Identifying the blocks
Before you can resolve a problem, you have to diagnose what the problem is! So what’s stopping you achieving what you want to achieve?
This blog post will help you identify what is getting in your way and holding you back. We’ll look at these blocks as three different clusters so we can pick apart the underlying problems. But first let’s take an example:
Alex works in a noisy environment with constant interruptions. They have too much on their ‘to do’ list already and can’t prioritise. But if someone asks them for help, or says ‘can you just do x?’ they don’t like to say ‘no’ as they are worried they will look bad. They are already stressed but feel they should be able to cope and feel selfish if they focus on their own needs.
Think about this example as you read about each block to achievement, below. You might also like to consider your own situation. (Like Alex, you may find that you can identify issues in all three!)
Firstly let’s think about PRACTICAL PROBLEMS. These are related to the context you are in. This may include:
- Lack of time
- Lack of money
- Difficult working environment eg crowded, noisy, interruptions
- Lack of resources, kit, people
- External pressures or responsibilities
eg. Alex lacks time and has constant interruptions.
The second type of block is ‘KNOW HOW’ ISSUES. These relate to habits and behaviours that we don’t know how to change, or skills that we lack. This might include:
- A lack of experience
- A lack of knowledge
- Lack of practical skill
- An unhelpful habit
- A way of approaching the task that is unhelpful
eg. Alex doesn’t KNOW HOW to say ‘no’ and can’t prioritise.
Often there is an assumption that if the person just knew how they would be able to achieve more or do better. But now we come to LIMITING BELIEFS. These are the unhelpful ways of thinking about ourselves, others, or the task, that get in our way. This includes:
- Self-doubts (I’m not the type of person who…)
- Absolute thinking – must/shouldn’t, always/never
- Negative expectations (It’s not worth it, I’ll fail anyway; things will never change)
- Blaming fate or luck or others
- Mind reading others’ reactions/beliefs
eg, Alex worries about other’s thinking negatively and feels selfish.
Each of these blocks requires a different approach to resolve. Separating them out can help us think more clearly about next steps.
PRACTICAL PROBLEMS may need work-arounds and possibly support/advice from others to address (friends, neighbours, charities, managers, unions, etc).
KNOW HOW ISSUES need access to training, teaching, coaching, mentoring, feedback, experience, practice.
LIMITING BELIEFS benefit from challenge and reframing. I’ll post more on this last block next month, but if you have long term limiting beliefs or an urgent issue you may benefit from coaching or therapy. If you need professional help the UK registering bodies for psychotherapists are:
- UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
- British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)