3 Big Lies That Hold You Back…

3 Big Lies That Hold You Back

Deep down do you have big dreams and want to pursue them but haven’t started yet? Maybe you feel frustrated and stuck because you don’t know where to start… maybe you’re afraid of not doing the “right thing”… or you’ve tried a couple things and nothing has worked the way you expected.

I believe deep down, you know who you are and what will make you happy, but for some reason, a block exists that is keeping your desire from surfacing in a strong and visible way. I’ve seen three common excuses that keep people from pursuing paths that would make them happier. Maybe you’ve encountered one or more of them… if so read on to learn what you can do about it.

Big Lie #1: I have to take a big leap.

It’s natural to feel like making a change in your life is a big, scary leap, but you can actually start in the baby end of the pool you want. That mental reframing may help you make progress at a pace that you are comfortable with and allow you to gain confidence without causing panic.

The Straight Dope

Take a small action in the direction of your goal. As the adage goes, “A trip of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” What’s one little baby step you can take today?

Big Lie #2: I’m not ready.

No one ever says this unless they have some expectation of action. If you expect something, part of you wants it. When you say you aren’t ready, that’s your fear talking. Ask yourself, “What’s the smallest action I can take that is impossible to fail at?” Once you have even a little momentum, the next step becomes that much easier.

The Straight Dope

Your first step could be as simple as doing a Google search, making a phone call, or having a conversation with someone who can provide some insights. If you find yourself hesitating, use Mel Robbins’s five second rule. Count down. “Five, four, three, two, one . . . go!” Then act. This technique helps you get started before your consciousness can resist.

Big Lie #3: This decision is do-or-die.

This can be a showstopper. Putting this pressure on yourself is like a baseball player coming to the plate and expecting to hit a home run every time. It can lead to performance anxiety and can decrease the likelihood of anything productive happening. Focus on taking action rather than the outcome. After all, it’s only your action that you have any control over.

The Straight Dope

Try stuff . . . and be kind to yourself. Give yourself credit for being brave and notice what parts work and what you want to change next time. Keep up your activity, and before you know it, you’ll be getting on base and maybe even hitting the occasional home run. Consistent, small steps will get you closer to your goal than expecting dramatic surges forward.

The Truth About These Three Big Lies

From far away, these lies can seem like insurmountable obstacles between you and your dreams, but when you have the courage to look more closely, you see that you can make progress with a step-by-step approach.


  • You’re in control of how big of a risk you take. Lots of small steps can often get you to your destination faster than a single giant leap.
  • Explore the block that is keeping you from taking even the smallest action. If you want to do something but feel that you’re not ready, you may need to start walking on the path toward your goal to see your options.
  • Few decisions are do-or-die. Through mistakes we learn the most and gain the most valuable insights about our true path. Try to reframe mistakes as learning opportunities.

Don’t let these lies stand in your way. When you get focused on your goals and start taking action, nothing can hold you back!


This story is an excerpt from my upcoming book Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Terms which will be released in April 2020 by New Degree Press.


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Terry McDougall

Terry B. McDougall is an author, speaker & executive coach who helps people find the sweet spot where personal happiness…

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