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Are YOU Your Biggest Obstacle?

June 2, 2019

This months cuppa and a chat post was inspired by a realisation that I had a while back about myself. I was sitting on the train, going into London. My stomach was in knots, as it had been all morning. Even on the short distance into London I had talked myself into and out of the destination I was heading to. You see, I was off to meet a group of travel bloggers to have a catch up and a chat, and, like I always do, I was messing with my own head. I probably looked slightly mental as I was having a little convo with myself! I knew that it was time to work through the madness that goes on in my head, and maybe in many of our heads! Grab you cuppa you gorgeous lot, lets have a chat about why you could be your biggest obstacle……..

cuppa and a chat
Cuppa and a chat

I have spoken to you before about the irrational fears that I used to have about going to blogging events, and wrote about how I can at times fall into the comparison – the stealer of joy trap. When I first began to get invites, I would get the initial bubble of excitement, promptly replaced by a feeling of dread. A gazillion thoughts would go through my head ranging from the classic “No one will talk to me” to the irrational “they will all think who does she think she is, calling herself a blogger’. Before the day was out, my anxiety was high and I had usually talked myself out of going. Thankfully I got over that, and have enjoyed many an event since, (although I still have a million nervous wee’s on the way).

Are self limiting beliefs making you your biggest obstacle?

My latest self imposed wobble arose, and I knew I had to delve into and examine what was going on in my head. It dawned on me, sitting on that train, that it was my own self limiting beliefs that were stressing me out. It was ME that was my biggest obstacle as I allowed my thoughts to take hold. The thoughts creeping in are always a variation of the same, and the conversation in my head goes a little like this;

“Kerry, what the hell are you thinking. Your going to meet a group of travel bloggers. Firstly, they are going to look at you and think Oh, who brought their Nan, and secondly, your days of backpacking travel are long gone. These bloggers are all living their best lives, country hopping and sleeping in hostels. Not doing mini breaks to Prague! You will have nothing to talk to them about. They will just humour you and be polite….blah, blah, blah”

You get my drift?

are you your biggest obstacle
My own limiting beliefs held me back

I had totally made up this entire scenario of what I thought would happen. It occurred to me that not only was I creating my own drama, but my own self limiting beliefs, the way I thought about the situation, was stopping me reaching for my goals or just enjoying an event. It was hindering me from pushing forward. Also, if I was honest with myself, I was perhaps hiding behind what I saw as my obstacles. I was giving myself excuses as to why I hadn’t achieved what I wanted to.

So, what are self-limiting beliefs? These are false beliefs, that we put on ourself. They are assumptions or perceptions that you’ve got about yourself and about the way the world works. These assumptions are “self-limiting” because in some way they’re holding you back from achieving what you are capable of. Does that make sense? It did to me and kind of summed up my brain completely! So in my case, “Kerry you are to old to have anything in common with these youngsters” “Kerry, you are not travelling every week, what value can you add” “Kerry, you don’t have lots of social media followers, you are not in their league” Get it? I am putting these things in the way as obstacles. Me. No one else. I have never had a bad experience at events and everyone I have met in the travel blogger community are blooming lovely!

are you your biggest obstacle
meet ups are fun

These thoughts are destructive. They lead to a lack of action as we already have ourselves beat! Think of a job advert that you see and you fit pretty much most of the criteria. Then you see “qualification in space travel would be an advantage” Straight away you think “Oh I don’t have that, I wont bother to apply”. Then of course there is the ones that we have all at some point put in our way, “I don’t have time” or “Id never be able to do that” All of these self limiting beliefs are rubbish, make you your biggest obstacle, and are negative, so how can we get rid of them?

In my case, I read a few books, (Mindset Switch in particular was great), and I wrote it down, (of course I used a new note pad for the job, you know my stationary obsession). I wrote down what my belief was, then questioned its purpose, and this is where I found I was hiding behind them a little. For me to think Oh Im to old to fit in as a travel blogger, was almost protecting me from what I feared as an outcome. I feared not being accepted into the “group” so had already set myself up an excuse. You see? This showed me that it was more a lack of confidence than the fact that I was older. It made me feel better to realise that, as a lack of confidence I can work on and get over, there is bugger all I can do about my age!

are you your biggest obstacle
I worked through my irrational thinking

I spent a lot of time working on me during my twenties and thirties, I think its around then that you grow into yourself and start becoming the person you want to be don’t you, so I am a pretty balanced and rational person, and people’s opinion of me honesty does not usually bother me. These limiting beliefs however were totally irrational, so I know they came from emotion rather than logic. I picked them apart, understood what was behind them, (fear of not being liked, uncertainty of where I fit in the “travel blogger” niche) and then worked on that. Im pleased t report that last week I again went into London to have a meet up with some travel bloggers, and I blooming well enjoyed every moment!

So, I would love to know, do you recognise that sometimes YOU can be your biggest hurdle to get over? Can you talk yourself out of things because of your fear? Do you let irrational emotion creep into your head and stop you doing things? Have you a strategy you use to work through it? I would love to hear your thoughts.

are your biggest obstacle
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21 responses to “Are YOU Your Biggest Obstacle?”

  1. Really thought provoking post Kerry. I hold my hands up to admitting that my biggest hurdle is myself. Do I believe in me? The answer is not very often. It’s not that I compare myself to others, although I must admit that I have been feeling a bit inadequate when it comes to writing my book after reading a couple of really good ones lately. Those writers have a way with words that I just don’t. And that’s the crunch, I just don’t believe I have it in me to achieve very much. Don’t get me wrong, I am generally speaking happy and have nothing to complain about, but at approaching 60 I feel that I’m turning invisible and that I’m seen as the granny and not much else. I have this awful ‘can’t do’ rather than ‘can do’ way of thinking and feel that I’ve missed the bus as far as opportunities and new adventures go. You say that you worried that your fellow bloggers would see you as a ‘granny’ Oh my goodness Kerry, no way! You are sassy and an inspiration. I so admire that you went to that blogger meet up. I have often thought I would like to do something similar but I don’t believe that I have anything to bring to the table. I don’t have a business, travel, etc etc. I can just imagine someone asking what do I do and I’d stand there scratching my head and wracking my brain for something to say!! Gosh, this sounds like I’m wallowing in self pity and I’ve rambled on for far too long. I’m tempted to delete this comment, but I won’t. It needs to be said! xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ohhhhh you wonderful lady, you have so so so so much to offer! Don’t you dare feel like that. While I feel that you are a remarkable woman, I also know exactly how you feel, how debilitating it is, and how you need to silence your inner critic. You have a beautiful way with words, and your tales leave me roaring with laughter. That is a gift! I also have become invested in your book characters, that too is a gift. Whether it is one person you give pure enjoyment of reading too, or a gazillion, its still a gift. Now, have this big ole cyber hug I am sending you and hear me. Sixty is not old! Of course you have not run out of time, you have debilitating run out of self belief. Don’t confuse the two. Like I realised, we can do something about our confidence and lack of self belief, our age we cant so we are lucky that its just that little old devil on our shoulder holding us back. Nothing else. we silence that little devil and we can take on the world. Get writing lovely lady!!

  2. Susanne says:

    First of all… living in hostels, that doesn’t sound like a life I would like living! Maybe that’s just me.. but being 40+, I now like some comfort when I travel. I don’t mind simple hotels or the simple apartment we rent in Italy, but hostels.. no thanks. Just some perspective on those other travel bloggers. Is that a life you TRULY would like to live? I know I wouldn’t.
    I’m definitely my biggest obstacle in everything I do, especially now changing careers and all that. All the time I have to kind of try to “switch” by saying to myself: “other people can do it, of course you can do it!!”
    I had one of those moments recently. I have always, always had this thing for languages. I’ve studied Italian, French and German, I always learned quickly and my biggest love is grammar. When I go to Italy, it happens that people think I’m Italian (which I can’t understand, but it still feels good) Now when I jumped onto this Italian class, after a while I got into this trap of not feeling good enough. (if you ask my Italian friends or people I’ve studied Italian with or for, they would say this is ridiculous) I even was close to just quit the course before the exams because I didn’t think I had a chance to pass them. The thing is that most of the others in the class are Italian, so it’s hard to participate in conversations, as they are on another level than what I can do. I even wrote to one of my teachers and asked if she thought I had a chance to pass the oral exam, etc.
    In the end I decided to do the exam. I passed the written exam very easily and after the comment from that teacher, I had some renewed energy and willpower and I did the oral exam. I got the highest degree on both and the teacher I had written to and with whom I did the oral exam, said things like “You are so good, why do you write these things about yourself? Stop thinking you’re not good enough, don’t ever do that again!”
    So you see, Italian (and learning languages) has always been my top 1 thing that helps me with self confidence, because it’s something I know I’m good at and that nobody can take away from me. Still, my brain started to wander and play tricks. I’m somewhat better at managing this than I used to be, but obviously not enough…
    I hope and believe that after this event, my self confidence in Italian may be stronger, I decided to continue with the next semester. To respond to one of your questions, I still don’t have a strategy that really works when I get into that bad kind of thinking. I guess I just have to look back on what I’ve achieved and see that why couldn’t I do that again, and of course I will succeed, because that’s what I usually do with languages.
    Then when it comes to other situations.. that’s another story. Then I just need to stop thinking and just continue to do the things I want to do, because I enjoy doing them and because I’m interested in doing them.

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ohhh I love this so much Susanne. You overcame your self limiting belief and smashed that exam out of the park. Thats a huge achievement and incredibly empowering. I am so glad that you saw it that way. So with you, do you think it is a fear of not getting the grade you want rather than a straight failure? Are you one to put a lot of pressure on yourself? I love how ballsy you are. You upped and left to live in another country. You changed your direction work wise. That takes courage and I for one think its pretty amazing! xxx

  3. Emma says:

    Oh god this is me. EVERYDAY! In the blogging world and real world.Great read (as always), defintely thought provoking. Am off to check out that book on Amazon.

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Oh Emma yes, have a read. I think its incredibly liberating when we actually “get” that we are making our own obstacles. I still get those self limiting beliefs creep in, but I can work through the process of silencing them now. You will find your way I am sure xxxxx

  4. lifewithmrst says:

    I am so guilty of self limiting behaviour. I have talked myself out of so many things in the past and I am trying to push myself out of my comfort zone. I have found making the leap of faith has helped me feel more positive about myself.

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Yes I totally agree with you. It almost gives us a jolt of confidence when we do push ourselves to do something doesn’t it. As the famous saying goes, Life begins at the edge of our comfort zone! xx Thank you for reading and I am so glad that you don’t let your self limiting beliefs hold you back too much. That’s brilliant xx

  5. Susanne says:

    Aah.. grade is the word I was looking for, not degree. I probably should study English too, lol! And thank you for your nice and encouraging words! I don’t think I realise how much it takes to take the step to move abroad and change your life. For me it was just about mental survival and that we had the possibility to do it.
    Anyway, when I started the Italian class I didn’t really care about getting fancy grades, but I wanted to move on and see my Italian skills develop. I have a certain certificate in mind, and want to reach that level to be confident enough to take that test and get the Dante Alighieri certificate or similar. It will take some time to get there but for now at least I want to see improvement in my skills. That was my main goal.

    Having said that, knowing my background with Italian (I was always best in my class) of course I would get a kick out of good grades. This sounds horrible, but good grades are a proof that although I suck at most other things, at least I’m good at Italian, and it does boost my self confidence.
    However, I think my fear mostly was about failure, to not reach my goal – not see any development at all in my Italian skills, and to have wasted all that time and energy without getting any further. For a while I actually spent more time overthinking about whether or not my level was appropriate for the course, and about how to reach my goals, rather than studying! Then, close to the exams, I decided to ditch everything and just study. And I can definitely see now that I’ve at least come somewhere.. the grammar course was fantastic. Preparing for the oral exam made me expose myself to Italian almost 24/7 – I watched a certain film several times a day to analyse the language – and of course that helps my Italian skills. Now, after the exams, I’ve found a group in Cork to do weekly Italian conversation, and after one meeting I’m already loving it.

    Yes and amen to what you’re saying about putting pressure on myself. As I think I wrote in a comment about another post here, I have this odd feeling that everyone else can just be normal and still be good enough, while I have to be perfect. Normally I don’t get into this kind of negative thinking with Italian because that’s something that I really enjoy and that makes me happy, but I think this spring was different, with all the stress overload preparing to move, and then the stress overload with the uncertainty about finding house etc. Stress makes your brain play tricks with you. I’ve suffered from burnout not so long ago and my brain is just barely capable of handling more than small amounts of stress, so the idea of university studies right after moving abroad was.. well maybe not great. But after these exams I feel so much better and hope my brain will collaborate with me next semester.

    I think when it comes to me being “ballsy” (I love that word btw!!) that is definitely something I’ve had to learn over the years. For different reasons I’ve always had to fight my way through life, and the only way to ever get anywhere has been to be stubborn about what I wanted, and to be ballsy. Survival skills, I guess!

