more than public speaking (that’s just a particularly tricky one for me to overcome). Use it next time you need to prepare for an interview, confront a friend or leave the gym you’ve been paying for since October last year. Don’t be Chandler. Go in with the strength of what you’ve already overcome in your mind.
The more you start unpicking your thoughts and patterns, the greater control you’ll have over your thoughts and patterns. It can be messy. I wouldn’t suggest doing it with wine. Or do – just make sure you record it so I can use it in my next article.
Image Sources: E3 Solutions