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Do you feel stuck? What’s stopping you? Identifying your roadblocks will put you back on the road, getting around or working through them, and moving forward

What’s Stopping You? How to Get Past 12 Common Roadblocks to Success

“Your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.” ~ Michelle Obama

All day long, we face roadblocks that stop us, and we automatically refocus and figure out the next step. We’re not even aware that we’re doing it. For example, someone interrupts us, there’s a traffic jam, or a client calls with an unexpected question. We handle it and move on.

But when you’re taking a huge step, one that requires faith in yourself and the stakes are high, a small roadblock may seem insurmountable. It’s natural to get stuck when you have a big dream or something new you want to do. It’s easy to feel something pull you back. It’s predictable that at a certain point, something stops you, mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Take notice of the discomfort you feel and let that be a signal that there is something you need to work out there..

Now you have two choices.

  1. Back down and live with regrets, wondering, “If I had only…”
  2. Grab the opportunity, take the leap, and feel free, exhilarated and proud of yourself.

So the question is — which way do you want to feel?

What’s stopping you?

When you think about what you want to do at home, at work, in the world, in your community, what’s stopping you? Where are you feeling stuck?

Please take the time to honestly write a physical list of your internal and/or external roadblock(s). To get you started, here are some common roadblocks you might be experiencing: not enough self-confidence, not slender/pretty enough, not fluent enough, not skilled enough, not enough support from spouse/friends/community, not enough funds, not enough time, and not enough knowledge.

Being able to identify your roadblock(s) will put you back on the road to getting around them, working through them, and moving forward.

How to get past what’s stopping you

Please remember that grand gestures aren’t sustainable. Little things every day, your daily rituals, build up and gradually condition your body and mind to make things happen. Your life is a result of your rituals. Ask yourself: How are my rituals for sleeping, eating, exercising, working, cleaning, organizing, shopping, spending, measuring & tracking, and so forth, affecting my ability to achieve my big dream?

Look out for these roadblock rituals that will keep you stuck!

Wishing without acting. Wishing by itself goes nowhere. Be intentional and focus on one small change today. This approach will ease you out of your present habits, as you slowly build sustainable, life-long, supportive rituals.

Procrastination. There will never be the perfect time to get started. Acknowledge your feelings of uncertainty and plunge in!

Disorganization. Time management and clutter control takes work and self-discipline. Try this: At night, write a short list of exactly what you want to do the next day and the steps that will get it done. Review the list when you wake up. At a set time, begin doing them. If you find yourself lured away by something else, bring yourself back and focus. In your journal, note your feelings at the end of the day. Rinse and repeat.

Self-dismissive thinking. All too often we let past rejections dictate our present choices. Letting the opinions of others define you, rather than being true to who you’re capable of being, leaves your power in their hands. Take back your power! Take the next baby step toward the best version of yourself.

Denying responsibility. Everything in your life is NOT your fault, but it is your responsibility. You get to choose how you react to and act upon each event. In the most positive light, assess how you can make the most of the present. (If you’re in a dangerous circumstance, this may mean fleeing.)

Perfectionism. Perfect is not possible. The only “perfect” action is the next one you take. Where it takes you is where you need to be, to learn lessons you need to learn.

Faking it. To be at peace, you must show up as wholly, authentically YOU. Trying to pretend to be someone you’re not, living someone else’s life won’t work. That doesn’t mean settling for where you’re at or not pushing past your discomfort; it means having enough self-knowledge to see your potential and living up to it fully.

Losing your childlike curiosity. Over time, we can get really good at editing and discarding what’s hurtful or not useful. If we’re not careful, our open-mindedness and sense of wonder can go out the window, too. Always being right isn’t the goal in life. Let go of the assumption that you have all the answers. Invite diversity back into your life by listening to and learning from others.

Unrealistic expectations. If you expect life to be easy or that everyone will like and agree with you, you will be disappointed. Struggle brings growth. It’s empowering to find your inner source of strength and rise above. Those wins fuel you for life!

