Darned if You Do, Darned if You Don’t


It’s easy to get stuck in your life. You have a decision to make and something looming over you prevents you from making a choice. What if you’ve gotten yourself bound up in a position where you can’t make a good decision based on your current perceptions?

I just went through an exercise with a group where everyone had to list their excuses (limiting beliefs) for not moving their businesses forward. A pair of statements on one list jumped out at me:

I’m afraid of what success will bring.
What if I fail?

They didn’t leave themselves much room here. You’re either going to succeed or fail in business. For this individual, it was readily apparent how their perceptions had them frozen.

A typical coaching response to “What if I fail?” might be something like “What if you succeed?” but that has already been precluded by the prior statement. This is one of those knots (I call it a “double-bind” though I know it doesn’t meet the formal definition) that needs to be picked apart carefully. One key is the use of the word “afraid.” The False Evidence Appearing Real is a great place to start the conversation. Looking into what success looks like for the individual will help identify what’s blocking the way for them there. Once a harmonious vision of success is achieved, opening that door will be easier. They can then leave the idea of failure behind.

What types of situations frequently get you bound up? How have you eventually untied the knot?

Photo credit: fortinbras / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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