What’s Holding You Back from Success? 5 Ways to Break Through & Get Ahead

Do you have goals and dreams but find yourself getting in your own way with thoughts like: “What if they don’t like it?” or “I just don’t have the time.” or “I need to wait until X happens.” The real question is: what’s holding you back? Chances are, these excuses aren’t the root cause of what’s holding you back from following your dreams and finding success.

The noise and chatter of our fast-paced world often blur the real cause for what’s holding you back from success.

Working a 9-5 grind means your circadian rhythms are aligned to hustle mode, with little room for energy at the end of your workday. Long work hours stuck on the hamster wheel ramp up your mental fatigue so high that focusing on other goals seems impossible. For most of us, myself included, family, work, and financial obligations take up a ton of time, and personal anxieties can freeze you in passivity.

I know what that’s like. A few years ago, it was easy for me to function on autopilot, concerned only with short-term tasks that offered the dismal reward of “relaxation” for a few hours…until it started all over again the next day. I asked myself: what is holding you back from being the person you want to be?

It took me a while to find this answer, but I did. What barriers are holding you back? Today I’ll show you how to break through these personal barriers. I’ll share how to identify what’s holding you back from success and five ways to help you break through!

What’s Holding You Back: 5 Common Barriers to Success

If something’s holding you back, you’re not alone. A modern environment obsessed with productivity, convenience, and appearances creates many barriers to success. Add individual insecurities and patterns, and you’ve got a big list of obstacles.

What is holding change back for most people? Here are the most common that I’ve seen in my clients:


  • Burnout: Raising kids, working full-time, and managing a household with no breaks can eventually cause enough stress to burn you out. At that point, you need to take a pause from everything and focus on centering yourself to get closer to the work required to take that coding course or find that first client.


  • Fear of Failure or the Unknown: Failure is scary because you might care about what others think of you. The anxiety, insecurity, and potential for embarrassment are enough for you to excuse your way into constant delays or abandon your dreams altogether.


  • Vague Goals: A lack of clarity and understanding of yourself and your goals makes it hard to understand what you really want in life. If you don’t have a clear picture, it’s harder to say no to routine things that don’t bring you closer to success.


  • Poor Discipline: Success occurs over time, and the work requires discipline every day.


  • Not Enough Time: This barrier is usually the excuse, with poor time management as the real barrier.


These are some ideas, but you might still have trouble seeing what’s holding you back.

How to Identify What’s Holding You Back

The best way to learn what’s holding you back is to practice stillness and meditation. Meditation helps you quiet the noise of your day’s ongoing obligations and racing thoughts. With some patience, you’ll find enough quiet to zero in on what’s important and what’s an obstacle to your success.

Maybe it’s the immense amount of time you give to social media. Or it’s the overtime at work that you feel unfairly compensated for.

A clear mind reveals inner truths, from what you want in life to what’s holding you back.

How Do You Overcome What’s Holding You Back from Success: 5 Ways to Break Through

Achieving success in life is attainable, no matter where you’re at in your journey. Even if you’re feeling hopeless, I know you can make it. Here are a few tips to help you get there:

1.   Distinguish Assumptions from Truth

If I had a dime for every time I mistook an assumption for truth, I would probably buy a second boat.

A few years back, I assumed that I needed the same thing as everyone else to feel satisfied. I assumed once I reached my parents’ expectations of me, I’d be happy. And I assumed that people wouldn’t like my offerings if I went into business for myself.

Assumptions easily creep up amidst our racing thoughts when our minds are distracted. That’s why it’s so important to practice stillness — to quiet the mind and find more clarity.

2.   Be Persistent

Even when you’re stressed out and feeling down on yourself, giving up is not an option. Maybe you had a stressful week and justified only spending half an hour researching your dream industry after your 9 to 5 when you committed to spending two hours.

Why are you holding back from the work you know will get you closer to your goals? If something’s going to take the backseat, it shouldn’t be your dream.

Want to know a secret? Meditation forms strong habits. As the Harvard Business Review describes, every habit starts with a routine. Some tips they recommend to create habits include:


  • Create a schedule to organize your obligations
  • Start with micro-habits (e.g., meditating for 5 minutes daily and upping the time to 20 minutes later)
  • Pair new routines with existing ones to encourage discipline


3.   Learn to Let Go

Have you ever felt paralyzed by a memory? Maybe it was an embarrassing misadventure at work, or someone made fun of you when you were vulnerable and showed your feelings.

What are you holding onto that’s holding you back?

If it’s in the past, you need to let it go. I know it’s easier said than done, but you can’t move on with your life if you spend too much time ruminating. During meditation, I look at memories like clouds. Some take longer to pass, but they pass if you let them.

4.   Talk it Out

Do problems seem more significant in your mind than they are in real life? Like the assumptions point I made earlier, our tendency to bottle emotions and worries keeps us from success.

Sometimes, it helps to talk it out with someone you trust, whether a therapist, life coach or close friend. If you ask, what’s holding me back in life after long-winded venting, your friend might propose some ideas. Or you’ll come to the answer on your own.

Don’t underestimate the power of authentic conversation. In fact, it’s one of the main benefits of stillness!

5.   Take Action

Dale Carnegie once said,

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it.”


Sometimes action is all it takes. Start looking for that first freelance client. Have that tough conversation about a raise with your boss. Tell your spouse that you need more quality time and help with the kids.

Break Free and Find Success with Stillness

Success may seem like a giant mountain to climb, but it’s the result of intentional decisions made every day. If you feel intimidated, start just with one of these ideas. Start with some simple breathing or with a conversation.

Or sign up for my Stillness to Success course. I’ve seen it help many people like yourself overcome barriers to success. It gives you the tools to identify what you want in life and make a concrete plan to get there. When you overcome what’s holding you back from success, you’re unstoppable!


By |2022-08-25T16:25:21-07:00March 14th, 2022|Articles|0 Comments

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