As a child I clearly remember walking along the seafront with my family one summers day. I was happily chatting away to my parents, without a care in the world. I remember kicking a pebble along the walkway and pretending it was a football, dreaming of being a super star player some day and scoring goals in big matches.
And I remember kicking this pebble and it spinning off in a slightly random sideways direction and hitting another walker nearby, on their bare foot. Clearly it would have been painful for that person. My mother asked me to go and apologise to the them.
As a child I was so shocked and embarrassed by what had happened, I really wanted to go and apologise and explain it had been an accident and that I was terribly sorry. I felt terrible about it. But the embarrassment and shame shut me down and no matter how much I wanted to go and apologise, I was rooted to the spot, unable to say anything or move anywhere. The thing I wanted to do the most, at that moment, was the thing that I was completely incapable of doing. The walker, although shocked, carried on walking and I never managed to make that apology.
What happened? I got in my own way. I allowed myself to be driven by emotions and to not do the thing that I knew needed to be done at that moment.
Ever wanted to do something but talked yourself out of it? Ever had the urge to step forward and make a difference in some way, or to make a challenge and stand up and be counted for it but backed away instead? Ever had an opportunity come before you that is really something you want to do, but somehow you can’t quite get the courage together to be bold enough to step forward?
Sometimes the fear of failure, the fear of what other people might think, the fear of making a fool of yourself can be so strong that it overcomes your urge and desire to do the thing you know deep down you need to do.
That is getting in your own way. Being driven by emotions rather than purpose.
The moment you can forget about what other people think, stop worrying about how you might fail, what you might look like, learn to live your life, your way, do the things you need to do to be fulfilled and live your purpose, you get out of your own way and life opens up for you. It’s liberating. It’s fulfilling. It brings you joy. It helps you connect with others. It makes you stand out as the unique and wonderful person you are.
So get out of your own way, make a fool of yourself, play full out, go for it.
Don’t fear failure, fear regret..