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Is your ‘story’ holding you back?

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Whether we recognize it or not, we all have beliefs about our place in the world and what we are capable of.

It's these beliefs — the "story" you tell yourself — that determine more than anything else what you accomplish in life.

In my work as a leadership coach, I have the good fortune to work with really smart, successful clients who want more — to stretch themselves in some way. As we work on up-leveling their outcomes, we almost always have to up-level their beliefs about themselves first.

Here are some signs your story might be holding you back from what you really want:

1. Do you keep repeating patterns? Do you keep finding yourself unable to set boundaries with forceful personalities at work? Do you take on big, highly visible projects, but never quite finish them? There's a deeper issue at play here.

2. Do you see others achieving what you want and you know you're just as capable, and are frustrated that you can't figure out why you aren’t as successful?

3. Do you beat yourself up over mistakes or dwell on negative feedback?

If you answered “Yes!” to one or more of these signs, you are likely an “insecure overachiever.” These are highly accomplished, intelligent people who, by all objective measures, have already gone quite far in life. But they plateau at a certain level until they can upgrade their self-concept to move beyond the obstacles in their way.

For example, you may notice that you keep stalling out at a certain level of responsibility and can't seem to move up. It could be that at your core, you believe more success would make you unlikeable and you would damage relationships that are important to you. Or perhaps you believe that you don't deserve a certain level of success, that it's only reserved for other people.

The good news is, when you are aware of these signs and resolve to overcome outdated beliefs that no longer serve you, you're able to go far beyond what you envisioned.

Not only is this completely doable, it's incredibly empowering.

If you suspect there's something internally holding you back, you're probably right. But don't stay in the victim role too long. Seek the counsel of a trusted, straight-shooter friend to hash it out. Work with a skilled coach to help you root out those old beliefs and upgrade them with empowering ones. Do whatever it takes to transform what you believe is possible for you.

When you transform your relationship with yourself, you transform your world.

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Christy Consler is founder and CEO of Sustainable Leadership Advisors Inc. She previously served in senior leadership roles at Jamba Juice and Safeway.

Views expressed in blogs, posts and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and corporate partners.