Updated: Jan 30
About five years ago I was sitting in my office, flipping through the pages of a magazine about digital marketing (not very attentively, I should say 🙈 ), when I saw an article that caught my attention: "Digital nomads in Thailand: Visiting the Mecca for Online Workers" (the original article is still online, so crazy).
It was one of those moments that changes the trajectory of your life forever, and even though nothing changed at that very moment, still, everything changed.
As I was reading, I could feel a spark in my body and I knew that I wanted to experience that!
For me, it wasn't as much about working from Thailand or Bali or Portugal, but more about having the freedom to travel & work from anywhere I wanted, and not having to go to an office 5 days a week (this was well before COVID-19, when home office wasn't as common).
So at that moment, that article ignited my dream, but it wasn't for another two years that I started living that reality (reminder to stay patient + in action + that our timeline doesn't always match the timeline that is in our highest good). 💪
Standing between myself then and my dream was a lot of blocks I had to work through:
1️⃣ Finding clarity: how do I do it & what the hell will I do for a living? (at the time I had enrolled in a coaching program, but it was going to be a while until I had enough knowledge to start coaching professionally, so I knew I had to do something in between)
2️⃣ Inner blocks: fear of failure / procrastination / perfectionism / self-doubt / unconscious blocks
3️⃣ No plan or structure
4️⃣ Lack of accountability
There are also a few other blocks I want to mention that weren't necessarily present for me, but I often see them come up with clients:
↠ "I don't have time" / "I'm too young / too old"
↠ "I don't have the money"
↠ Giving up if it doesn't happen in the first few tries (I love this mantra: "Paddle, paddle, paddle until you start to swim", meaning don't give up until it starts to work! In fact, often it's going to take a thousand tries and many, many no's)
The truth is, if we didn't have any blocks, we would be living our desired reality right now.
That's why I'll break down the 4 most common blocks here, so you can start to see what's standing in between YOU AND YOUR DREAM and begin to move forward in an aligned way.
As you're reading this, notice what's happening in your body and see if any of these feel true for you or resonate with you.👇
1) Not having clarity
Even though we may not yet have the entire picture of how our dream is going to look like, we always, always, always have:
👉 the knowing around what we don't want:
If we find ourselves in a situation we don't like / that feels suffocating or frustrating, we can start to collect information about what it is about that situation that we don't want to experience anymore.
Maybe you've been working in an office from Monday to Friday and you feel restricted or annoyed about having to go there every day and you know that you don't really want to work in an office anymore, but outdoors.
Collect that information, make a list of what you don't want / don't enjoy so you get clarity around what you do want.
👉 the awareness over the next step
Often we think that the next step has to be something big, like changing professions / starting a business / leaving a relationship / moving to another country, but the next step is usually a really small step that leads to another small step that leads to another small step that leads to a big step.
You'll recognize the next small step because it's going to call you, spark your interest (even if it's a really small spark!), you'll get curious... For example: checking out a particular website or a program your friend mentioned, reading more about a certain topic, visiting a certain location...
When you take action on that step, you'll get clarity over the next one and then the next one... and so one step after another you'll start moving into the direction you want (a small caveat here: it's totally normal to run into dead-ends - life will often redirect us, but it's important to follow the call, follow the curiosity, so you can give yourself the experience, whether it leads somewhere or not).
📍 A powerful question you can ask yourself: "What do I know that I don't want to know?"
2) Inner Blocks
Whenever we get clear on our goal / dream / vision, it first feels exciting and hopeful ("Yesss, there's a way to change my current reality, a better life is possible for me!") and a few moments later we start to collapse into thinking about all the ways that's not possible (I don't have the time / it won't work / it's going to be too hard / I don't have the money / I'm not good enough /...)
Know that that's completely normal. Our inner blocks WILL come up and it may seem like the dream that felt so possible just a moment ago, feels completely unreachable in the next.
Instead of giving up on your dream and allowing the blocks to take the steering wheel, take back control: you get to be in the driver's seat! The blocks are actually innocent and are just trying to protect you (everything in our organism is so intelligently designed to keep us safe and that's all they are trying to do, although the methods are outdated and let's be honest, sometimes scary 😂 ).
The most common blocks are:
fear of failure ("What will others think of me if I fail?")
perfectionism ("It's only good enough if it's perfect")
procrastination ("I can do it tomorrow" / "I don't want to do it")
overwhelm ("It's too much")
self-doubt ("I'm not good enough / interesting enough / .... enough")
unconscious blocks (these are blocks we're not even aware of)
Unless we look at the inner blocks and resolve them, they will keep standing in the way of our dream.
