Updated: Mar 14, 2021
Have you ever found yourself going along, everything seems great but you just can’t seem to get all the way “there”?
You can't seem to get to that goal you’ve been working for, that job you’ve always wanted, that dream you want to pursue or all the way to where you were really hoping to get? There are known blocks that cause you to get in the way of yourself. You think, how is that possible that I am getting in my own way? Most emotions come from thoughts. If you pay attention to your thoughts and the “voices” in your head, you will see where these blocks come from. Identifying the block or blocks that are in your way is one of the first steps in removing them. What are the 4 blocks? You may hear them referred to by different names in the personal development world, but they are essentially these:
Limiting beliefs – beliefs that you hold whether true or not that limit you in some way
Inner Critic – That inner voice that tells you that you are not good enough
Every time block – Because something happened a certain way in the past, you believe that it will happen that way every time.
Story block – The story you create about an action or a person that you believe to be true
Here is a little more about each one:
Limiting Beliefs – A common limiting belief is “girls are supposed to be pretty, thin and quiet”. While you hope that someone doesn’t really believe this, if subconsciously you do and you are a girl, you might be obsessed with your looks, obsessed with your weight, not try as hard in school or don’t voice your opinion. Some limiting beliefs have become societal norms or created in our society at large. Some are generated by your family history or something that your parent said to you when you were young. Another common limiting belief is that “people with money are greedy and bad”. If you believe this somewhere in your core, you might self-sabotage just as you start to gain monetary success in your career. How do you stop? Awareness is the key to stopping limiting beliefs. If you are stuck in some way from achieving an important goal and you don’t know why, think about if there are any beliefs you might have that are limiting you and keeping you from getting there.
Inner Critic – The inner critic is one of the most disempowering aspects of the human psyche. Everyone experiences an inner critic to a certain extent. Some people’s inner critics are more powerful and active than others. The inner critic is that internal voice that tells you that you are not lovable, not worthy, not enough, not smart enough, not strong enough, not big enough, not thin enough and any other version of “not enough-ness” you can imagine. The inner critic is created by your subconscious ego in some way to protect you. Although that seems hard to believe when it’s having a hey day with your emotions, if you look deep, sometimes you can determine why. Not feeling lovable for example maybe got created at a deep level to keep you safe from being hurt if at some point in your life you equated being loved with pain. Like with limiting beliefs, awareness is helpful in combatting your inner critic. Some people suggest giving your inner critic a name and talking to “her” or “him” in a loving way to help you get past whatever it is keeping you safe from. Some people suggest telling your inner critic to f-off whenever it shows up. You can decide the most effective way of dealing with it, just know it’s there and don't let it take over.
Every time block – This is the belief you hold either consciously or subconsciously that because something happened a certain way in the past, it will happen that way every time. For example, if you asked someone out on a date and they said no in a pretty brutal way, you may be too afraid to ask anyone out again because you assume that you will get rejected every time you try. While this can seem like an extreme example, you may have a subtle belief like this operating in your subconscious that keeps you from moving forward. Another example could be asking for a promotion. Maybe when you were little your mom asked for a raise and got turned down and your brother tried to get promoted and didn’t get the job. You might have a belief, that you may not even realize, that if you try to progress in your career or ask for a promotion, you won’t get it because in your mind that happens every time. This may keep you from ever working at an optimal level because what’s the point?
Story block – This is a belief that may or may not be true that you believe to be true because of a story you made up about it. An example might be if a friend didn’t call you back for a day or two, you may start to wonder if you did something wrong and start to build a story about that. The human brain loves certainty and loves to be right so you will start to search for evidence that you are right. By the time your friend calls you a couple of days later, you might be completely worked up and maybe even mad at them because of all of the stories you made up about why they didn’t call. When you talk to them you find out they were out of town, which you knew but totally forgot about. You find out that nothing was wrong, and you went through all of that suffering for nothing. This is one of the easiest blocks to manage once you start to recognize that you are creating stories and simply stop before you get started. Wait to find out if you are right before you make up a story about it.
As you start to watch for these blocks, you will see them more often in your life and you’ll be able to move through them more quickly or avoid them all together. Notice, the acronym for these blocks is LIES. That’s because whether or not they are conscious or subconscious, these are lies we create that keep us stuck.
This blog post contains my interpretation of the copyrighted work of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)