Avoiding all risks.  You can’t control everything and you don’t need to. Learn to embrace feelings of uncertainty as your personal challenge. Will you make mistakes? Yes! There’s nothing wrong with that! How will you feel if you don’t take a risk? That could be your biggest mistake of all.

It’s all about you. Humanity is an interdependent network. To be totally self-centered is to tear a hole in that net. You are part of someone else’s safety net, just as someone is part of yours. Keep your connection with others strong. Be there to help someone past their roadblocks, and there will be someone there to help you past yours. 

Doing nothing is safer. Lack of motivation, laziness, having no direction, fear of failure, biting off more than you can chew, all these things will keep you in the eddies of life. Build a bridge to the life you want, by mindfully assessing where you are and where you want to be. Then make one baby step at a time.

Here’s an exercise to help you free up your energy and move forward.

  • Feel where you feel stuck — where does that stuck place manifest in your body?
  • Place your hands on that area and pull the stuck energy away from you, as though it were a physical thing attached to you.
  • Shake that stuck energy off of your hands. Like a sticky substance that won’t let go, stuck or negative energy can cling to us. The motion of physically sweeping it away helps us to acknowledge it and then shift it. This clears the way for new, renewed, and invigorated energy to settle in its place.

We’re inviting women from around the globe to explore big ideas and out-of-the-box creative solutions. If that appeals to you, please join The Great Circle Community. There is no cost to participate and this article is a sample of the things we’re discussing. We’ll be looking for you inside!

During these very complex times we see the need for a more sophisticated vision and an ability to move forward skillfully. This means to move forward, not only with purpose and drive, but with awareness, especially self-awareness and a big amount of compassion.

Modern Leadership is Like Driving — Constant Scanning is Required

Developing as a leader in this complex time is a complicated adventure!  The old style of leadership was more one dimensional. Today’s modern leadership style demands a more feminine approach that springs from a place of greater self-awareness and being attuned to how your personal actions and reactions affect your community

There’s a better way to drive as a leader…by holding five views.

Think of it like driving an actual car. Doesn’t it make you nervous when you’re in the car with a driver who never scans the road? When driving a car, you look ahead through the window, while keeping an eye on the rear and side-view mirrors. Leaders today need to constantly be scanning as they lead. If not, they’re missing out on vital information that could drastically influence their direction.

In fact, many leaders need to add a new view to an already full field of vision — the ability to look at yourself in the mirror and know how you’re manifesting your presence, seeing yourself as other people see you.  Yes, to grow as a leader and as an individual, is like trying to keep your eyes in all these directions, at the same time!

How many times have you been driving and you arrive at your destination and you can’t remember anything you’ve seen, because you’ve been so preoccupied? Try creating greater self-awareness, while you drive. This skill is easy and will spill over into other areas of life.

  • Intentionally shift the focus onto your body while you’re driving.
  • Feel your sits bone connecting to the seat.
  • Notice the way you’re holding yourself and how you’re gripping on the steering wheel.
  • Keep focused on the road but develop a “dual attention” in order to have a sense of self and the road ahead simultaneously.

How will this exercise benefit your leadership? Try something similar while leading via a Zoom call or having a conversation at home. (When we can once again assemble in groups you can practice this while leading in person):

  • Focus on your breath. Is it full or is it shallow; are you breathing deeply into your gut?
  • Focus on your body. Are your feet firmly planted, helping you feel grounded? Are your shoulders tense or loose? Is your face welcoming and curious or is it pushing people away?
  • Notice how others as individuals are responding to you. Is it with openness or with tension?
  • Notice how the collective team is responding to your presence within the group.

How you hold yourself in your body translates in the experience others have. You can create safety and encourage risk-taking, or you can keep the group from moving forward. Your dual attention, while leading, is critical to the success of the group.

Leading others requires a deep look at oneself. In order to transform our teams, our families, our communities, we must be ready to transform ourselves as well. When something changes, it has a ripple effect, changing everything it touches, whether we like it or not. We need the ability to pivot and change course in order to move through and forward in a healthy and resourceful way. 

