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                                                                                 Once you understand
                                                                                 how a “block” confines
                                                                                 you, you hold the key
                                                                                 to eliminating it.

             By Kimberly Paterson, CEC

                       WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK?
                       Challenge your beliefs about yourself and external events

                       N       o matter how successful or motivated we are,
                               at some point we all encounter it—the
                       obstacle that we can’t seem to overcome. That
                                                                                    Block #1: External Conditions. Most of us
                                                                                can easily recognize our external or outer blocks.
                                                                                They are conditions outside of us and usually are
                       crucial project that you never seem to finish. Losing     things over which we have no control. A good
                       your edge as top sales manager and not being able        example of an external block is the soft market.
                       to get back on track. Market conditions resulting in     Decreasing premiums may cause your income to
                       quoting more new business and writing less. One of       dip even though you and your staff are working
                       your employees, who despite your numerous pep            harder than ever. That hit to the bottom line may
                       talks, is still not on board with the changes you        affect the agency’s plans for expansion or the
                       want to make. The New Year’s resolution to start         purchase of new technology.
                       living “healthier” that fell by the wayside sometime         When faced with external blocks, some
                       in early February.                                       managers feel paralyzed and see these conditions
                           Why is it so hard to get some things done—           as a reason for being unable to succeed. Other
                       even though they are so important to us? Nine            managers understand these obstacles and work
                       times out of ten, it is due to one or a combination      through them to create a successful outcome or
                       of five “blocks.” Whether you are coaching yourself       path for their business.
                       or someone else, it is critical to be able to identify       In reality, the external block isn’t the block at
                       and understand these blocks.                             all. The block is how you feel about it. More often
                           A “block” is anything that restricts you. It can     than not, how we see the situation determines
                       be external—like money, time or the economy. Or it       the outcome. Take American freestyle skier
                       can be internal—like your beliefs and attitudes          Hannah Kearney, who won a gold medal in the
                       about yourself and the world around you. The five         2010 Olympics. External conditions were against
                       key blocks are:                                          her. Kearney didn’t have a good track record at
                           • External conditions                                the Olympics.
                           • Limiting beliefs                                       Her last run for gold in Turin was a disaster.
                           • False assumptions from the past that you           She had been favored to win, but the race ended
                       continue to carry                                        with her in tears and in 22nd place. This year,
                           • False interpretations that you make                Canadian Jennifer Heil was the undisputed
                           • The inner critic                                   leader. On paper, Heil was the superior mogul
                           Each of these blocks exercises its own hold on       skier. Plus, she had the advantage of skiing on
                       you. Once you understand how a block confines             her home turf with the world predicting she
                       you, you hold the key to eliminating it.                 would win Canada’s first gold medal.

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        Nevertheless, Kearney did not let                          Conside
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