Do you feel like something is holding you back?

Do you ever feel like something is holding you back, something stops you from doing something you really want to do. It can be small things, like just saying hello to someone, and it can be big things, like having the courage to stand up for yourself in a situation.

We all have “stuff” that holds us back.  And, we all have that “thing” that gets in the way.  Have you heard those nasty little voices that talk you out of doing something, you’re not alone.  It’s easy for all of us to convince ourselves of why to not do what it is that we want.  Where did it all begin?

Are you really honest about what that one thing is that is holding you back

I am 44 years old (44 & ½ if I am honest, but who’s counting) and I only worked this out for myself the other day.

I was watching a movie with Andy, Wonder with Jacob Tremblay, Julia Robert, and Owen Wilson. As the movie started, I could see it was going to be a tear jerker. It’s not in me to enjoy movies where the little child is in some way ‘made fun of’. Whether they are hurt, teased, bullied, laughed at, and mostly when whatever the reason is they do not have friends. As it got into the movie, and in this case, it was at 10 minutes, I was already crying, because I knew what was going to happen to this little guy. Andy always says to me “It’s just a movie Joy” … but this time it didn’t seem to help. I got up and took the dogs out to do their business because I decided they needed to rather than they wanted to …

but I just wanted to get away from the TV…

and as I said, we had only seen 10 minutes by now. When I got outside and sat down on the steps near our swimming pool, watching the dogs roam around the garden. I was still crying, sobbing by now.

For some reason, I forced myself to think about why these movies always got to me, to the point where I would rather be sticking a blunt pencil into my eye than watching the movie. I sat there and wouldn’t let myself stop thinking why until it all seemed to suddenly appear and my thoughts all fell in to place. I hate to say this because it sounds so cliqued, but it was almost like it became crystal clear to me, just by me opening myself up and not letting myself get up and go back inside. While I sat there and thought to myself this process, of unpacking what I was feeling was better than watching a little boy be so terribly trauma-ed by having to go to school.

When I was 4 years old, I was sent to nursery school, and I remember being so terribly shy, I didn’t connect with anyone because I was terrified. Everyone had friends already and knew how to ‘be friends’ with others. I had no idea. And I remember how that felt, I was alone.  I remember going to a party I was invited to and I would walk around, from the outside into the house, almost like I was on a tour, wandering through and walking, which over the time of the party became like I was doing laps around the house. Never playing the games, never talking to anyone … nothing.

And that continued into my primary school. I was always alone, doing my own thing. Kids tried to include me, but I was so shy, I would interact to start with a little hello, but then I froze, so I just kept quiet and they would eventually move on to someone else who would talk to them.

I realized that this is what has been holding me back …

I was (and am) so terribly shy, which some people would not agree with … but trust me, in the working environment I forced myself to take a chance on me a while back, and now I have the art of ‘looking confident’ down to a fine art! But this is what was holding me back. My shyness leads to me being so overly critical of myself, and developing an ‘I am not good enough for anyone to want to talk to me, be friends with me, interact with me’ view of myself. And I have carried this with me through every aspect of my life. It is what has held me back from standing up for myself, having an opinion on lots, putting myself out there, asking for help, for something, pretty much for why my confidence needed so much work.

This did all change when I hit Grade 4 – the teacher was such a lovely lady, and she took a liking to me and brought me out of my shell a little … enough to make a few friends. She was so good for me, her name was Miss Mini (hehe, and she was tiny!!!! Maybe it wasn’t her real name now that I think back, maybe it was.) It wasn’t like I became a social butterfly and the most confident child in the school, by no means … I was still the shy one, but I was a little more confident.

I came inside to Andy saying ‘Joy, it is only a movie’ and I sat down and I explained what had just happened to me. And telling him what had happened was even better ‘therapy’ for me. He got it, and he hugged me so tight, and I felt a million times better, just because I had worked it out. We then watched the whole movie together, and weirdly enough I didn’t cry.

It is so important to really work out what is holding you back.

Will you tell me:

  • “I have no time”
  • “What will others think?”
  • “What if THIS happens?” (and THIS is a fear you have.)

You have to take the time and work it out – if you really really want to move forward. If you don’t, then don’t … but I think most of us deep down want to get past it, especially the older you get … it almost becomes the biggest weight on our shoulders, and we want to get rid of it.

I felt a huge relief and weight lifting off my shoulders as I sat outside that night.

So how do you do this?  How do you flesh out your fears? Here are a few tips and ideas to help you:

1 – find the right time

There is no right time really, but you will know … a moment will happen, and you feel it. You will know as something happens that it has touched that nerve. That is when you need to find the time. You may not be able to do it right then and there, but don’t lose the moment either. So if you with people, and it happens, recognize it and jot down what you feeling. Then as soon as you can get to a place you are alone and make the time. If you are alone when it happens, or can get to an alone space as it happens, do it – make the time and sit down with yourself and thoughts and your feelings and your pain.

2 – be honest

Probably the most important step, be honest. It is only you with you so there is no one to impress, no one to have to say the right thing for, just you. So be honest about everything … how you feel, the pain, the hurt, the emotions, everything.

3 – start to unpack, and then unpack some more

Just start to think thoughts and questions like:

  • “Why do I feel like this?”
  • “What is causing this feeling?”
  • When you get an answer don’t stop there … again:
  • “Why do I feel like this?”
  • “What am I afraid of happening?”

4 – ask why and why and why again

Keep asking why and why and why until you get to the bottom of the barrel. And you know how you will know you at the bottom of the barrel … well, for one you will probably feel quite exhausted. But you will also probably find that you will suddenly let out a deep breath, a really deep breath. You will feel a sense of relief at getting there. And I would hazard a guess you will even find that you start to smile.

That’s when you have got there!

Please know that I know it is not easy, and you will cry … but having just been through it was honestly remarkable, as I feel like a massive shift has happened for me.

The month of January has all been about getting on track for a fantastic year, and I really hope this has helped you with that! And if you want to share with others, please do (all the links to share are below). And if you want to comment on ideas you have for me … please do too!

Here’s to getting to the bottom of the barrel!

Joy Garcia


Joy began her obsession with building client measurable relationships in the advertising industry where she is considered one of South Africa’s top project leaders. Joy began her professionally coaching life when a colleague from her past approached her to mentor him, and she was hooked. Joy loves to see the transformation that happens from coaching a client ~ from the break through that happens when a client clicks as to what their challenge to moving forward is, through to the work that begins to happen, and finally seeing a new version of that client stepping out on the other end, a version of themselves that is stronger, and secure in who they are, what they offer, and where they are going. And a real love of Joy’s is her passion to be super-organized, so she created her YouTube channel, Organized Joy, where you can learn how to create more time for your yourself to do the things you love.

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