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Are You in Your Own Way?

I do a lot of thinking about why some people are incredibly successful in becoming well-known in their fields while others struggle. Here’s the thing: It has nothing to do with who is smarter.  Rather, it has to do with this core idea:

People who are the most successful at making a name for themselves have learned how to get out of their own darn way! 

I see this loud and clear in my clients, and I’ve most certainly seen this in myself. Here’s a case in point: 

Years ago, after another fabulous visit to Los Angeles to visit friends and attend the Costume Designer Guild Awards, I had the idea of taking a small group of clients back the following year on a personal branding retreat and experience. I mean, where better to dream big than in Hollywood, attending a huge event during award season! Well…. I overthought it long enough that there wasn’t time to pull it together. I kept telling myself, “Who am I, a business coach in Ohio, to take a group of clients to LA for a star-studded event?” However, after realizing I missed the boat on such a great opportunity because of my self-doubt, I collected myself and created an event in Hollywood at the Costume Designer Guild Awards for the following year, and it was fabulous! My clients and I all loved it and got a lot out of it! But I had to find a way to get out of my head and stop overthinking it. 

It’s important to be able to recognize when you are getting in your own way so you can learn to stop it and move forward with more grace and ease. If you need some help to recognize how you may be getting in your own way, here are a few ways I’ve noticed people holding themselves back when it comes to building their personal brands. See if you can find a clue about how you may be holding yourself back, even unintentionally, so you can begin to feel more grace and ease in your business and get what you want out of your life:

Inaction or procrastination

Does it take you forever to make even the smallest decision? For example, one of my clients wanted to write a book for years but hadn’t taken any steps to make it happen. After acknowledging that it truly was important to her and finding out what was stopping her, she started her book and published it within a few months. Another client came to me for help selecting a logo after working on it for three months. Three months! That’s about two and a half months too long to make this decision. Make the decision, then move on. 


One of my clients really felt jealous of a woman in her field. She spent a significant amount of time in one of our coaching calls telling me all about this woman and why she was so terrible. She said things like, “Who did this woman think she was by saying X,” and “How can she even wear such a thing on stage,” and “Why were so many people listening to her, anyway?” 

I listened intently because jealousy gives me great insight into how a client actually wants to show up in the world. I pointed out to my client that her jealousy was not a bad thing because it was actually pointing out that this woman had something my client desperately wanted but wasn’t able to articulate herself. It was a hard pill for her to swallow, but once she did, she was able to let go of her anger and focus on her own business. 

Jealousy can be a tool that steers you in the direction of your dreams. When you notice yourself getting jealous over someone for their success, take a breath and unpack your feelings. You may be noticing something that you want in your life. 


I’ve had many clients say something like this: “Oh I’ll never be or look as good on TV as her, so why should I even try?” Seriously? Nobody gets better by having a pity party that lasts forever. You do get better by doing. Not by reading a book about it. Not by talking about it. By doing it. Taking action is the way to find clarity, grow, and learn. For example, my clients practice their talking points, practice being interviewed on TV, and have even hired image consultants. Then they go on television, do their best, learn a few lessons, and do even better the next time. 

Seeking everyone’s opinions 

If you have the need for others to approve every move you make, you are giving away your power instead of owning it. I once worked with a very successful coach who ran basically every decision by her “advisory board” before taking action. She would not make a decision on things like applying to be a speaker at a conference or if she needed a new web site unless she ran the idea by her advisory board. It always took a long time to collect all of the opinions, and she usually ended up without consensus and therefore couldn’t make a decision. It was halting her business growth significantly. 

I advised her to get rid of her advisory board and instead to make these decisions based on her knowledge in the industry, which was significant, and her marketing know-how, which again, was significant. As she started to do this, she felt uncomfortable because change is not comfortable, but eventually she thanked me profusely for helping her to regain her confidence and momentum. 

The bottom line here is that you own your decisions, actions, and behavior. It’s your personal responsibility to make decisions and grow. Nobody else can do it for you. Take one baby step. Then take another. Then take another. Soon enough, you’ll have made significant headway and your confidence will soar. 

Waiting for clarity 

I hear people say that once they are clear about what to do next, they’ll start taking action. Rest assured, this is an excuse for not taking action. Because here’s the thing about clarity: The way to find clarity is though taking action, even when you’re not 100% certain that you’re taking the right step. I’ve seen too many people wait for clarity as if they will wake up one day and everything is clear for them. That’s not the way it works. It’s not about waiting for clarity. It’s about taking action and gaining clarity along the way. You may get some bumps and bruises along the way, but you already know that being an entrepreneur guarantees you a boo-boo here and there. So don’t wait. Just take action. The way to clarity is through action. 

The busy bee

If you’re chronically late for appointments, cancel meetings at the last minute, and aren’t prepared for clients, meetings, or events because you are “so busy,” this may be your way of holding yourself back. We all have moments or days like this, but it becomes a real personal branding problem when it’s what you are known for.  Do you really want to be known as the person who is chronically behind and can’t pull herself together? Are you really too busy or are you focusing on the wrong things? Do you want to risk jeopardizing partnerships, great clients, and other amazing opportunities because of your chronic unpreparedness? 

So now it’s your turn. How do you get in your own way? Again, we all do it at least occasionally. Once you recognize this in yourself, you can start to probe around and find out what’s really going on. Once you understand these patterns in your life, you can stop yourself when you start spiraling into your self-defeating behavior and instead, change your thinking and behavior so you can get what you actually want out of life.


© 2019 Meredith Liepelt, Rising Star Publicity, LLC

Meredith Liepelt helps speakers, authors, and experts to build their brands by using publicity strategies. She offers personal branding coaching, media relations, and her flagship program where she books experts on lifestyle TV shows across the United States. For insights and inspiration, visit

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