Overcoming our own barriers

“Get out of your own way!” Such an easy thing to say; so much harder to do. Overcoming debilitating self-doubt is a struggle for many people, especially women. One of our (amazing) committee member’s talks through their personal mantras for success.

“Get out of your own way!” Such an easy thing to say; so much harder to do. Overcoming debilitating self-doubt is a struggle for many people, especially women. Recognising where this undeserving negativity comes from is a unique individual battle. Many competent women with whom I have had the pleasure of working or calling friends have experienced that little voice of self-doubt, spanning both professional and personal circumstances.

Overcoming barriers in your personal life, career, family, fitness journey, or any health and mental wellness challenges you are facing often means looking within and bringing about some change to reframe and gain a new perspective. For example, the challenge of not recognising the praise you deserve or letting others take the glory by not speaking up for yourself can lead to feeding the notion of not being “good enough”. Think of the times you or other women have taken a step back and hidden from praise (“Oh no, it’s nothing, it’s fine, it didn’t take me long.”) or when women don’t speak up to take the recognition for something you know they played a huge part in — letting someone else, often a male counterpart, bask in the glory of that success.

Holding ourselves to the idea of having and doing it all makes being “good enough” impossible. In whose eyes are we seeking acceptance? Who are the ones holding these expectations? The truth is, we are the ones measuring ourselves against such high standards — career women, caretakers, mothers, partners, leaders, and sisters. There are not enough hours in the day for everyone else, let alone yourself! So how can you overcome these mental barriers and start paying attention and looking after yourself?

Surround yourself with people who support YOU! Brené Brown speaks to this support in her book The Gifts of Imperfection:

“Who has earned the right to hear my story? If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.”

Like many people, I feel FEAR — fear of being true to myself; fear of understanding what it is that makes me truly happy; fear of letting people down; fear of failure; fear of not being good enough. I have felt that being a nice person, who wears their heart on their sleeve, had failed me a little, not put me further ahead in my career; that being ‘too kind’ had turned into a negative reflection on my abilities. This notion still baffles me, but I’m learning to stop apologising for it. I am an emotional person. That’s me. That’s what you get!

Another barrier we all face is finding the courage to leap from our comfort zones. If you are continuously overwhelmed with the “what next?” question, to a point of not making decisions and moving forward (because who knows where that might take you?), then ask yourself: What good are you doing staying stuck?

“What if I fall?   Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” – Erin Hanson

Making a decision is ultimately always better than not, be it career decisions, family decisions, or finally making a conscious effort to cut that negative person out of your life, because, well… they just don’t do you justice. We often find huge relief when we do make a decision and just ride with it into the unknown. We made a move to change something, and that is a positive step.

Feeling like you are overcoming these small hurdles to get where you think you might want to go mounts up into big wins. Each hurdle surmounted becomes a moment to feel proud to be where you are. The days you tell a little part of your HUGE story and someone really listens and reacts with “WOW! That is amazing.” The moments where you think, “I did myself proud!”  

So back to the voice, sitting on your shoulder, in your ear, in moments you’d rather forget. Use this voice as your cheerleader! Use this voice as your hero! This should be the voice of kindness and forgiveness.

Being a part of the TEDxTin HauWomen committee has certainly helped me overcome some of the barriers I put up for myself in the past. This blog is a thank you to those who believe in others, who encourage the idea of being brave, and who are genuinely accepting of people for what they bring to the table. 

You are ultimately in control of your life. No one else’s, just yours. That voice inside your head saying you are not this, you are not that, you are not good enough — here’s the thing: most people have that voice, but there are many that choose to ignore it.

The people you look at and think “Wow, they are impressive! They are incredible!” You know what? Someone is thinking the exact same thing of you. So believe in your talents, believe in your positive influence, embrace your differences, and be kind. Surround yourself with people who support, nurture and believe in you and surround yourself with those you can learn from. You’ll find it’s a much more beneficial place to be.

In a world of positive affirmations (which are fun, powerful, and reassuring — try them!), here are some positive moves to help you hero yourself and those around you: 

1. Bask in your own glory! If you have genuinely tried your best, done it from the heart, put in as much effort as you could afford at the time… then accept it as a job well done. Be proud, and move ahead.

2. Hero others. If you know your friend or colleague or family member is not so great at telling people how great they are, do it for them! A positive reputation spreads, and people will always remember how you make them feel.

3. You are deserving of praise. For those in need of a little boost of self-confidence, write down the things in your life you are proud of. Reflect on what you have, where you are, who surrounds you, and how you got there. Cliché as it sounds, you are meant to be exactly where you are. Even if that’s challenging right now, you will learn from it and come out bolder. It’s taken me years to realise that many of my “shortcomings” are perhaps my most powerful gifts, and should be celebrated. Some days I still hear that voice, but I’m slowly drowning her out and telling her to pipe down — way more often than I used to.

4. Have a person. Having someone you can talk to, who gets you, can be very helpful. Sharing your thoughts with a partner, family member, good friend or even a professional who carries no judgment, puts your thinking back on track and may even reverse some of your fears by making you realise most of the concerns you have are not valid outside of your own thinking.

5. Deciding enough is enough. Do something about shifting your thoughts. Find a coach to help the process! Life coaches are readily available in HK and often have free workshops! Enrolling in something that suits you might be the best present you ever buy yourself. Believe in your own worth and invest the time to discover your truths.

Who is anyone to tell you whether or not you are worthy as a person, or of achieving or reaching out for what you want? Or just taking the time to “figure it out”, whatever “it” might be. Someone once said to me, “Get out of your own way.” Never have truer words been spoken. Even our speakers worked with a talented team of coaches!

So in conclusion — and yes, it is the theme of our event this year — always remember you are “Bold & Brilliant!” So don’t apologise, even to yourself.

#TEDxTinHauWomen #BoldAndBrilliant #WithoutApology

Tickets are sold out for Dec 6, 2019 TEDxTinHauWomen event. 

To see 2018 talks, click here: https://tedxtinhauwomen.com/watch/2018-2/

Written by: Nikki on behalf of TEDxTinHauWomen

#TEDxTinHauWomen #BoldAndBrilliant #WithoutApologies

Tickets sold out for for Dec 6, 2019 TEDxTinHauWomen event.
Friendly reminder that there are no refunds on tickets purchased.

Author: TEDxTinHauWomen

TEDxTinHauWomen is the only annual TEDx event dedicated to women in Hong Kong.

One thought on “Overcoming our own barriers”

  1. This blog really spoke out to me. Thank you Nikki ❤️ I love that line about ignoring the voice. Learning to meditate and reduce the volume on just thoughts has helped me ‘ignore’. Of course it’s all a work in progress!


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