As you consider your day, your week, this quarter, what is holding you back from achieving what you have planned or working to achieve? Are constant interruptions the challenge? Unplanned meetings or events? Are they external reasons, i.e., phone calls, email, employees, boss, clients? Or are they internal reasons, limiting beliefs – i.e., false assumptions, everything has to be perfect, fear- of success, of failure, of the unknown, of disappointment, of disappointing someone, I can’t show vulnerability, I need to be in control, I’m not smart enough, I’m not good enough, and a false priority – e.g., I would rather be right than successful.

If you have never really thought about the “why” you are not meeting your plans it may be a good exercise to assess the situations that derail you, are they more external or internal? Here are five tips for managing external reasons that may be holding you back.

  • Build in more cushion in your daily schedule for the unplanned interruptions
  • Establish realistic boundaries, can the phone go to voicemail? Can you close your office door for an hour? Can you turn off the sound so that every time a new email message arrives you aren’t disturbed?
  • Schedule time to return calls, emails, and stop by the office of a frequent interrupter. Choose times that are not at your peak energy and best thinking times.
  • Evaluate the interruption and ask yourself if it is more important than what you are working on to complete your goals. If it is not as critical, ask the interrupter if you can get back with them in an hour or after the 3:00 deadline (set a specific time and then follow through with this commitment, it will send the message that you are not just pushing the person off, but that you really will get back with them at the time you said.)
  • Think about what you may be doing or not doing that is inviting the interruptions. 

After assessing your situations and you find internal reasons that are holding your back, here are some tips for reframing your limiting beliefs.

  • When you find yourself blocked by false assumptions, reframe your thinking with logic and specifics. E.g., From all or nothing thinking to logically considering alternatives that may fall in between and deliver a reasonable solution.
  • If you have issues with trusting others or perfectionism. Take small steps to achieve a successful outcome. E.g., If I provide thorough instructions, define the desired outcome, ask open-ended questions and listen, then check-in before the deadline offering encouragement and support, when the deadline arrives the successful outcome is likely to occur.
  • False priorities can be overcome by reframing so that you are doing the correct things so that what you desire will come to you. E.g., “I would rather look good than be successful”, when you focus on the elements that lead to success, the result will be you looking good.

Today, notice what is holding you back from achieving your goal, and identify whether it is external or internal. Then, take your one item you need to accomplish today and try to protect it with the, “knight’s armor” of ideas against interruptions and limiting beliefs.