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Human Speed Humps

Human Speed Humps

    The External Saboteur

    Something’s bugging me today. In fact this something has bugged me for a while but the last few weeks it has become increasingly obvious to me that virtually all of us face similar challenges in one area of the creating-our-best-life process; support, encouragement and understanding from others. Or the lack thereof. You’ve heard me speak many times about the internal saboteur and our propensity to get in our own way (we all do that), well today I want to talk about the external saboteur; people who (for a range of reasons) aren’t really happy to see you succeed, achieve your goals, realise your potential or live your dreams. I could spend an hour or two telling you why they do this (jealousy, resentment, immaturity, revenge, insecurity, thoughtlessness, selfishness, stupidity), but I’d like to focus on a solution for you, rather than explore their motives and mindset.

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    How Dare You Succeed

    You and I both know these people. Sometimes we live with these people. Work with these people. Socialize with these people. Care for these people. Even marry these people (shock, horror). Sometimes he/she is the last person anyone would suspect of standing between you and your dreams. Your ambition and drive bothers them because somehow they have created an association (in their mind) between your success and some kind of negative outcome or effect in their world. They say they care about you (and maybe on a level they do) but in truth, your happiness and success come a distant second to their needs and wants.

    Human Speed Humps

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    You might be amazed at the number of people who become quite emotional (bawl their eyes out) when I talk with them simply because I show them more support, encouragement and belief in one hour than their family or close friends (I use that term loosely) have shown them in a lifetime. These external saboteurs are human speed humps determined to slow you down, if not, bring you to a grinding halt. They are not the reason we fail but if we don’t deal with them in a practical, realistic and possibly blunt manner, then we are letting them steer our ship, shape our reality and limit our potential.

    Some thoughts…

      1. Get them out of your life. Obviously this is not always possible, desirable, necessary or practical, however there comes a time, in some situations, with some relationships and some people, where the best option is to remove them from your day to day life. I know you know what I mean by this because we’ve all had that person in our life. I have walked away from several relationships over the years because I believed that’s what would be best for me in the long term. And it was. If people aren’t happy for you to succeed, then they ain’t your friend and you don’t need or want them in your world. If you want to know what (some) people really think, ignore ninety percent of what they say and watch one hundred percent of what they do.

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      2. Spend limited time with them. Obviously there are certain people who will (probably) always be in our life (family for example) but sadly, they are also often the people who potentially stand between where we are now, and where we want to be (if we let them have that power). Some parents (not mine) have never told their children how talented, creative, clever, capable, valued or loved they are. They have never encouraged or supported them because they want to retain power and control in that very lop-sided, unhealthy relationship. I know forty year-olds who are still seeking parental approval and still handing over their power to dear old mum (mom) and dad. Tragic.

      3. Tell them what you feel. Sometimes a simple and honest discussion will change a situation or a relationship almost instantly. Give the person clear, specific, relevant and meaningful feedback. Don’t be vague, general or fluffy. Tell them exactly what you’re feeling and why. A little short-term pain for some long-term gain

        . If you don’t take charge of your life, someone else will.

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        4. Get some balls. Not literally of course. Sometimes we simply need to stand up for ourselves and stop being the victim, the doormat, the scapegoat, the people pleaser and the personal slave. Make some decisions about your personal rules, values and standards and then build your best life around those. Stop compromising and start living.

        5. Be (very) selective about who you share your dreams with. For all of my adult life I have been a highly motivated, driven and ambitious person. By choice. Not particularly gifted but always striving to get the most out of my body, my career, my relationships and my potential; to maximize what I have. Several experiences early on taught me not to be overly enthusiastic about sharing my life goals and dreams with too many people. I learned to be selective and discerning about who I share my dreams with. When I established my first commercial business as a twenty four year-old with zero business experience and minimal skills, I encountered far more resentment, resistance and criticism than I ever did support or encouragement. The people who were genuinely and unconditionally happy for me to succeed were few and far between. By the way, this is not a woe-is-me story, but rather an honest account of my experience and I am not alone with a story like this. I have a few select people in my world, who will encourage and support me when it’s warranted and kick me in the ass when necessary. And I need both. I trust them, appreciate them and value their input in my life.

        So instead of slowing down for the speed humps or going around them today, perhaps it’s time for you to change down a gear, hit the gas and drive straight over them.

        Works for me.

        More by this author

        Craig Harper

        Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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        Last Updated on January 21, 2020

        5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

        5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

        In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

        Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut only to get back into another one.

        How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

        • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
        • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
        • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
        • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
        • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
        • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

        When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnancy in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help.

        Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

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        1. Realize You’re Not Alone

        Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths.

        Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

        2. Find What Inspires You

        Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation.

        What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

        On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem.

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        If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

        3. Give Yourself a Break

        When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

        Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave.

        Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future.

        These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

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        4. Shake up Your Routines

        Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

        Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’re 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

        When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

        5. Start with a Small Step

        Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

        Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward.

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        Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years.

        On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

        More to Help You Get Unstuck

        Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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