So, take a look in the mirror. What do you see? What are your strengths? How do you share those with those around you? Where can you expand your strengths, where can you elevate your voice? How does your reflection change the view ahead, behind, or around you?

All of us create a greater sense of self in relation to other people. We get instant feedback from how people react — do they like or not like what we say, how we say it, how we act, how we are, and so forth. During this time of social isolation, we can lose some of that perspective. Which is why women are joining our Great Circle Community.

These are the kinds of discussions we’re having.  Why not join us! We’re inviting women from around the globe to explore big ideas and out-of-the-box creative solutions. Let’s get inspired and nourished as we feed our leader within. There is no cost to participate and we hold it twice a month. We’ll look for you there!

Our teams, organizations, and clients are looking to us for guidance, so it’s imperative to be grounded leaders who know how to remain calm under adversity.

How To Be A Grounded Leader During Confusing, Complex Times

Life can be uncertain, confusing and complex at the best of times. Now, with COVID-19, ever more so! There’s no way of predicting what tomorrow will bring. It’s not easy remaining calm, centered and balanced.

Do powerful leaders of nations and corporations feel fear, panic, or indecision, like we do? Of course! What sets them apart is that they’ve discovered tools that help them remain grounded under adversity. (Stay tuned – we’re making available to you one of these powerful tools, at the end of this article.)

As leaders, we know that our teams, organizations, and clients are relying on us to stay grounded, and this helps us rise to each new challenge. We know they’re looking to us for clues on when to press forward and when to hold back. And that’s not always easy under pressure, because pressure immediately impacts our personal focus, and if not controlled, will disorient our business focus.

As in all emergency situations, we must help ourselves first. We can’t help ground someone else, until we’re grounded ourselves. Losing our grounding usually manifests itself in one of two ways: 1) we don’t stand up for ourselves when we should or 2) we try to control others. Let’s examine how being a grounded leader can help you avoid either extreme.

1. Strengthen these areas to stand up for yourself

  • Keep your vision clear. If you see a tendency within yourself to let others take over, then it’s time to shore up your vision.
    • How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: By breaking down your vision into goals, and then into mini tasks, you’ll be able to see and clearly articulate the purpose behind each task. This certain knowledge gives you conviction. You’re ready if someone tries to sidetrack you.
  • Communicate what you want and expect. Mindfulness helps you be aware of what’s happening in the Now and how you’re responding to it. For example, automatically saying “Yes” to avoid stress will cause more stress in the long term.
    • How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: Mindfully review your recent decisions and commitments. Were they aligned with your purpose? Where, why, and to whom, did you give in? When was it easiest to hold your ground? Take note of where you want to respond differently and train your brain to respond more intentionally in the future.
  • Maintain flexibility. Strive to bend without breaking, while at the same time, holding your ground over things you really believe in.
    • How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: As you begin each day, review your to-do list and mindfully identify what you’re willing to compromise and what’s a deal breaker. Listen to your gut, but question it thoroughly. Your gut can be overly protective. Remove attachment to specific outcomes. Allow your ideas room to grow, so you can pivot when needed.

2. Strengthen these areas to support others:

  • View others as collaborators. Sometimes, we confuse leadership with control. The only person you control is YOU.
    • How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: Comparisons between people are seldom helpful. Maintain a realistic view of yourself…you can’t go it alone and you’re not better than others. Get to know your team as individuals; learn their strengths and weaknesses. Then assign them work that allows them to showcase their expertise. This engenders respect, trust and sparks creativity. All of this reflects well on your leadership and will increase your bottom line.
  • Deepen your awareness of how others feel. Whether you call it empathy or compassion, this goes a long way in building strong relationships and alliances.
    • How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: There’s no place in business today for, “It’s my way or the highway!” On some days people need to be pushed to do their best work; other days they need to be nurtured and allowed to rest. And the only way you’re going to know what kind of day today is, is if you connect with others daily and empathically. Ask for honest feedback and accept it with gratitude, not judgment. People need to be heard and you need to hear what they’re saying. An unbreakable loyalty will result and they won’t try to undermine your leadership.
  • Nurture curiosity in yourself and others. Curiosity involves actively opening your eyes to see, your ears to listen, and your mind to comprehend.
    • How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: Being an active learner keeps you from becoming defensive, because you’re open to new ideas, new ways of doing things, new perspectives. You have nothing to prove and everything to learn. Everyone stays inspired and it leads to more understanding and tolerance.

