I saw a big muscular dog running after a squirrel across the yard, only to freeze into place as soon as he reached the threshold of an electronic hidden fence. The squirrel he was chasing ran across the fence climbed up a tree. The dog kept barking to intimidate, but the squirrel had already realized the limitation of his ability. Soon she came down from the tree and started strolling in the yard beyond the hidden fence as she wanted to as the dog barked away.
I always knew how the hidden fence worked, and yet I couldn’t shake off how ironic this situation was. My shock began when I realized that the dog was not even wearing the ‘shock collar’. All I could think of was “that’s me”. We what we want, and many times we even know deep down that we can get to where we want to be, but we keep holding ourselves back.
We have our own brand of excuses and stalling techniques and we practice them diligently. After years we are so good at keeping ourselves away from our goals that we don't even realize we are doing it anymore.
As we step into the new year let's do an inventory of our hidden fences. Let’s ask ourselves “what is holding me back?”.
All behavior is learned. All fear in learned. If we don’t like where we are, we ‘do’ have the option of changing it.
Sick of watching yourself going in the same cycles year after year? Want to change? Start by following these simple but necessary steps:
1. Figure out what is it that you want? Try to make a list. It will help you focus towards the right direction.
2. Say it out loud so that you can own it. Write it down so that it registers deeper. Imagine yourself being in that state to increase motivation.
3. Write down all the nitty gritty steps that will lead to where you want to be. This allows you to think more deeply about the situation and consider all the barriers that stand in your way. Many times people realize that there are not that many barriers, or that they are easier to overcome than they thought.
4. Figure out all the places you have put up hidden fences that stop you in your tracks because of learned fear.
5. Decide to overcome them.
6. As the good people from Nike say “Just Do It!”. Follow through.
Easy said than done you say? I promise you that once you start to become brazen about what you want and are willing to shamelessly work hard to get it, doors will start to open up. The process itself will have enough built-in rewards as you go along that you will feed off of yourself.
Don't get overwhelmed, let your passion carry you, and break your challenge down, one barrier at a time. My only request is, be brave, don't give up and let’s just begin to claim what’s yours.