​5 Simple Steps to Get Out of Your Own Way

“Getting in your own way” is the biggest obstacle you face when you set your sights on a big, juicy goal. When you set your mind on achieving something, there are always obstacles to overcome - time, money, other people, motivation, lack of know-how... But compared to the obstacle that is lack of self-belief, the others are mere trifles. The biggest obstacle of all is YOU, getting in your own way, paralysing yourself through fear and self-doubt. Ultimately, the buck really does stop here! Want to get out of your own way? Have more self-belief? Get on with achieving your boldest dreams? Good! Let's get you out of your own way, right now, with 5 simple and reasonably painless steps!

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Here are 5 steps to getting out of your own way, with “coach yourself” questions for each:

1. Get clear on what it is that you actually want.

This is life coaching 101. It sounds like a bit of a cop-out as the first of the 5 steps, but it’s as essential as laying strong foundations when building a house. If you don’t get this bit right the next bits won’t stick. You might think you know what you want, but often, it’s what you think you should want. What you think you want might be as a result of social conditioning - i.e. what other people say and do.

Coach Yourself:

  • What makes my heart sing?
  • What would I do if I only had to answer to me?
  • How does this make me feel inside when I imagine myself achieving it?

2. Get curious as to WHY you’re getting in your own way

There’s no judgment here, nor do you need to go into therapy or blame your parents! This is just about accepting yourself - warts and all, as imperfectly perfect (or is it perfectly imperfect). This step is about being KIND to yourself and gently, with curiosity and love, enquiring as to the root of the self-doubt.

Coach yourself

  • Exactly why don’t I believe in myself?
  • What are the stories I’ve been playing over and over in my head to reinforce this lack of self-belief?
  • How have these stories been protecting me or serving me?

The idea of this step is to raise your awareness. Once we question why we’re doing something, we can start to change it. So maybe there’s another way for you to think about yourself?

You don’t have to force this step. And remember, it’s not a one step wonder. Just start getting into the habit of gently questioning assumptions when you are being hard on yourself. And give it time!

3. Play the “What if?” game

This is really powerful. You know how great us women are at imagining worse case scenarios? Your partner is half an hour late back from work and you can’t get in touch with him. Your mind starts creating horrifying conclusions:

  • “What if he’s been in a crash?”
  • “What if he’s having an affair?”
  • “What if he’s been kidnapped by aliens?”

Well, maybe not the last, unless you’re really imaginative. But you get the picture!

Now, we’re going to flip your innate “what iffing” skill and use it to help you get out of your own way. Start thinking about the BEST possible case scenario of you getting out of your own way and believing in yourself. Time to play the POSITIVE what iffing game!

Coach Yourself
Here are a few What If examples. Come up with your own and write a list!

  • What if I succeed?
  • What if it’s easier than I thought?
  • What if they say YES?
  • What if this is the start of something amazing?
  • What if I can make this FUN?

4. Take your positive what ifs out to play!

Now that you’ve got a list of positive what ifs that relate to what you really really want (see step 1), I’d like you to start playing with these what ifs. Say them out loud - and say them like you mean them.

Just to give you an idea of what I mean by this: When I do this with my Stepping Up Programme clients, we pretend they are in an audition for a role. I have to BELIEVE that they believe it when they say “What if I can actually do this?” So you need to say it like you mean it!

Coach yourself

Say those positive what ifs out loud, big smile on your face, shoulders back, chest out, chin up. Convince yourself!

5. Learn to Trust yourself

Back in the 1970s, when I was growing up, my mum swore by Dr. Spock. He was the Penelope Leach of childcare experts back in the day. Dr. Spock had a piece of advice for new mums that I regard as the best parenting advice ever:

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do”

But it’s not just applicable to new parents; it’s for you too.

When you’re getting in your own way, you are doubting yourself and this is the opposite of trust. If you don’t think that you can trust yourself to do that thing you want to do, it’s time to start looking back at your life and noticing all of the things you’ve achieved that you never thought you could.

Coach yourself:

  • What have I achieved that took courage and determination?
  • Was I 100% certain that I would achieve it beforehand?
  • How did it make me feel when I achieved it?

These are the first 5 foundational steps to getting out of your own way. Like any self-development advice, they will only work if you:

1. Actually do them rather than simply reading about them

2. Keep practising them

3. Have realistic expectations: You’ll have ups and downs on your path to self-belief throughout your life.

4. Get support. This is crucial, because when life throws curveballs, you can be as resilient as they come. But even the strongest, toughest amongst us needs someone to lean on. You need someone who can tell you, “You can do this” for the times when you can’t convince yourself”

Now, go do! I send you love, laughter and bags of self-belief!

Amanda Alexander

Helping extraordinary women to achieve extraordinary success since 2003, Amanda Alexander

Amanda Alexander is one of the UK’s Top Life Coaches; she has been helping professional women to achieve extraordinary success since 2003. She gets a bee in her bonnet when she sees brilliant women holding themselves back because of self-doubt. So she created an "Imposter Syndrome Quit Kit" to help you get out of your own way and get on with reaching your full potential! You can download a complimentary copy of Amanda’s Imposter Syndrome Quit Kit here: www.amandaalexander.com p.s. Let me know what you score in the Imposter Syndrome Test!


Go to the profile of Suzy Walker
over 6 years ago
Thanks Amanda.
Go to the profile of Kirstin Barton
over 6 years ago
Excellent article Amanda, I really enjoyed it and had no hesitation sharing it. Thank you!
Go to the profile of Amanda Alexander
over 6 years ago
Thank you Kirstin! :) x
Go to the profile of Marianne Power
over 6 years ago
like this, very helpful - thanks x
Go to the profile of Amanda Alexander
over 6 years ago
Glad you found it helpful Marianne - thank you!