How to Stop Blocking Your Excellence

Written on the 7 January 2014 by Jim Sniechowski, PhD

How to Stop Blocking Your Excellence

There’s a huge difference between externally imposed limits, like not enough resources or too small a budget, and self-imposed limitations like self-doubt, or lack of confidence, or inaccurate beliefs that create blocks which appear to be coming at you from out there when in fact thy are arising from within you and preventing you from expressing the best you have.

Most often people focus on the external blocks because they’re usually obvious and easy to spot. But those external blocks are not within your control.

It’s the internal blocks, those that have been with you for a long time, that are difficult to get rid of because they are in shadow, almost invisible and yet have a serious impact on your performance.

Internal blocks are maddening because no matter what you try you inevitably end up in the same place.

Repetitious Behaviors

One clear signal that you’re trapped in the limitation of an internal block is repetitious behavior. A simple example is a person who keeps claiming he/she wants to be promoted but keeps underperforming even after explicit instructions of what he or she needs to do to be promoted.

You’d think that it would be obvious to the person that no matter what they consciously say, they keep doing the very behaviors that will prohibit them from achieving what they say they want.

What’s Standing in the Way?

This is clearly NOT an external problem but an internal one. Something inside the psyche of the person is standing in the way by insisting on behaviors that are counter-productive. Not until that inner impediment can be discovered and uprooted can change take place.

So What To Do?

  1. The first and most powerful step us to admit that something in your unconscious is in the way. Without this admission you are forced to look outside yourself and that action will take you away from what is really going on and cause you to fail to find what you’re looking for. Not because you are incompetent or unwilling but because you’re looking in the wrong place.
  2. Look into your personal history and ask yourself “What is wrong with getting a promotion?” – and there is something wrong or you wouldn’t be standing in your way. For some reason you don’t have inner permission to go after and accept a promotion. We call this an “allegiance.” You are being loyal to some belief that is holding you back.
  3. Another way to approach this is to ask yourself why the behavior you are exhibiting is preferable to getting what you want. You keep resisting or refusing to go forward in your excellence and your refusal is the preferred choice.
  4. You believe that some negative consequence will occur if you go forward. You may be the most successful person in your family and that’s not something you can allow yourself to be and be comfortable with. Or deep down you may believe you don’t have what it takes to do the job at the next level so it’s best to stay where you are.

You Will Have to Grow

To grow you will have to extend your personal boundaries, your personal sense of who you are. That will mean an identity change. That can be very frightening because you will have to re-imagine your life. For many people this change brings with it what my wife Judith and I call a “growth shudder;” a literal physical response that lets you know you are moving into new territory.

The intensity of your growth shudder will be proportionate to the degree of resistance you carry in your unconscious. Another way to say this is the degree that you lack internal permission and that’s holding you back. This is a tricky psychological idea---a reality—that may sound far-fetched but if you just take a moment to scan your life for the times when you were unwilling to grow, to move forward especially if you said you wanted to, you will see the power of unconscious allegiances and how they direct not just your life but all of our lives. You can open the way to your own growth even if you have put yourself down for the failure to change, grow, and move. You can.

For more about unconscious allegiance please see my wife Judith’s post, “A Different Point of View About the Peter Principle,” at

(Photo Credit: trollback Flickr)

Jim Sniechowski, PhD and his wife Judith Sherven, PhD have developed a penetrating perspective on people’s resistance to success, which they call The Fear of Being Fabulous. Recognizing the power of unconscious programming to always outweigh conscious desires, they assert that no one is ever failing. They are always succeeding. The question is, at what?

Currently working as consultants on retainer to LinkedIn providing executive coaching, leadership training and consulting as well as working with private clients around the world, they continually prove that when unconscious beliefs are brought to the surface, the barriers to greater success and leadership presence begin to fade away. They call it Overcoming the Fear of Being Fabulous.

Author: Jim Sniechowski, PhD

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