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Well you have certainly got the ability to look inside yourself and see what makes you tick, where certain behaviour comes from etc. That is paramount to growth as a person and finding that holy grail of true inner peace and happiness. You get yourself, and that is a fabulous skill. Ohh and I am pretty sure, in fact certain, that you are good at many things, not just Italian. We have great conversations, and your answers are always insightful and honest, that is something else you are good at! See! I love the word ballsy too, and I use it for very few people xxx I am so glad you made the move to Cork, I feel it is going to be amazing for you and your happiness xxxx
      You can and will achieve whatever makes you happy x

  6. Susanne says:

    Thank you for those words, you happen to notice more about me than I do myself! When it comes to understanding and analysing myself I feel I still have a long way to go.. so how you perceive my understanding of myself really feels good! Last winter and spring after my burnout crash I did lots and lots of thinking about my behaviour and my thoughts and why I react in certain ways etc. I decided to find ways to handle myself and not get into that stress behaviour again. I learned a lot about myself and as you say, skills that are fabulous and important.
    I also think my move to Ireland will do loads to my happiness!! I’m so glad to be here and now can’t wait to move into that house…
    Btw I wonder why my last comment didn’t post as a reply to your reply? I clicked the reply link! Will see what happens with this one..

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      I think that your burnout was probably a pivotal moment. I think everything happens to show us we need change etc. Im glad you didn’t ignore the signs! Long may your happiness continue xxxxx

  7. I’m not sure why I can’t reply to your comment to me, nothing happened when I clicked on the reply tab so you’ll find this at the bottom of your comments feed. So much for the wonders of technology!
    You are such a kind lady full of wise words and encouragement so thank you for your lovely reply to my comment. I think that I’m just having a bit of a pre birthday wobble. I’m sure that once I get step into my seriously sassy sixties I’ll be okay.The next decade will bring a lot of changes. I’ll leave the job I’ve done for years,receive a pension (I refuse to be thought of as a pensioner), most probably lose one or both parents which is the scariest prospect ever and move home, most likely to Cornwall.You are of course right, 60 isn’t old by any means and I need to run at it at full pelt. I can start by looking after myself, physically and mindfully, ditch any thoughts of shopping in the M&S Classic range and take life by the horns and seek adventure just like my Maggie. Unlike her though I don’t have to contend with a Gordon (well,perhaps sometimes!) Thanks Kerry, you are such a tonic and I really appreciate you spurring me on with my writing. I’m definitely going to finish the book and if it gets published then that would be totally brilliant and if it doesn’t,well,it’s not going to be the end of the world and I’ll have the satisfaction of achieving something I’ve wanted to do for ages. Oh, and don’t forget you are going to introduce me to shots one of these days!!

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      See, even this message had the power to move me, you have a gift, truly you do. I think any build up to a “big” birthday can evoke feelings in us, whatever they are. You get running at them sassy 60’s lady! I am telling you now, the shots date is on! We will be in Bath at some point soon, so you and I have a date with a fabulous bar and a tray of Sambucca! Whooo hoooooooooo!

  8. Alex Grace says:

    Great post Kerry! I can completely relate. I’m reading a book that includes a bit about imposter syndrome at the moment and a lot of this correlates. We just have to remember that we all have something to bring to the table. We as humans are all unique and if nothing else there is always opportunity to learn. Something I also read within the book (which I’ve found really helpful) said rather than say ‘why me?’, say ‘why not me?!’ It’s quite freeing when we don’t let our own rejection of ourselves hold us back isn’t it?! xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      It really is. I think we can talk ourselves out of things, even at my age I still do occasion. There is an amazing g blogger who dies a lot of writing on imposter syndrome, (I think her name is Jen) and it’s so interesting! Thanks for reading xx

  9. Great piece Kerry and Yes, I am. For sure. I have been reading about changing mindset and where it all begins- fascinating. Scary but empowering in many ways to know.

  10. Kerry – if there’s one thing I know you are always the life and soul of the party at events – having those around you in stitches, engaged and inspired. Me included. And forget comparing yourself to a nan – you are proof that age has no bearing on a brilliant sense of humour. But you, like me – and probably many of us – have imposter syndrome. Even as a pro journalist I always felt like I’d get found out for being a fraud one day – those living without this self doubt are very lucky! Keep up the amazing work you amazing lady x

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Awwwww you, this is so lovely, thank you XX Thots exactly what I think it is, that good ole imposter syndrome. You are so experienced in your field and good at what you do, you have no reason to feel like that! Your blooming fab xxxxx

I love reading your comments x

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