The only victory that counts is the one over yourself. - Jesse Owens
When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give the right things a chance to catch you. - Unknown
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. - Theodore Roosevelt
Whatever you focus on expands. - Unknown

The 3 Things Holding You Back from the Life of Your Dreams

Research on blocks to success show that there are three things that top the list of what holds most people back from having the life they want. These three things cause us to shut down emotionally, physically and spiritually. Only when we are willing to look inward, not outward, can we dismantle the parts of our personalities that have controlled us for so long-such as these three things - unworthiness, powerlessness and fear. When we open up to our strength, personal power, self-worth and feelings of deserving, we can truly experience excitement and joy about our life's dreams.

  1. "I am unworthy."

Unworthiness and shame are often deeply rooted in our childhoods, yet these things can be banished as adults. Some people feel they are unworthy of any good thing that comes to them. Others never let any good thing come to them because they feel unworthy of them. These people will self-sabotage every time they start to feel success. Thoughts such as "It's too good to be true," and "This can't last forever because it is too good" are experiences of unworthiness. You feel unworthy of what the universe has given you, you feel that you do not deserve it, that the other shoe will fall, and it is only a matter of time before you will get what you really deserve, which will be painful.

When people feel unworthy, they feel vulnerable in the world, leading to lack of self-confidence. Often what goes hand-in-hand with unworthiness is the feeling that you do not belong, or that you will always be an "outsider." It is the idea that you are flawed and cannot be fixed. It is wanting to be loved but feeling unlovable. It is the feeling that no matter what you do, it is not going to be good enough. It is the thinking that if people knew who you really were, they would reject you. Call it insecurity, inadequacy, incompetence, it all stems from lack of self-esteem. It is never too late to work on one's self esteem. Low self-worth leads to feelings and behaviors that are unhealthy, such as anger, jealousy, vindictiveness, superiority, inferiority and self-sabotage. A good coach can help you find your true self and the courage to live it.

  1. "I am powerless."

Beneath all of this unworthiness is the experience of powerlessness-of feeling powerless to be a real part of life, to love, to be loved, to affect the world, to be heard, to be worth hearing or to have something worth saying. It is feeling powerless to use one's own gifts and talents and have them appreciated by the world. These feelings are very painful. It is the most painful experience on earth, yet everyone feels it to some extent.

The pain of powerlessness puts a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves and those around us. To avoid the pain, some people will attempt to reach outward continually, relentlessly, to change others or their world. Pursuing external power-the ability to manipulate and control-is one way of avoiding the pain of powerlessness. However, every pursuit of external power-every attempt to change the world or a person in order to make yourself feel valuable and safe-is a distraction from the pain of powerlessness. Many people attempt to mask the pain of powerless by taking on "isms," such as workaholism, alcoholism, perfectionism, and so on. Some people go to extremes to hide their vulnerability. Whether one fights for power or surrenders to others' power, they are two extremes that ultimately make our pain worse. The goal is to get to a healthy middle ground, and to achieve this balance, we must accept our inner power and use it.

  1. "I am afraid."

Underlying the first two things that hold you back is fear. It is by far the number one saboteur of success. Most people fear the unknown. They fear change. They fear failure, success, disapproval, criticism, pain and struggle. Fear keeps people persisting in unhappy and dysfunctional situations, because they know that changing the situation will lead to the unknown, which may be even more painful than what they are currently experiencing. Your fears may be rational or irrational. They need to be examined in the context of reality to determine how great the risk really is. You need to determine whether the changes you are considering are likely to increase your likelihood of a more satisfying, happier life.

Fear is with us for a reason. It protects us from danger. However, many times our fears are overly intense and not based in reality. If you want to deal with an irrational fear, you may want to do research on the goals at which you fear you will fail. Through research, you can to some extent, determine the likelihood of success and assess whether your fears are founded. For instance, if you are afraid of applying to a particular graduate school, you can look at statistics on what percentage of applicants are accepted into the program, what percentage of those accepted complete the program, and what percentage of those that complete the program successfully find jobs.

Another way to assess your likelihood of success or failure is to ask ten people who know you well what they think of your ability to achieve a particular goal. If all or most of them say they think it is an unrealistic goal, this should tell you something. On the other hand, if all or most of them feel strongly that you could achieve this goal, it is likely they are correct. Having supportive, caring, familiar people help us to analyze our risk is a more objective method than determining our risk all by ourselves.

Psychological studies have shown that people may regret actions more than inactions at first, but over a longer period of time they come to regret inactions more than actions. One study found that when elderly people were asked about their greatest lifetime regrets, 63 percent of the regrets were about inaction. Just knowing this statistic can help you overcome fears and doubts about your own action and feel more ready to take risks and pursue your goals.

We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.

---John F. Kennedy

The One Change You Need to Make in Your Head

There are ways of mentally restructuring your thoughts to put fears into a new perspective. Try substituting the phrase "learning experience" for "failure." For example, instead of saying, "I failed to win the tennis match," try, "I learned that when playing this opponent, I should hit the ball to her backhand more often." This will give you a new goal for the next time you play, rather than making you anxious and fearful of defeat before you even begin the match. Perhaps you had a terrifying experience that is holding you back from taking risks and moving forward with your desires in life. If you put the experience into perspective as a single event, rather than a life sentence, you will experience relief. Likewise, the purpose of using the phrase "learning experience" is to realize that what seems like a failure is not an end to everything, but part of a larger growth process. In a competitive society we can be brainwashed into thinking that everything is either a win or a loss. Right vs. wrong. One up vs. one down. Good vs. bad. We need to refrain from this type of good-bad "splitting" and transfer to more positive thoughts.

Each time we replace negative, unworthy, powerless, fearful thoughts with confident, self-assured thoughts, we create authentic power. This is what "empowerment" is. When we create authentic power again and again, we become authentically powerful in the world. Each of us owns certain inalienable rights and one of those rights is "the pursuit of happiness." Own your rights!

The master key to riches, is thought by thought,

replace old negative thoughts with new positive thoughts.

---Napoleon Hill