Home Thinking Aloud How To Overcome The 4 Roadblocks To Self-Development

How To Overcome The 4 Roadblocks To Self-Development


by Brian Buffini, author of “The Emigrant Edge: How to Make It Big in America

looking in the mirror

When I was a young man, I believed that I could achieve both the financial freedom I wanted and the fullness of life I craved in harmony with each other. Despite my best intentions, however, as my business grew there were too many evenings I came home late for dinner, too many afternoons spent negotiating on a cell phone at my kids’ soccer games, and too many hours being preoccupied or exhausted when I could have been pursuing other passions.

I was on the brink of burnout before I realized I was in danger of derailing the dreams I had when I first came to America. I know that many of you reading this right now are experiencing this same problem. Even though you know intellectually that it’s possible to grow and achieve success, chances are you are struggling with some roadblocks in your path that prevent you from sowing those seeds of self-development.

Here are four common obstacles and how to overcome them:

1. Fear.

Many of us are afraid of change. It’s the classic fear of the unknown. We stay in situations, jobs, or relationships that are no good for us. We keep clinging to what we know, even when it’s clear that change is needed for circumstances to improve. We might also fear being mocked or ridiculed. If we try to do things differently, will people judge us or laugh at our efforts? This sort of response is often a deep-rooted emotional throwback to our childhood, when standing out wasn’t a good thing, and to be part of the crowd was all that mattered.

And last, but certainly not least, there’s the fear of failure. If we don’t try, then we’re guaranteed that we won’t fail. We’ll stay safe as we are — or at least we think we will. Fear of failure stops many people from ever realizing their full potential. But staying where you are is a false sense of security — an illusion. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

2. Lack of discipline or motivation.

Changing how we operate and trying new things requires discipline and motivation. It’s not easy to summon up extra energy when you’re already exhausted by the load you’re carrying. Change is often difficult and overwhelming and slipping back into old habits is easy. That’s why a system is so important. Having grandiose plans to make change is all well and good, but unless you have a workable system in place to help and support you, you will never succeed. You have to be accountable to yourself — not only to keep you on track and motivated, but to give you encouragement and show yourself how far you’ve really come. For any growth plan to truly work, it must be backed by a well-thought-through and implemented system.

3. Absence of support.

The journey to change can be a lonely one . . . but only if you let it. No one expects you to go it alone. Why travel the path of change on your own when you can walk with an ally by your side to support and guide you? Lean on your coaches and mentors. Read everything you can. Follow the tracks your heroes have left for you. There’s a wealth of resources out there just waiting for you to discover.

4. Lack of self-awareness.

If you don’t know what you want to change or where you should start, it can be easier just to stay where you are. But, the truth is, you’re not going to become all you can be by standing still. As Lou Holtz says, you have to “get in motion.” Only by conscious effort will your life improve. Do an audit of your own life: Assess and evaluate how you live and work. What are the skills that you can develop, the habits you can improve, or the attitudes that can be enhanced? Discover who you are and who you want to be. Invest in yourself. If you don’t, then who will? Remember: each formula for achievement is composed of mind-set, motivation, and methodologies. A chord of three strands has immense strength and is not easily broken!


Adapted from “The Emigrant Edge: How to Make It Big in America (Howard Books)” by Brian Buffini. Copyright (c) 2017 by Brian Buffini.  All rights reserved. This book is available at all bookstores and online booksellers.


brian buffini

Brian Buffini is the author of “The Emigrant Edge: How to Make It Big in America“. He is one of the nation’s top business experts and founder of Buffini & Company, based in Carlsbad, California.