Isn’t it annoying when you finally get clear on what you need to do to reach your goals, yet somehow still can’t seem to make progress?

You create your vision, set your 90-day goals, outline your big outcomes for the upcoming week, and finish with a list of the 1-3 most important tasks that need to get done that day.

But when push comes to shove and it’s time to show up, you just don’t seem to get anywhere.

It’s one thing to know what to do, it’s a whole new ball game actually doing it.

I’ve been struggling with this myself lately and was chatting with one of my mentors about it yesterday. I mentioned to him that fear of failure is definitely not the reason for me since I would have given up years ago if that was the case. Rather, we were exploring the concept of the fear of success.

Here’s the deal.

In order to achieve something bigger/better/more than you’re currently experiencing, you need to leave the world that you’ve created for yourself and enter the land of the unknown. And that can be scary. Our brains don’t like this threat to our safety, so they try to protect us by keeping us where we are – in the land of the familiar.

Bottom line?

For everything you say you want but don’t yet have, there’s something else you’re holding onto that’s keeping you stuck.

Robert Kegan calls these ‘Competing Commitments’ in his talk ‘Immunity to Change’ (check out the video here).

Ask yourself these 4 questions:

  1. What is it that you really want?
  2. What do you find yourself doing or not doing instead?
  3. What would it feel like if you just tried to do the opposite of each of the actions in the question above?
  4. What are the big assumptions you hold that make these competing commitments seem absolutely necessary?

For example, you might really want to make a bigger impact in the world than you are in your current job. Instead, you find yourself checking in and out of your 9-5 each day. If you did the opposite, it would feel scary and risky since you’d be all on your own and wouldn’t have the security of your paycheck each month. The assumption you’ve created is that you can’t be financially secure by starting your own business.

Now your only job is to examine if that’s really true, or if it’s just a story you’ve made up to protect yourself.

Remember, every result you’re currently getting in your life is perfectly designed for the system you’ve created. If you want different results, you need to create a new system.

What do you really want? What competing commitments have you created that are holding you back?


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