We are constantly buffeted by winds of change. As Newave Leaders, we work to maintain our strength, while staying flexible enough to bend. What helps us stay grounded? It’s a 3-Part Daily Visualization Process. It gets each day off to a good start and assists you to make necessary course corrections through the day. We invite you to add these amazing free tools to your “toolbox” of leadership skills.

When you create your own path, rather than following the old leadership model, it helps to regularly take a step back and assess if you’re still on track.

Use The Power Of Community To Help You Create Your Own Path!

“To watch people push themselves further than they think they can, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s really human.” ~ Abby Wambach

It’s month two of the new year already! Is your year going as planned or have you hit some turbulence that has slowed you down, or even stopped you? Perhaps it’s time to breathe new life into your goals or reinforce the good start you made?

As women leaders, it’s common to run into obstacles on our chosen path. Sometimes it becomes so difficult you may want to give up. Yet we urge you to keep going. After all, if it’s easy, you wouldn’t be growing, testing the waters outside your comfort zone and extending yourself fully.

It’s helpful to take a step back and look at your path, regularly and often. This constant reassessment, which allows for course correction, is the key to moving forward. People who sail on the open sea know this very well. When the wind becomes strong, they don’t continue to try to reach their destination in a beeline. Rather they employ a skill known as tacking. The captain turns the bow toward the wind so that the direction from which the wind blows changes from first the left side and then the right side, allowing a zig zag progression toward the desired direction. The obstacle, the wind, is then turned into an asset, propelling them forward with much more speed than if there were no wind or obstacle at all.

Are you on your path, or someone else’s?

One of our favorite books is WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power and Change the Game, by Abby Wambach. She’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion and is noted for her leadership skills as she helped transform her soccer teammates into one of the most successful, powerful and united Wolfpacks of all time.

She reminds us that the old rule, the one we grew up in, is to “Stay on the path”. This model is not designed for women today. The new rule is to create your own path. 

Take the time to consider if you’re on the right path for you. Especially, if you have set goals for yourself based on something you read, advice from an “expert” or a conversation with a friend without ensuring that it’s the right goal for you. Is it getting you nearer or further away from your destination?

We believe that it’s important to base your goals on who you really are, instead of who you wish you were. This takes a lot of grace, compassion and self-knowing. Truly accepting who you are helps you set routines and systems that help you succeed. So, as you step back to reassess, ask yourself: “Is this goal designed for me or for someone I wish I were?”

Create your own path, but don’t walk it alone.

As in the case of Abby Wamback, successful leadership involves not only claiming our individual power, but also uniting our Pack or community and forging new trails. Your power to create your new path doesn’t come from trying to go it alone. The new path embraces accountability. As women, the power of the collective is a potent source of accountability. 

We, Maria and Louise, turn to each other quite often to hold our work in an accountable frame. We also ask questions of each other that push and stretch us out of our comfort zone of repeating old patterns. We don’t only do power different, we approach goals in a different way. We like to create routines that have accountability by creating a buddy system. It’s not only important to know what you want. It’s also important to have a community that is cheering for you, is excited, and holds you accountable.

Who is in your community of allies that help you stay true to your goals? Who are your accomplices who will support you when you veer away from your goal? How can you develop more allies in your accountability plans? We invite you to become part of our community at our next annual retreat — Women: Bring Forth the Leader Within. Among other things, we’ll help you develop your leadership style so that you can lead from where you are instead of reaching into a style that you are not. (Pssst…We’re extending the Early Bird Pricing through the month of February!) If you have any questions or concerns, we invite you to contact us so we can address them.

