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Most of us think in terms of things to acquire to live our best lives—like skills, knowledge, a great partner, or a dream house. But equally important—maybe more important—are the things we learn to shed like old skin. Things we can get rid of to free ourselves. Once we do, we can get the most from life. Here’s what you can give up:

Overnight Success. There are people who spend their entire lives trying to get rich quick, with one scheme after another. Before they know it, they’ve spent a very long time not getting rich at all. There are no shortcuts. Successful people know they have to work at what they want to achieve, making small gains every day. Over time, they will build the success they seek. There is not a one-shot magic bullet. Instead, there is hard work and persistence. And patience.
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Lame Excuses. If the barrier to your success is always the other guy’s fault, you’re just not being honest with yourself. You may feel better blaming other people—that way you don’t have to face up to your shortcomings. But you will never achieve your goals unless you do. Because only then, when you admit your faults, can you address what’s wrong and make changes for the good.

Thinking Small. Your brother is the artist of the family so you don’t want to even try watercolors, although you did once and you were pleased with the results. Or your sister wasn’t great at sports so you don’t want to outshine her with your marathon exploits. Or maybe it isn’t cool to be smart so you deliberately don’t get the great grades you’re capable of achieving. It’s a sad, passionless way to live your life. When you give up restraining yourself out of fear or worry, you give yourself permission to shine. And when you do that, you inspire others to liberate themselves, too.

Your Old Narrative. You were first in your family’s birth order and you were always the responsible one. The serious one. The obedient one. But you’re grown up now and you can rewrite your narrative. Give up who you were expected to be and become who you wish to be. Who you really are. Your old narrative no longer applies if you don’t want it to. All you have to do is realize you can be who you want to be. Which is no small thing, but entirely possible.

The Need to Be Perfect. It’s understandable if you are striving to be as close to perfect as you can be in your profession. It’s your livelihood and your reputation. So, good for you. BUT, perfectionism has a way of paralyzing you into never taking action and never achieving anything. If you find perfectionism blocking your progress and your opportunities, then think about it. Is it better to put something out in the world that is slightly less than perfect than to put nothing out at all?

Your Stubborn Child-Self. You have an image of yourself from childhood. You’re not the smart one. Or you’re not the creative one. Or whatever. But if you want to be successful you will understand that you can change and grow. You can learn new things; you can take classes, read books. You can be someone new that you weren’t before by acquiring knowledge and changing your life.

Wanting to Be Liked. Of course you want to be liked. You’re human. But nobody is loved by everybody. No matter what you do, there will always be somebody who is not happy with you. The only thing to do is do what you think best. That means saying ‘No” when it’s hard to turn someone down because you want to please them. But you will have to say no from time to time or you will never achieve what you want to achieve. You cannot be everything to all people. You must do what your heart and soul tell you to do.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact