Breaking Out of the Box….

As an entrepreneur and a coach I see many very capable and eager people fail to achieve success. It isn’t lack of enthusiasm, desire, or even money that leads to this failure. It’s not because of who they are or where they are from. In fact, there isn’t any one thing I can think of that would justifiably keep such an eager individual (or organization) from reaching for and attaining the status they so inherently desire.

So, what is it then? What keeps one from breaking through the starting gate and maintaining their momentum long enough to get a taste of success? It’s the box! It’s the proverbial self constructed box that keeps us from moving ahead. This sounds like a tough position to be in but the fact of the matter is, if you’re stuck inside the box you’re in the best position possible to induce change and achieve lasting success.

Ok, so maybe that last statement has left you scratching your head so I’ll elaborate. When you’re feeling all boxed in and unable to move in a certain direction it’s almost a better place to be than when you have no apprehensions. First, it’s an indication that you are pushing yourself further than you’ve ever been in this area. Second, when we bump up against the walls of the box it gives us an opportunity to take a self appraisal and develop new skills. The former is pretty simple and easily accepted so the remainder of this article will be directed toward the latter.

If you are one who has mastered the skill of a good honest self evaluation then this probably isn’t a sticking point. However, for many taking a good honest look at one’s self doesn’t always come that easy. That’s understandable since to evaluate, by definition, is to assess the value of something. The question to answer here and the true turning point to seeing an appraisal or evaluation as an opportunity is this: What is it I am really evaluating or assessing the value of? Is it me? Am I placing a value on whether I’m a good person or a bad person, good employee or bad, good wife or bad, and so on? Or, am I evaluating the situation? For most people it’s the former and it is this black and white thinking that keeps us locked inside the box. When we can gear our thinking toward the latter we can set ourselves free from any box we get ourselves in to. Rest assured, if you are consistently pushing the envelope of personal development there will be plenty of boxes to get yourself out of.The way to effectively think about self appraisal is to keep in mind that we are assessing our skill set not determining whether we’re good or bad which in reality is just making a judgment. Isn’t it easier to think about assessing our skills rather than judging ourselves? No matter what the situation, whether personal or professional the way out of the box is always by determining what skills are needed to move forward in the direction toward our ultimate goal or objective. This is the working part of personal development and is also the legend to roadmap that lies between where we are and where we want to be. When we assess our skills it helps us determine what training we may need, who we may need to employ, or even what old baggage we may be carrying around and still need to get rid of. If the term self evaluation is too emotionally weighted you may want to call it a proficiency analysis or skills assessment. Find the term that best suits you.Maybe this all sounds good in theory but if you’re a practical, hands on kind of person like me this isn’t going to satisfy your curiosity. Let’s take a situation or two and see what we can come up with. We’ll do one personal and one professional just to show it works in any situation.Let’s say you’re stuck in a box regarding dating. You’ve got the number, you like the person, all the planets seem to be in alignment but you just can’t make the call. Self analysis reveals that I have not sharpened the skill of self confidence. I’ve consulted with a friend or two and they’ve helped me come up with a few positive characteristics about myself and I have decided that placing a few post it notes throughout my home and work area will help me sharpen this skill. Prior to the phone call I will call someone for support going in, place a list of positive aspects about myself by the phone, and commit to a call to a friend after. I have now given myself the tools to be more self confident and created some accountability allowing myself to break through the box of making that call. Seeing self confidence as a skill has taken away the emotional aspect of it allowing me to create a workable solution.As an entrepreneur maybe I’m having trouble breaking in to internet marketing. Instead of seeing myself as a failure or floundering around aimlessly I just need to make and appraisal of my skills in this area. If it’s a new area of expertise I’m most likely finding my box is made of lack of knowledge. In this case I may decide to employ the help of a professional organization to learn what it takes to market myself effectively and become more proficient in managing the different aspects of internet marketing. Of course, each new avenue comes with its share of boxes but that’s ok because all I need to do is back off a bit, make that skills assessment for each one, and break my way in to new and exciting avenues to reach my objectives.
This is the point where most people either think wow, this is simple and something I can do or wow, this seems too simple to be true. The fact of the matter is, it is that simple. No one says it’s going to be easy but if you’re looking for easy you wouldn’t be reading this article.It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to be the best friend, parent, employee or business owner if you’re forging ahead on the road to success you will get in to some boxes and with a simple and effective plan you’ll bust through them in no time looking for the next.Embrace the journey and remember the two principles of my philosophy which are “there’s enough for everyone” and “everyone has an equal ability to learn.” Your Partner in Success,
Cindy Zeis

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