Woman avoiding getting ready.

Imagine being presented with the opportunity of a lifetime, the one big chance you have been thinking about and craving for months is becoming a reality. You are finally in the running to be interviewed by your dream clients. They are finally giving you a chance to present your proposal in person, which if successful, will give you the financial freedom you have been dreaming of.

You have set all this in motion through hard work and it has been a consistent desire.  You have put it out to the universe to bring this exact moment to fruition.  But, when this reality sets in, you begin to focus on the most unlikely attributes. You question if what you are wearing will be appropriate, and you think to yourself, “Maybe, I don’t look professional enough in this skirt”. You just curled your hair for an hour, and now it’s going in a bun and the self-doubt starts to creep in. “What if I sound like I don’t know what I am talking about, what if I am not qualified for this role.  What if I forget to mention my key selling points in my presentation.” The downward spiral begins, the imposture syndrome and in this instance the social anxiety stops you dead in your tracks.  You immediately begin to think about how you can get out of this situation. You ponder the options, “I can call and tell them I have a family emergency, I would much rather stay home in my pyjamas anyway and that way I would not embarrass myself.”  Does any of this sound familiar?!

Some may call this a blockage, and in my opinion, that’s a grand excuse. For one moment, I am going to be not so gentle and say that this is NOT a blockage, this is avoidance, and it shows up for all of us in different ways, when we come up against something we do not want to deal with. It can appear as fear, anxiety and sometimes even perfectionism.

In this situation dealing with the FEAR of speaking in front of a group/social anxiety, the fear of failure and imposture syndrome all crept in. All things you want to avoid! The reaction to the fear was to abort the mission. Immediately get out of this situation or avoid having to experience it all together. 

The wonderful part about avoidance is that there is a positive way of resolving these obstacles and the opportunity to take a chance and move forward and clear the blockage. If you find yourself looking for certainty that you are going to succeed, remind yourself that success is not guaranteed and trying is what is needed to stop avoidance behaviours.  You don’t have to be certain of your success, but you have to be realistic and you limit your chances of success if you do not try.

In the situation described above, you might ask yourself if you can you live through the embarrassment if you mess up. Can you live through the failure if you are not hired? Can you survive it if nobody else likes your outfit? The reality is you likely can handle it. It wouldn’t be pleasant but you would move on. 

I bet you will realize you truly can face these avoidances, and you need to just put one foot in front of the other and just go for it!

As businesswomen, we often find ourselves facing a myriad of challenges on our entrepreneurial journey and in our personal lives. It’s no wonder we sometimes encounter these roadblocks. Let’s explore how understanding them as a form of avoidance can empower you to break through and achieve your goals.

Identifying your blockage can manifest itself in various ways. It may appear as a fear of failure, procrastination, perfectionism, overthinking and even busyness. These are all ways that avoidance presents itself. Once you recognize your blockages you can take the next step of identifying the underlying cause of the avoidance. 

Fear: Fear of failure, success, rejection, or the unknown can lead to avoidance. It’s a natural human response to steer clear of perceived threats. This may be where your decision to suddenly have a family emergency stems from.

Comfort Zones: Staying within your comfort zone feels safe, but it can also be a way to avoid the discomfort associated with personal and professional growth. If you think staying in your pyjamas feels way more comfortable, this may be your root cause.

Self-Doubt: A lack of self-confidence can lead to avoidance. If you don’t believe in yourself, you may avoid situations where you need to assert your authority or expertise. This is often referred to as imposture syndrome.

Perceived Overwhelm: Feeling overwhelmed by a task or project can lead to avoidance, you may not know where to start or how to tackle it. So instead you just avoid doing it all together.

Awareness of your avoidance tendencies can be very empowering and allow you to break through your blocks and recognize that you are possibly, even subconsciously, using avoidance tactics. Identifying tendencies to procrastinate, overthink, or become excessively busy can be incredibly empowering. Awareness allows you to take a step back and ask yourself why you’re engaging in these behaviours. Is it truly because of a legitimate obstacle, or is it an avoidance mechanism?

Once you’ve identified avoidance behaviours, you can implement strategies to overcome them. Be aware of strong reactions, feelings of resistance and the sudden desire to remain in the same place you were trying to move forward from.

 

  1. Set Clear Goals: Define your goals clearly, breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps. This can help reduce the overwhelm associated with avoidance. Tackling the tasks you avoid first in your day can be very rewarding and allows you to enjoy the rest of your day!
  2. Cultivate Self-Confidence: Work on building your self-esteem and confidence. Surround yourself with a supportive network and seek mentorship or coaching if necessary. Be kind to yourself, and if you are not 100% sure you will succeed, remember that trying is better than remaining in the same place you were trying to move forward from. Decide if you can survive all outcomes, and don’t forget to consider the outcome where you succeed.
  3. Embrace Imperfection: Understand that perfection is an unrealistic standard. Embrace the idea that everyone makes mistakes and view them as learning opportunities. How often have you seen a mentor make a mistake only to laugh it off? We ALL make mistakes, and it’s okay to laugh at yourself.
  4. Stay present: If you start to hear those “What if?” ideas pop into your mind.  Say to yourself out loud. I am doing this! Overthinking about the future creates anxiety. Acknowledge tendencies to create imaginary situations and refocus on the current situation.
  5. Celebrate your wins!  Makesure you let someone in on what you are working toward so that you have someone to celebrate with and support you during the tough times.  Even the little wins deserve recognition, and it can be helpful to have someone to call who understands you and encourages you to overcome your avoidances.

The path to success is not always smooth, but recognizing that many of our roadblocks are avoidance mechanisms is a game-changer. Confronting these avoidance behaviours head-on empowers you to break through and reach your full potential. By identifying the roots of your avoidance tendencies and implementing strategies to overcome them, you can conquer your fears and doubts, making your entrepreneurial journey a more fulfilling and successful one. Remember, blocks are an excuse and opportunities for growth and self-discovery.

I would love to hear about your avoidance tendencies and how you are working through them!

 

 

Mel