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Do Your Survival Skills Still Work?

Recently I was talking with a long-time friend about some changes we had each made in our lives, both personally and professionally. During the conversation I noted that I was giving up some of my survival skills. You know, the ones that have been in place forever and that can operate on auto-pilot, whether you need them or not.

You might wonder what I mean by “survival skills.” I am referring to a way of being that has served you in the past that may no longer be serving you. Examples might be perfectionism, procrastination, shying away from confrontation, or not tooting your own horn.  

Why do you hang onto these? One reason is your ego. You do not want anything to interfere with how you perceive yourselves or how you think others perceive you. You want to protect your ego. Problem is that while these “skills” worked for you in the past, you don’t consider whether they still serve you today. And, in many cases, they do not. It’s about making a choice between surviving and thriving.

Ask for feedback

As an entrepreneur, you don’t often have the opportunity to have someone else give you feedback. When you have someone helping you, whether that is a mentor, coach, supervisor, you can get a different perspective, a view to see how you are functioning – or not.  What happens as entrepreneurs is that you can get caught up in the ego-driven world and can get stuck. And if you do not take the time to look at those “survival skills,” you can stay stuck and your businesses does not grow.

You need to take a look in that mirror that lets you to see what survival skills you need to give up. That mirror can be hard to find, so try to spend time reflecting on what could be holding you back. Take time to journal. If you have a good friend or mentor, ask her with an open mind what her feedback will be.

Ask about the payoff

Lastly ask yourself, “What is the payoff?” If you are having a hard time letting something go, you need to figure out what is good about hanging onto it. This approach has led my clients and me to find clarity about the issue.

When I started reflecting on some of my survival skills that I am letting go and the resistance I had around a few, I was reminded of the following quote from author Anais Nin,

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Your turn?

What “survival skills” are you holding onto that you need to give up?


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