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What holds you back?

69-Jagged Rocks and SeaI invite you to consider this question using the image of the jagged rocks as a back drop. Notice the opening in the rocks. Do you see a narrow opening or perhaps a wide expanse? Do you see danger or adventure? Are you thinking I could never scale that or what an accomplishment I can achieve?

These are just a few questions to inspire reflection; I’m sure others will arise for each individual. I engaged in this exercise with a client who was dissatisfied with his career path. He experienced how a simple image and provocative question reveals so much.

We used this image as a metaphor for his career. As he considered the image, it reflected how he was limited from a career perspective. The opening was too narrow to break through, once on the other side, there was only a very long drop, danger was very high. Any change he would make was too scary, it would take a very long time to break into a new field and he was afraid he would fail; he was sure he could never get through the opening and make the leap.

A few additional questions allowed him to explore further which revealed that he desperately wanted to make changes in his career, however, his thoughts about what was possible held him back. As he began to consider the wide expanse beyond the opening, he saw exciting possibilities, danger decreased as he realized that many of his skills were transferable. He was able to shift from danger to adventure which led to considering options.

Our language is extremely powerful and, for sure, generates our reality. Think about how different things seem when we think danger vs. adventure, nervousness vs. excitement, worry vs. mindfulness. What are the words that hold YOU back?

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