What is holding you back?

What is holding you back?

Following on from my previous blog about “Who is in Control of you and Your Business” I wanted to look at what might be holding you back, without you consciously realising it.

unconscious biases will narrow your vision and influence your behaviors.

In this article I want to take a look at unconscious bias, and then talk about how we can change how we think and see things. This may be the most powerful thing you can do to make those life changes you have always wanted.

The phenomena has various different names, implicit bias, unconscious bias or even implicit social cognition. They are titles relating to the associations we hold, outside our conscious awareness and control. It covers Attitudes, stereotypes, or opinions that we possess and that unconsciously affect our understanding, actions, and decisions we make.

Unconscious bias affects everyone and is triggered by our brain automatically making quick judgments and assessments. Unfortunately, it is way to often associated with workplace Equity and Inclusion while it is a far bigger subject.

Your mind focuses on what you tell it to, what is of interest to you. You already have a sub routine in your mind that will process information without you even thinking about it, and unless you question the
results you may proceed with invalid mental outputs, or just ideas that are not necessarily the best in this instance.

After seeing several programs on shark attacks, you start to think that such incidences are relatively common. When you go on vacation, you refuse to swim in the ocean because you believe the probability of a shark attack is high.

Imagine you are in a new city and need some directions (and your cell phone GPS is not available!). Lots of people are walking past and you need to ask some-one. The person you choose to talk to is not random. Unconscious factors influence your decision. Would you ask the homeless person, who probably knows the City better than anyone else? Next time you are on a busy street think about it and ask yourself why that person.

As much as you would like to imagine yourself as an objective person that thinks everything through before committing, the truth is we all possess implicit biases. It’s the way our brains are programmed. By their nature we are not aware of them.

Do you set goals?

If you have no goals, how do you know what you are achieving?

How do you tell your mind what it needs to focus on?

Some of our pre-programmed sub routines are the following traits:

  • Fear of failure  
  • Lack of confidence    
  • Lack of belief / Self Worth    
  • Imposter syndrome / being found out     
  • Inability to take action / Procrastination

Unfortunately, these were programmed into your mind in the traditional school system, by no fault other than a lack of awareness of what was happening.

Before you went to School fear of failure, confidence and self worth were not even something that existed in your mind. By the time you left school with its class streaming and test results you knew what it felt like to fail. Depending on how often you failed your confidence grew or shrunk. You may have started to feel like you were only average and therefore set a perception of self worth which will lead to imposter syndrome and the inability to act. I also accept that some people that left school Valedictorian, which would have the opposite effects.

Have you tried an idea, but it didn’t work? Then perhaps told yourself you were not clever enough to solve this situation.

Do you find yourself procrastinating? When this happens have you ever asked yourself, why am I not tackling this issue? What is stopping me from doing it?

Your mind is capable of locking onto something and only see what it first interpreted. I am sure you have come across the optical illusions which are illustrations that offer multiple interpretations. Two
viewers can look at the same image and see totally different things.

One of the most common is the old lady young lady picture:

Until your brain is used to it, it can be very hard to swap your mind from one picture to the other. Some people see the young lady but can never see the old lady until someone else points it out. Other people see the old lady first and struggle with the young lady.

Perhaps you just don’t think there are enough hours in the day to be able to make the changes you want but using the latest in high performance research, it becomes apparent that you need to re wire your own mind and also that of your team, organization and people you interact with. Have you ever noticed how successful companies convince their consumers they can’t live without the product or latest features?

What would be the result for your organisation if you could make that one change? What is the result if you do not? Your fear should center around not making the change, rather than fear of failing first time. Think like Edison and the light bulb moment. With each goal you achieve your confidence will build.

Who do you use to bounce ideas? Getting another person’s perspective will help you see the old lady, or the young lady depending on what you already see.


Use the power of others, don’t try to do it alone. Many people are held back by the fear that “other people will find them out”. If they spend too much time working with others, they will discover that they’re not as talented, smart, creative, innovative, imaginative as they’ve made themselves out to be. Until you let go of this fear, you’re going to struggle to connect and move forward. Use the collective inteligence and bounce ideas of each other.

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