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Overcoming Barriers to Motivation


Mind-set is one of Dynami Careers’ five pillars of creating a career you love.  In a recent blog I wrote about how to get motivated.  However, a lot of us suffer from blockers or barriers that prevent us from getting motivated.  This blog takes a look at the top three barriers, ie those I hear most frequently from clients. 

I am going to examine the invisible and unconscious things that might be getting in your way and briefly look at some strategies for dealing with them.  Later on in the year, my blog will examine each of these barriers in greater detail so please do let me know which of these are holding you back so I can prioritise my writing!

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is something that comes up frequently with clients.  This is the feeling that we are not as good as others think we are and that we will be found out.  We will attribute any success we might have as down to luck or simply being in the right place at the right time.  In short, feeling like a fraud.  Does that sound familiar?  It does to me!

This syndrome was first identified by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978 and they found it particularly prevalent in high achieving women.  However, more recent research has shown that it is equally common in men. 

A lot of people feel Imposter Syndrome but many have never heard of it.  This means that the feelings associated with it are so strong that the individual thinks they really are a fraud.

Let's apply this to making changes in your career.  Of course you will be scared because there would be more likelihood of being found out in a new role.

So, if you identify with Imposter Syndrome, what can you do?  Here are some things I work with clients on:

  • Do some deep work to identify and re-engage with your strengths
  • Reflect and reminisce on your peak performance and past successes
  • Seek affirming feedback from people you know, like and trust
  • Look at yourself from other people’s point of view


We all know a self-confessed perfectionist don’t we?  Of course, some characteristics of perfectionism will lead to success and excellence and these folk will, no doubt, be (and look) successful in what they do.  But is can also create barriers to moving forwards.

Perfectionists will tend not to want to commit to doing anything unless they know that they will be able to do it perfectly.  This means that they will shy away from anything new.  This is clearly not a great backdrop for making any radical or less radical changes in a career that is probably going very well.

Despite meeting self-confessed perfectionists, quite a few people don’t know they are perfectionists.  If you’re not sure, do you suffer from any of the following:

  • All-or-nothing thinking – “almost perfect” means failing
  • Critical evaluation – of yourself and others
  • Focus on results – all about the goal and not the “journey”
  • Very disappointed if don’t meet goals
  • Defensive – dislike being criticised

What can you do?  Here are some things I work with clients on:

  • Self-identify as a perfectionist - see the list above - sound familiar?
    Define your version of "perfect" and explore "good enough"
  • Examine the personal cost of perfectionism and redefine your goals
  • Learn to handle criticism


Let's face it, not everything is fun to do so hesitation, preoccupation, distraction and indecision can take hold.

Procrastination is delaying or postponing a task or set of tasks.  Some people have a tendency to procrastinate.  Whilst there can be simple and practical reasons for this (like poor time management), it could also be due to a number of more emotional causes like perfectionism as discussed above.

It can be difficult to recognise yourself as a procrastinator because you can easily persuade yourself that you have good reasons for delaying things.  However, if you find yourself often working right up to or missing deadlines, not being able to get on top of your inbox or to-do list or delaying decisions until you have “all the right information”, you might be a natural born procrastinator.

What can you do?  Here are some things I work with clients on:

  • Set clear goals and be accountable to them
  • Create habits that will help you be more productive
  • Create a time pressure
  • Make your tasks more fun
  • Break tasks down to achievable sizes

I hope that, if some of these barriers resonate with you, then you will have some ideas for overcoming them.  There are certainly many more barriers to motivation and getting things done that I explore with clients.

If you would like to talk to me about any of these issues or Mindset Coaching in particular, please do get in touch!

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