“Betty, I’m ready to get out of my own way.”

The words were music to my ears, even though I got them by way of a Facebook post. They were from a former coaching client of mine, and she’s someone I’ve been urging for a long time now to visit Toastmasters. She’s written two children’s books, started her own company, and is eager to get out in the world to do readings and presentations, and to promote her books and her business.

Anyone who is a regular reader of my column – or who’s known me for more than a few minutes –knows what a fan and fanatic I am about Toastmasters. It’s one of the best organizations in the world for developing speaking and leadership skills – to name just the big ones – and it’s an organization I recommend enthusiastically and often.

But that’s only part of the reason I was excited to read that my friend was finally going to attend a Toastmasters meeting. More important was her acknowledging that she was the main obstacle blocking her own path to success – and that she was ready to do something about it.

It’s often said that we are our own worst enemies, and I know that to be true. Not only have I seen it in other people, but I recognize it in myself. I hate admitting this, because one of the things I do for others is help them see where they’re holding themselves back, and what they need to do to get out of their own way. For many of us, it’s something fairly minor and easy to remedy that stops us in our tracks, but we still avoid it as long as we can. And we allow it to build and grow, forming a bottleneck that can keep us from getting anything else done.

When we finally force ourselves to take action – or when other circumstances force us – we often discover that our fears and apprehensions were unfounded. We realize that whatever we were avoiding or neglecting wasn’t any big deal after all, and our reaction is, “Why didn’t I do this long ago?”

Is there something you’ve been avoiding, neglecting, or failing to take action on even though it’s keeping you from reaching a goal or fulfilling a dream? It could be something major or minor. It could be because of something you don’t want to do or don’t know how to do. It could be that you’re afraid you’ll fail, or even that you’re afraid you’ll succeed, and then you’d have to commit to another task or decision.

If you can relate to this, I suggest that you first try to figure out what’s keeping you from taking that next step. Then take it anyway. Break it down into one specific action you can take right away, whether it’s going online to get more information, picking up the phone to make an appointment or get a question answered, or – like my friend – finding out where the nearest Toastmasters meeting is.

No matter where you’re going in life, or what goals and dreams you are pursuing, the fastest way to get there is to get out of your own way.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on July 17, 2014.
©Betty Liedtke, 2014

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