What Holds You Back?

My best ideas come to me when I run. When I run, I am a Chief HR Officer (CHRO). I have solved my company’s problems, I have stood up for what’s right and I’ve solved every conflict in my life. When I run, I’m a better father, spouse, partner, son, sibling, friend, and colleague. I’m a leader, a doer, a learner, and a listener.

Then I stop running. And the fear and doubt sets in. My saboteur voice talks to me. It says, “You can never pull that off,” or “they will not go for it and will say no,” or “that’s a stupid idea.” Impostor syndrome kicks in. “What if they find me out? What if they say ‘yes?’ What if I don’t have the answer when called upon or what if they don’t think I can do the job?”

I have been fighting that inner voice for most of my career. I’ve only been running for seven years so I can’t really remember where those brave ideas came from before that. It was probably the shower or the walks to and from the train station and work. But the point is, I’ve always had this push and pull with my inside voice and the inner voice that tells me no wins out a lot.

Overcoming this inner critic has been a challenge. It has held be back and I fear I may have missed out on some opportunities along the way. Whether it was that investment, or that promotion, the negative self-talk has kept me in my comfort zone and potentially held me back.

But I have benefited by surrounding myself with some great people and great mentors. Starting this blog has helped me face the fear head on and try to “normalize the discomfort,” as Brene Brown would say.

One of my mentors recently told me, “John, the world does not benefit from you hiding or being small.” That phrase hit me like a Kyle Schwarber home run. That quote now greets me every day on my office white board.

My client groups do not benefit when I hold back a thought or an idea that I think will make the organization better. My colleagues do not benefit when I’m fearful of providing some feedback that may help them in their career. I do not benefit when I keep my feelings and emotions to myself when I may be hurting or struggling with a problem.

I wake up each day and think about all of the things that are holding me back. I then try to figure out a plan to overcome all of those barriers. It’s not pretty and it’s not perfect, but it’s a start.


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