Alyssa Nobriga, Professional Life Coach and founder of the Institute for Coaching Mastery says "our blocks aren't in the way, they are the stepping stones to our freedom". Once we resolve them, we can start to gracefully move toward our dreams and we are much more successful + have more fun on the way. 🎉
In my example above, my biggest blocks were perfectionism, self-doubt & fear of failure.
I was terrified of people thinking I failed, so I didn't even dare to try and if I did, it was in a really small /safe way.
It took me forever to produce anything because it was never perfect enough.
And I was constantly caught up in thinking "I'm not good enough", "what do I even have to offer", "I can't offer anything interesting, so why even bother" etc.
As you can see, I speak from lived experience when I share these things and I know what it's like when you're caught up in the inner dialogue, not moving forward and what it's like on the other side.
After clearing my inner blocks, I can't tell you how much more confidence & courage I have, how many things I've tried, failed at, tried again, succeeded at - my life got so much richer for actually experiencing these things vs thinking about what I would love to do & why I couldn't do it and staying stuck somewhere I didn't want to be.
📍 A powerful question you can ask yourself: "What do I fear would happen if my dream comes true?"
3) No plan & structure
I heard this beautiful sentence today from Mark Spicoluk, co-founder of Boho Beautiful (speaking about vision): "No ship has ever sailed without a course. No human journey has ever found its potential, happiness, and balance without planning and execution."
Something shifts within us & in our path when we start moving forward in our life with intention and some sort of structure. That doesn't mean we need to plan out every detail, in fact - I invite you to leave room for magic, but it's incredibly helpful to have a plan of what we need to do in order to get to where we're going.
Think of how we first need to write a disposition before we write our dissertation, an outline before we write a book, a business plan before we start a business, a project plan before we launch a project, a blueprint before building a house... (can you imagine how long it would take to build a house without a plan?!))
Organizations, athletes, etc. have been doing this for a loooong time (being intentional about where they want to focus their energy & effort and making a plan on how to get there), and we get to take their lead and transfer what they've mastered to fulfilling our dream. We don't need to make it complicated (sometimes we only need a rough framework), but some sort of plan & structure is necessary if we want to be successful.
"Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will bring riches." - Napoleon Hill
📍 A powerful question you can ask yourself: "When I was successful in the past, what system / structure supported me? What worked for me?"
4) Lack of accountability
A study by Peteet et al. (cited in Miller 2022) found that accountability has two central components:
relational component: meaning it happens in a relationship / we are accountable to others within certain relational contexts
responsibility component: we are accountable for fulfilling responsibilities within the relationship
Every society and organization has an in-build accountability structure, whether that's our teacher / boss / coworker / HR, etc., who we are responsible to for our tasks and actions.
Depending on our personality type, accountability can be a big motivating factor when it comes to fulfilling our dreams: when we work on our own projects, we often lack accountability and don't have that piece to pull us forward (unless we work in a team / have a coach / are a part of a mastermind / support group...).
That doesn't mean that "we can't do it by ourselves" (of course we can!), but for the majority of us, it's just easier and faster to get there if we have some sort of accountability. 💪
One thing that helped me with accountability was working with different coaches and mentors. Since I work at my highest level if I have accountability, I need to create those structures for myself in my business.
In fact, a group of scientists from Canada found that health coaching helped patients build accountability for their health-related actions and that working with a coach helped them "recognize that they needed to play an active role in managing and improving their own health. Patients also seemed to develop a sense of joint responsibility for their care through the coaching process. Participating in the program helped patients take ownership of their health." (Liddy et al., 2015).
Having accountability calls us forward into what we're capable of.
📍 A powerful question you can ask yourself: "Who supported me the most? What was it about them or that relationship that was really helpful?"
I hope you found this article helpful and let me know in the comments which of the 4 most common blocks resonated with you & what insights you got from answering the powerful question(s). 👇
With all my love & gratitude
Miller, Christian B. "Accountability, Autonomy, and Motivation." Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, vol. 29 no. 1, 2022, p. 61-63. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/ppp.2022.0009.
Improving awareness, accountability, and access through health coaching. Clare Liddy, Sharon Johnston, Hannah Irving, Kate Nash, Natalie Ward. Canadian Family Physician Mar 2015, 61 (3) e158-e164.