It’s a phrase you’ll have come across fairly often if you read many self-help books or coaching blogs but in my experience it rarely comes with a translation into plain English.
I know I’ve been guilty of using it without an explanation myself, so I thought I’d take this opportunity of explaining what I mean when I use it.
And here’s the disclaimer – I can, of course, only speak from my own experience.
Your idea of what it means for you to get out of your own way may well be very different – and if what you read here doesn’t chime with your own experience, please join in the comments and let us know what it’s like for you.
There’s an old Chinese saying that I’m very fond of. It goes something like
“The path is smooth, why do you throw rocks in your way?”
and for me, that sums up the difference between life when I’ve got out of my own way, and life when I’m actively getting in my own way.
When I’m getting in my own way everything is a struggle.
I let the Saboteurs and Gremlins influence me and I doubt my own judgement. I talk myself out of ideas and I ignore my gut instinct. Everything starts to feel like a huge effort and if I’m not careful I can end up in a very dark place and feeling woefully out of control.
Not Nice At All.
Conversely, when I’ve got very firmly out of my own way life has a natural flow about it.
I have ideas and act on them and good things result. I follow my gut instinct and even better things result.”Coincidences” start to happen and undreamed of opportunities happen along. The Universe guides my hands and all is well.
And what’s the difference? Well for me it has to do with control, and specifically with letting my conscious mind or Ego take control.
When I’m going with the flow I’m acting on instinct. I know I can trust my gut instinct because it knows, for sure, the right things to do. I’ve called it The Universe before now and that has to do with it seeming to be connected with forces way beyond me in the way that apparently external things start to go right for me when I sit back and let The Universe take control.
When my Ego thinks it knows best is when things start to go wrong. That’s when the self-doubt kicks in and the Saboteurs come out to play and suddenly I’m stumbling over rocks that weren’t there before and everything goes to hell in a handcart.
So lack of control comes about from my Ego’s attempts to regain control from The Universe, and I end up the loser.
I’ve just been through a few weeks of being Ego-led and ended up dispirited, tired and unwell – but, as my dear friend Lisa said to me the other day, “at least when you’re ill it gives you the opportunity to think about what’s led you to this place!”
And I can see that, as my Ego took over, so I stopped doing all the positive, nurturing rituals that were enabling me to keep put o my own way. My Ego decided I could do without them and persuaded me they weren’t necessary any more – one look in the mirror is all the proof I need that my Ego doesn’t know what it’s talking about (one is rarely so unattractive as when one has a heavy cold, I find…)
And why did my Ego step in?
Because it was feeling threatened. Again.
Because it knows that, for me to grow and develop and realise my potential, it needs to diminish and dwindle, and it doesn’t like that.
This kind of thing happens to all of us as we go through change – the habits and beliefs of the past can be like a ball and chain, holding us back and keeping us anchored in the ways of being that we’re trying to shake off.
We’re attracted to the familiar, even while we’re being tempted by the promise of more and better.
So while it’s frustrating I know that this past month is a normal part of the process.
I will shake off my ball and chain and I will get back out of my own way. It’s good to have had this reminder because it’s shown me that what was once a normal, comfortable, familiar way of being is now uncomfortable, unattractive and dispiriting.
I’m ready to clear the rocks from my path and stride back out onto my Journey again.
But first I’m going to have another Lemsip…..