Holding Back & Why We Do It
Why do we hold back? Essentially, much of it boils down to fear. Fear of not being good enough, fear of failure.
Now taking a step back.
I recently shared in a Facebook Live, some different ways to explore limiting beliefs. What they are, and why it is important to know them.
If we don’t know what our limiting beliefs are. We don’t know what impact, they are having, on how we live our lives.
Our limiting beliefs, or stories, can mean that we don’t consider certain options available to us. In life, in our goals, or in our choices. They simply won’t cross our minds.
Or , if we do become aware of those choices, but we dismiss them out of hand. Or we come up with all the reasons it won’t work, without properly testing the truth, or beliefs behind it.
Finally, if we do go forward, we might hold back. And this is the self-sabotage focused on in this blog.
I should add, that yes, we still do some of those things, including holding back, even when we know our limiting beliefs. However, awareness means we we can work through those challenges more productively. We can move through the fear in a different way.
Why would we want to? Because the challenge is, even when we get going. When we let fear do the talking, we often prove it right.
Goals & Holding Back
Fear and goals, what does it cause?
It usually stops us from doing anything at all, or from doing the scary thing, or from going all in. We may take some steps but not all. Or only partially carry out some of the steps. We can be tentiviate and hesitant.
And what happens when we hold back?
Well more often than not we don’t succeed in our goals, or not to the same extent that we wanted to. Usually because we didn’t get to do as much of the work, that we wanted, or needed to do.
We often hold back in different ways, that we may not fully realise aside from specific actions.
For example we don’t share what we are doing. We undersell or don’t sell. We focus on the minutia.We put things off, or ‘run out of time’. We hold back in various ways, both emotionally and physically, from taking the desired (but usually slight scary) action.
The result – we prove ourselves ‘right’ that we couldn’t succeed, by not succeeding.
After all. If we don’t truly put ourselves out there. Then we aren’t open, and vulnerable, to failure.
Plus, by doing it this way, we have a ready excuse as to why it didn’t work out. To tell ourselves and others. I couldn’t give it my all, I was too busy, too tired, too etc etc.
So, as mentioned, we set the goal, We hold back. We don’t achieve the goal. We tell ourselves we were right not to have started, or tried. We prove ourselves right.
We can say ‘see, told you it wouldn’t work’.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right,” – Henry Ford
What next? Well, depending on our next level of motivation, we can either go back into the cycle, and do the same. Do something different in the cycle to break it. Or give up completely.
We all do it, at different times. And, whilst there are other reasons why we self sabotage, this is one of them. What we need to do is break the cycle, build on our learning, if needed, or take the specific actions needed each time, until we reach our goal.
How To Make A Change
The first step to breaking the cycle, is realising what you might be doing.
Simply by noticing what is already happening, the reason you are holding back, can create a new type of motivation. You may suddenly find it a bit easier to do the difficult work, create a new way of tackling what needs to be done, do something different. Different actions.
You may immediately feel motivated to give it your all, your best, 100%, go go go go! And if so, fantastic, use that energy to create the change you want.
However, sometimes this motivational expression can make it feel too hard. Too exhausting, unachievable, overwhelming or similar. Especially when there is a lot involved. Or when you hit an emotionally tricky action, or step, or you feel blocked.
At those times, simply focusing on the next step can be key. Rather than looking too far ahead, you just focus on what is coming up next.
Another way is to focus on an upgrade. What more you can do in the moment, right now, or this week. You focus on giving another 10%.
Right now, bearing in mind whatever your goal is. What would ‘10% more’ look like/feel like/mean/involve?’
And then plan accordingly.
What do you think? Did that 10% give you the energy boost and practical ideas you needed to move things forward? If not, did you stop to plan and write down the next steps, or just focus on the energy?
The planning is important.
Could focusing on that 10% move you forward when things get tough? Would it motivate a little more when energy is down, or challenges (internally and externally) are up? After all, our best in any given moment, can differ to the next.
Limiting beliefs, worry, holding back, fear of not being good enough, fear of failure.
What would that 10% do to get you past those fears?
Let me know what comes up for you, or what you achieve as a result of any changes you make.