Kerry Lifeline

Personal Barriers to Success


Frequently we sabotage ourselves by feeling that we don’t deserve success or happiness. Fear of failure can prevent us from moving towards a desired goal. However, this is often to do with our sense of not being enough – more than loss of money or time or reputation. If you have a fear of failure you may be holding some negative belief about yourself which is repressing you. To understand what your barrier may be, fill in the following blank for yourself:  “If I try and don’t succeed, everyone will know I’m ………………”

Another helpful way to identify our blocks to success is to write down, without censoring, the specific thoughts and feelings you have that hold you back. This will help you to identify child-like or vulnerable feelings that may be unconsciously controlling your behaviour. In the same way that a parent might reassure (and not ridicule) a scared child, learn to parent yourself – and assure the vulnerable part of you that you’ll take charge and that you have their back.

Perfectionism can hinder our success, leading us to focus more on avoiding failure than accomplishing our goals.  Begin to see mistakes as opportunities for learning and not reasons to beat yourself up about something. If you don’t get the result you wanted, this doesn’t make you a failure. Look at the event as a learning experience and ask what you can take from the situation. Assess if it could have been prevented and ask what you can do differently next time. It is also vital that we not take things too personally and separate what we do from our overall sense of identity. Shifting our focus in this way can be difficult – and is a practice that we can perfect over time.

Self-limiting thoughts or beliefs can be particularly damaging as they limit the possibilities for change and success. If you find yourself thinking a limiting thought – turn it into a question. Rather than thinking “I can’t do this – it’s impossible”, ask “How can I do this” or “How is this possible”. Simply changing the statement to a question opens us up to finding new possibilities and sounds more hopeful.

Getting to where you want to be takes many small steps. It is important to begin by firmly establishing in your mind what you want to achieve. Write this down and believe with certainty that it can be accomplished. It can also help to visualise yourself attaining this goal. Continue to take meaningful steps towards your destination until you have reached your goal.

SouthWest Counselling Centre Killarney provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre.

Kerry LifeLine provides FREE counselling and support to anyone feeling suicidal or bereaved through suicide.   

To make an appointment call 064 6636416/064 66364100

 SouthWest Counselling Centre is a not-for-profit organization. All funds raised through fundraising go directly to service provision