Both men and women can use the traits characterizing the feminine leadership style to enhance their leadership skills.

We Do Power Different — The Feminine Leadership Style

“The way in which we think of ourselves has everything to do with how our world sees us and how we see ourselves successfully acknowledged by the world.” ~ Arlene Rankin

Perhaps you think feminine means something girly girl — things that are sweet and pretty. So in your mind, a feminine approach has no place in business, politics or leadership, because it lessens your power. After all, these arenas have long been dominated by men and you have to be tough to survive in them, right? It isn’t possible to be tough and feminine at the same time, is it? Well, the answer to these questions may surprise you…

In the context of business and the world scene, we believe the feminine leadership style can effectively be used by both men and women, as it refers to developing the behaviors, characteristics, and skills that women have quietly used for centuries to successfully guide their families. It’s a powerful, yet subtle, influence that brings out the best in each member of the family or team to create a synergy of the whole accomplishing so much more than any individual effort ever could.

What traits characterize the feminine approach to leadership?

Women bring a passion to their leadership. This trait enables you to put heart into all that you do. We’re invested in the outcome, it’s not just a job.

Women have learned how to be flexible and resilient as we balance home and work life. We often care for multiple roles of responsibility simultaneously so we know how to quickly collect and assemble data into complex patterns as we weigh all the options to make the best decisions. (Most moms do this every morning when they get their children off to school with clean clothes, backpacks, completed homework, lunches, and pick-up and drop-off schedules all in order.) 

Women tend to see the big picture, because they pay attention to the human element not just the cold, hard facts. Yes, they’re comfortable acknowledging “feelings” within themselves and others.

The feminine leadership style relates with others, while keeping ego under control. It looks for ways to connect, to hear, and see others. We seek to inspire and build, which multiplies our impact, rather than separate and diminish our efforts. People respond to this caring energy. It fosters creativity and excellence, as others feel accepted and valued.  

Feminine leaders are natural collaborators and can create and motivate teams, because we do it every day within the family unit. We’ve learned to hone our sensitivity to assess the mood in a room and have the courage to say what needs to be said. We know that men and women think differently; work to understand each person, rather than being dismissive of their contribution.

Feminine leaders are authentic in all they do. We know who we are and we’ve grown comfortable in our own skin. We’re not afraid to follow our dreams and be the author of our journey. We’ve learned how to speak what we believe and have the strength and presence to be ourselves, while welcoming everyone around you to do the same. 

The feminine approach takes advantage of the power that comes from softening your stance. It’s no mistake that a ball is round. Rounder objects handle stress better. This is well-illustrated by what engineers have learned about designing airplane windows. Airplanes, at first, used square windows. However, when jets began flying faster and at higher altitudes, two planes fell apart in midair. They came to realize that sharp corners of the square windows were natural weak spots where stress concentrates. Curved windows, on the other hand, have no focal point, so it distributes the stress. Feminine leaders don’t let everyday stressors make them rigid in their thinking and physiology. They’ve learned to soften the body and roll with the punches both literally and figuratively.

As you looked at these traits, how did you feel? Do you feel like you’re fully utilizing them in your approach to leadership. It’s not always easy, is it? Some women have felt that they must adopt leadership styles that make them acquiesce to the status quo or become ‘one of the boys’. Sadly, this reduces your effectiveness, as they don’t allow you to use your strengths and skills fully. 

We appreciate what Mary Beard said in Women & Power: A Manifesto ,“You cannot easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure.”  Let’s be at the forefront of this change! When we chose the phrase, “we do power different” as our tagline, we wanted to emphasize that we are moving beyond the divide and conquer model of leadership that has been in use for much too long. We invite you to take this journey with us. Start by filling out our thought-provoking PADLE questionnaire. It’s a leadership model that makes sense!

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