Getting what you want

Ever felt stuck in behaviour you don’t want? You know it’s counter-productive but trying to shift it feel like trying to scale the rock face behind Niagara Falls with 28,000 cubic metres of water pouring on you every second!

As a world-class self saboteur for the first few decades of my life, I’ve come from being horrified to fascinated by this.

And where before I was a quivering wreck in the face of this sabotage, I now have the mindset tools that make sure I can feel the fear “and do it anyway” as Susan Jeffers wrote.

How? With a 6-step mindset shift that takes me from obligation to choice, so I can do what I “must” do with an energy that keeps me focused on why I want to do it. And that changes everything!

Recognising how inconsistent your behaviour is around a goal is a great start but it can’t change anything. For this to happen you need to step-change your thoughts from frustration right through to congruent ACTION.

Here’s how:


Start with Einstein: stick his words everywhere you stop long enough to read because you need to eat, breathe and sleep them.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

This shifts you from the defensive thoughts of your frustration, into the curiosity of the researcher’s “How can I solve this?”

As a lover of archetypes, this switch gets me feeling excited about finding a way to do what I know is the best action to take right now!

And once this mindset is firmly in place, I can start taking the other steps. Because the worst-case scenario of an inner bully has now been replaced by an intriguing possibility. And no researcher is going to say “no” to that!


Remember the iceberg: it’s easier to swop your “must” thoughts for ones you’ve consciously chosen when you remember that making progress with a goal can look a lot like an iceberg. You’re never fooled by the size of its tip because you know 90% is under the water. So when your inner sceptic gets you doubting something, remind yourself that not seeing progress doesn’t mean there isn’t any. These 2 steps might be more progress than you’ve made in the last week, or even in the last 6 months!


Stop forcing yourself: we’ve become slaves to the verbs of obligation (must, should, ought, need to, have to). How many of your sentences contain them? And it’s a problem because, when it comes to making a change, they don’t work.

It’s true, they might get you doing what you need to do, but at what price? How often do you try to force yourself into doing something and how often has it worked?

I’ll bet that it’s failed more times than it’s worked because forcing yourself into doing something is stressful. It gets you approaching the task at hand without your critical and creative thinking skills because the body’s stress response has taken them offline.

And you’re now dependent on your reptile brain for 21st century tasks. Not the best way to do something, is it?


Name the pain: swopping a salaried position for the chance to be our own boss brings us face to face with the fact that our success is totally up to us — at least at the start.

If hard work and passion were enough every workaholic would be a success. And that’s not the case!

We all have goal-related pain. What’s yours?

My inner perfectionist refused to acknowledge that having to learn how to use lots of new software meant that I was going to make more mistakes than usual. They were just part of my learning-curve.

Does your boundaries thief insist you sacrifice your health and family life “in service” to those you want to help?

Does your White Rabbit bully get you rushing into action before you’ve had a chance to think things through?

What pain are you trying to avoid?

Naming it reduces its sting because you know what you’re working with. In my last example you can clearly see Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit rushing around like a mad thing, muttering “Going to be late!” You couldn’t have a better image to show you how unproductive you’re being!

And naming it brings the information you need to reduce it even more.


Reality-check it: we can’t always avoid the pain of something we need to do. But we can choose not to add to it.

Instead of doing what your inner bullies want, or don’t want you to do get some paper, and list the pros and cons for each option. You’d be surprised how this can change your mind — and keep your inner bullies quiet!

Your understanding of something depends on the information you use. Seeing Niagara Falls from below might fill you with dread if the only option you can see for getting to the top is battling the water raining down on you while you scale that rock face!

When you use information you can rely, you build a more realistic picture of your options. Which simplifies and clarifies your actions.


Focus on the benefits: now you’re taking steps towards getting what you want, it’s important to keep taking them.

So when the doubts start making themselves felt creeping into your — when you’re tired, or aren’t as clear about something as you’d like to be — remind yourself of the benefits of doing what you’d rather not do.

You might hate injections, but that moment of discomfort could mean the difference between a successful sourcing trip or not for your fledgling shop! Sorting that pile of invoices that’s been bugging you might give you more time to play with your kids without feeling guilty!

And don’t forget how satisfying it is to know that you’re getting closer to your goal!

Now you’re ready to act on what you’ve chosen, instead of dragging yourself through the motions of that “must”.

Let’s face it, how often does feeling obligated to do something left you feeling good about doing it? Chances are, it’s just reinforced your feelings of resentment. And that’s such a waste of your talents and skills!


If you’re a social entrepreneur who’s ready to do whatever it takes to get out of your own way. And you want the tools that create a healthy relationship with your inner saboteurs why not follow me on facebook too.