How To Stop Holding Yourself Back

How To Stop Holding Yourself Back

Aug 2, 2021

Hello and welcome back to the journey! Today I’m sharing with you how to stop holding yourself back. To do this, I’m going to explain the three main ways we hold ourselves back, then give you five solutions to turn that around and allow yourself to reach your full potential.

How we hold ourselves back:

  1. Fear of success. I know that sounds crazy! We think it’s because we’re scared to fail. I write about this in my book: no one on this planet has ever been afraid to fail. It’s not humanly possible. Think about it – in every area of your life, you know exactly what to do for your relationships, career, etc. You lay in bed and think about these things, knowing your life will get better if you do them. But what happens? A feeling comes up, and you say you don’t feel like doing it. Right there, we’ve all chosen failure. We are scared to death of confronting that feeling because we’d succeed. I wrote about the whole process in my book, the science behind it, and the cycle that creates it. If you want to get deeper, I encourage you to pick that up.
  2. We get too much benefit from holding ourselves back. When our relationship breaks, when we lose a career, or when we are struggling financially: all we have to do is post on social media, and 300 people say, “You poor thing! I can’t believe this is happening to you.” All those people are offering solutions. I get attention and power by holding myself back, which gives me freedom because they want to fix the problem more than I do. We don’t have to be responsible for our life. Others become more invested in fixing the problem than we are! Attention, power, freedom, no responsibility. I go into much more detail in my video, The Ten Surprising Benefits of a Broken Heart. I encourage you to check that out.

How we hold ourselves back:

  1. Learned helplessness. This trait was discovered by accident in a laboratory doing experiments on dogs. There was a flood, and the dogs got trapped in their kennels. When the water rose, it got up to their chin. If you or I were in a situation like that, we’d try to escape. The dogs couldn’t. So when the water went back down, and people went in to open the kennel doors, the dogs wouldn’t leave. They had collapsed and given in to the futility of not being able to do anything. That’s what most people who are holding themselves back do: they don’t see the point. They think they’ll never be successful, make money, have someone love them, whatever it may be. They have collapsed and are stuck in learned helplessness like those poor dogs. That’s the essence of the worst day cycle. If this is you, you are stuck from trauma that’s never been healed. If you want to know more about recovering from the worst day cycle, watch my video How to Stop Self Sabotage: Conquer the Worst Day Cycle.

Now let’s get on with the solutions:

  1. Make a choice (I’M DONE!). We have to make the choice that we are done holding ourselves back. While it sounds simple, we don’t act on it because choices are motivated by feelings, not thoughts. We can tell ourselves all day, but we have to feel it. Remember what stopped us from having success? A feeling. It’s the same thing here: learned helplessness. We have a patterned feeling that’s draining us. We have to…
  2. Create a substantial emotional shift. Depending on your personality type, I will give you several possibilities of what might motivate you and create that dynamic shift for you to change.
  3. Ask yourself, “How much has it cost me?” Make a list with categories: financially, relationally, emotionally, spiritually, professionally, intellectually—every area of your life. You could start with monetary amounts but work up to other emotional aspects like a broken heart or lost relationships. When I did it, I discovered millions of lost dollars, low productivity, careers taken beneath my skill level, divorces, emotional consequences, the list goes on. The costs were astronomical. We have to have an emotional shift that recognizes the cost of staying stuck is more significant than the payoff we are currently getting. Totaling it up will bring us into reality and see that the benefits don’t outweigh the costs.


  1. Future cast the cost. Ask yourself: one month, six months, 12 months, and five years from now. How high will the cost be then? How much will the cost be years from now? And even worse: now that you know the solution, could you live with the burden of knowing you could’ve ended it and chose not to? Feel that cost. That’s huge and overwhelming. Maybe you aren’t motivated that way, so flip it to the opposite. Ask yourself, what if you could never feel all the painful feeling of being stuck again. If the feeling wasn’t even possible: what thoughts and feelings are left over? Can you feel that? You feel lighter. You’re no longer carrying the weight of those costs. You’re free of it. You feel strong, sexy, safe. Can you feel that emotional shift if you choose to do the work?
  2. Ask yourself what the smallest thing you can do to move you towards the solution. Some days for me, it was literally just getting out of bed. Some days it was taking a shower. I knew it was the best I could do that day, and it gave me a sense of moving forward. Change isn’t this big thing. It happens in little moments.

One of the little ways we can motivate ourselves to change and get out of that learned helplessness is titration.

Here’s my suggestion:

  1. As you’re sitting in the pain of holding yourself back, flip to that feeling of wondering who you would be without it. You’ll feel a sense of relief.
  2. Spend 30 seconds in the pain, then 30 seconds in the freedom of no longer holding yourself back. You can do that by taking action or by dropping those thoughts and feelings.
  3. Keep bouncing between the two, pulling yourself in and out of the cage.

You’re slowly titrating yourself. Finally, you’re getting a taste of it. The pain will start to feel lighter and smaller. The good will feel stronger and more prominent. This taps into James Clear’s Atomic Habits. He talks about the way change happens is through small, 1% changes. The cumulative effect of that makes us become something new and allows us to achieve what we want.

There are your solutions – I hope this helped you. And as always:

Enjoy The Journey! 🕺🏼

Are You Ready to Break The Chains of Fear and Achieve Your Dreams?


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