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Coaching Blog: Where am I holding back?

Guest post by Debbie Croft:

At the beginning of summer, I told myself I was going to do the Sprint Triathlon at Nyon as it had been more than 2 years since I had entered an event; yet it was the 3rd week in July and I still hadn’t signed up. I was training but rather half-heartedly. So, what pushed me to sign up and properly commit 2.5 weeks prior to the event? It was my 8 year old daughter. She asked me if she could do the ‘Tri Kids’ having seen a poster at the pool, and at the same time, explained that she was nervous. I heard myself ask her, “what are you nervous about?”. We discussed it and then, I shared the thought that “it’s good to be scared because you feel such a great sense of achievement afterwards”. As she reflected on that, I reflected on my own question, “so, why are you holding back Debbie from signing up?”.

We know the theory – we know that if we truly step out of our comfort zone and do something that scares us, it does gives us the great sense of achievement – it also boosts our confidence, self-esteem and generally puts a ‘spring in our step’ ; we feel empowered. Suddenly, we have more courage and conviction to tackle other challenges too and we ‘grow’ as a result. So, given that we know all these benefits and the positive impact ‘stretching ourselves’ has, what holds us back?

A common theme is that our fear is stronger than our desire for fulfilment. That fear, which leads to self-sabotage comes in a variety of guises – in the coaching world we label it as the voice of an internal Saboteur. The Saboteur may recite an old litany of judgement, rules and limiting beliefs. It says things like “you can’t do this”,” who do you think you are?”, “you need to be much more skilled and specialised to do this”, “you’re wasting your time”, “you’re too young/old/fat/thin”.. In fact, whenever people take the initiative to change their lives, an alarm sounds and the Saboteur will awaken!

Over the summer, you may have started to think about changes you would like to make but they seem ‘impossible’. It could be around fitness, weight loss, re-training or considering a new career which will work around the children. It is likely that the Saboteur is having a party, telling you all the reasons why you should not make any changes! So my request is to please watch this clip and then reflect on the below 2 questions:

  1. Where am I holding myself back?
  2. What is/are my dream/s?

Making time to even consider your dreams and focusing on what you would like allows you to take steps and make commitments to create the future and fulfilment you desire. The desire for fulfilment then becomes stronger than the fear and the voice of the Saboteur!

To conclude my story, both my children ended up doing the TriKids and loving it. My eldest was nervous even though she really wanted to do it, and I could really empathise with her fears because I had them too! Maybe your children are also on the cusp of something new, be it crèche, school, new teacher and they have fears about the pending change. You are probably full of great advice and reassurance. I wonder what opens up for them when you can also say that you are doing something new, making a change and you’re nervous too? It ‘normalises’ the fear and they see their parent facing a fear and doing it anyway.

As for me, I was in the water at 08:30 in the morning on Sunday, as the rain came down, with a nervous, sick feeling in my stomach. I did a couple of strokes to acclimatise to the water and that was my turning point. I thought to myself, “you’re in it now, you know what you will feel like at the end, so enjoy it and know you can do this!”. Of course, at the finishing line, I was delighted and proud of my achievement, although had less of a physical ‘spring in my step’ on this occasion!

Debbie Croft

Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, CPCC, ACC

+41 (0)79 918 8571;
Working days: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
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Note from the blog owner, Michelle:
I was planning on participating in the Triathlon this year too (Geneva or Nyon), but a cuboid injury following the Geneva half-marathon “sabotaged” my dream.  So instead I volunteered, with my son, through Swiss Olympic, and saw Debbie at the finish line with a great big smile on her face: accomplishment.

Keep on Moving

Image courtesy of Vlado /

Image courtesy of Vlado /

I was reflecting on my next blog so was rather surprised and delighted when an owner of a bike shop in Rolle gave me the theme without even knowing it! I had taken it upon myself to renovate my eldest’s daughter’s bike from blue to bright pink, for her younger sister. All went well with the renovation (the spray paint on the wheels being part of the planned look of course!) aside from I couldn’t get the seat down.

So, I took the bike and children into the bike shop in Rolle and the owner couldn’t have been more helpful – fixed the seat to the right height, fixed the bell, adjusted the brakes, all for next to nothing. In fact, he then threw in some teaching to my 5 year old, as she tried to ride the bike in the shop: “riding a bike is like life, you have to keep moving…” Little did he know that his advice also gave me the inspiration for this blog.

So, what does ‘movement in life’ look like? Many of you who read this may have physically moved by relocating here to Switzerland – is that movement enough? You’ll know the answer when you stop and ask yourself the question. Do a mind and body scan, what does it tell you?

Ask yourself:
“Do I feel very much ‘alive and moving’ or do I have a feeling of being ‘stuck’, sluggish even; watching life go by from the side-lines?” Maybe, in those rare moments of contemplation, you ask yourself, “who am I, what’s next for me?”

What gives one a feeling of movement? Typically it needs some essential ingredients:

  • Doing something that challenges &/or scares you: this could be anything from overcoming shyness by going to a group meeting that you have been wanting to but keep finding a excuse not to go; or finally committing to a sports/fitness challenge
  • Completing a goal you set yourself: how many of you are still working towards goals/commitments you made in the New Year? Completing a goal gives you a great sense of empowerment. If the original goal was too big, what can you commit to? Taking one small step and completing it will give you the motivation and confidence to take the next step, then the next, then the next…..
  • Learning so you feel like you are growing and are stimulated: this can take many forms, whether that is reading new material or signing up for a course. There are lots of free courses on this on-line site and one of them must grab your attention! Notice what you are drawn to as it will remind you of forgotten interests/passions:
  • Discovering &/or reconnecting to a new hobby/passion: not only does this help you become engaged in something that is meaningful for you, you may also meet other like-minded people and build your social network
  • Feeling a sense of pride in yourself and achievement: when did you last feel that sense of achievement about something meaningful to you? Remember the feeling it gave you, how you felt about yourself and how you looked at life.
  • Sharing with others/a sense of belonging: what would you be doing in your own home country to create a sense of belonging?

To keep with the analogy “riding a bike is like life, you have to keep moving”.. do you feel like your bike has been gathering dust? Pick one of the above ingredients and do what you probably tell your children to do frequently: “Just try it”



Deborah Croft is a mother to two and co-active coach.
She contributes blogs for on a regular basis
and holds seminars & workshops for women and mothers.

To find out more visit