Get Out of Your Own Way

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My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.

Most of us are average – and despite what many ‘motivational gurus’ tell us, it’s ok to be average – it ought to be – because most of us are.

Now, I realise as you’re reading this you might be thinking that you’re not average, and that could be so. Although, science validates most of us overestimate our own competence.

The reality is, for most of us, there will be others who can do what we do a bit (or a lot) better than us. There will be others who know a bit (or a lot) more than us.

One of my favourite researchers and writers, Maria Popova recently wrote a wonderful piece that referred to Aldus Huxley’s book ‘The Divine Within’ .

Don’t worry, this is not going to be a religious or even spiritual post (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s just not something I’m doing here).

Get Out of Your Own Light

Popova references this sentence within Huxley’s book:

“And in all the activities of life, from the simplest physical activities to the highest intellectual and spiritual activities, our whole effort must be to get out of our own light.”

Without going into a deep philosophical exploration here, it reminded me that sometimes we can get in our own way, and this can stop us from being the best version of ourselves in our professional and personal lives.

The Downside of Social Comparison

One example of this is when we get sucked into social comparisons.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, and whether you agree with the statement or not, most of us are average.

It is so easy to compare ourselves to the lifestyles of others posted on social media (rarely do we see the realities of others’ lives on social media … just the good stuff they want to share (brag) about).

When we compare ourselves to people who might be having a ‘better’ life than us, or know more than us, or do better than us, we can get in our own way of being the best version of ourselves.

Rather than choosing to take positive and appropriate action, guided by a clear sense of values (whether they be personal values in our private life, or work/business values in our professional life), we get in our own way and ruminate over what’s not so positive about us, and focus on how others know more, do more and live better lives than us.

Start where you are (because that’s where you are).

When we realise that whoever we are right now, with whatever level of competency we have, with whatever personality we have, with whatever experiences we have, not just in spite of that, because of that, we can choose our next actions.

As Aristotle advised, we are the sum of our actions and it is our actions and behaviours that are our morals (or true authentic self), shown in action.

Three Actions Toward Your Authentic Best Version of You

So for this next week, I encourage you to do these three things:

  1. Take notice of when you might be sucked into social comparisons.
  2. Take notice of what you’re saying to yourself and how you’re feeling about any social comparisons you might become aware of.
  3. Regardless of what you’re saying to yourself, or how you’re feeling, find the courage to choose a positive and appropriate action that will make the best use of your competencies, make the best use of your personality, and make the best use of your experiences.

When you reflect, notice, accept and move forward like this, you can get out of your own way to be the authentically best version of you in both your personal and professional lives.

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