Speak to any ambitious woman who’s trying to ‘make it’ but repeatedly falling short, and you’re likely to find that when things don’t go as planned, she simply doubles her efforts, because if you work hard enough, everything will fall into place… right? Not quite, says millennial life coach Alicia Stratford. She believes that there are so many things in life that can hold us back from living up to our potential. And while it’s easy to focus on practical obstacles that appear to stand in your way, looking inwards and realising that the power to determine your future lies within you is all you need to bring about the change you desperately seek.

Here are eight ways you could be holding yourself back from living the happy, successful life you want:

1. Comparing yourself to others

A culture of comparison is so prevalent in our digital society and technology makes it so easy to constantly view others’ daily lives and compare them to our own. Don’t take social media at face value because it isn’t an accurate representation of people’s existence, in fact, it’s nothing more than a ‘highlight reel’ of best moments. Just as you probably only share pictures of you at your best, so does everyone else. Don’t compare your cutting room floor footage with everyone else’s polished masterpiece. If you find that going on social media sites makes you feel bad about your own life, it’s worth removing yourself from those platforms and watching how your self-esteem flourishes.

2. Not living an authentic life

Our beliefs about what is acceptable and respectable, or what success looks like has been influenced to some degree, by parents, friends, teachers, lovers, governments and society. When we listen to these external voices alone, we create and live a life for others. It can be much more gratifying to stop and consider what we want our lives to look like and then go after that wholeheartedly. If you want to live a life that truly makes you happy, stop living life according to society’s standards or expectations.

how to live up to your potential
Living a life that feels true to you won’t always match societal ideals. You’ll need to get comfortable with doing things differently

3. Limiting beliefs or mindset

Limiting beliefs are conscious or subconscious ideas and thought patterns that hold you back such as, fear of failure or success, over analysis of situations, the belief that you must be perfect, believing you’re not good enough to achieve what you want, not believing you have the resources to help yourself…the list goes on. These limiting beliefs can influence the way you approach situations and make you avoid taking the steps that will bring you the success you crave.

4. Not having a clear goal

You’ve probably heard the saying: ‘A goal without a plan is just a wish’ (Antoine de Saint Exupery) and that very much applies here. You don’t hop into an Uber and hope that you’ll magically arrive at your destination you have to input a specific location. Goals are the same, if you don’t set clear goals, you will never arrive at your desired destination. In coaching, we use ‘SMART’ goals to ensure that whatever outcome you are chasing is specific, measured, achievable, realistic and timed.

5. Not asking for help

This is key to being successful and it’s something we can all do more. As John Donne said, ‘No man is an island’ and this could not be truer. Whether it is within your personal or professional life, reaching out to others and not isolating yourself is not only beneficial to your productivity, but also to your mental health. Asking for help is a strength, not a sign of weakness.

how to live up to your potential
It’s easy to overlook this when life gets busy, but practising healthy habits is key for anyone aspiring to live their best life

6. Not cultivating habits for success

To be successful in any aspect of your life all you need to do is consistently practice healthy habits. Aristotle said ‘ We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is then not an act, but a habit’. As humans, we tend to overcomplicate things, but there is beauty in simplicity. If you want to produce excellence, practice excellent habits such as gratitude, meditation, prayer, drinking water, exercising, eating a healthy diet, daily affirmations, self-care and anything else that serves your highest good. When you create and consistently practice positive habits, excellence shows up.

7. Using past experiences or failures to hold you back

It’s very easy to let your past define you, but don’t allow yourself to fall into this trap. You are more than what you have been through; there is a season for everything and sometimes it just isn’t the right time. Don’t get hung up on the past, instead focus on the here and now and plan for the future. Once you know it is possible to create the life you really want, ANYTHING is achievable.

8. Surrounding yourself with toxic people

Think back to when you were at school, what kind of kids did you hang out with and what effect did it have on your educational achievement? There really is a close correlation between the people you surround yourself with and the person you become. If you aren’t currently surrounding yourself with positive, proactive and like-minded people, it’s time to do so.  Negative vibes are easily transferred and negativity rarely breeds success!


Alicia Stratford

Alicia Stratford

Alicia Stratford is a certified Millennial Life Coach and qualified NLP Practitioner, who provides bespoke personal and professional coaching. She helps clients find clarity, motivation and a renewed positive mindset. She is a big believer in creating your path and your own version of success.

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