Last updated 28 March, 2023

Natural progression vs. blazing your own path

Do you ever feel like you’re on a path that doesn’t feel quite right, but you continue down it because it seems like the ‘safe’ choice? Maybe you have a job that pays the bills but doesn’t excite you, or dream of pursuing a passion but are holding back because it doesn’t fit with others’ expectations. Perhaps you’re unsatisfied in your relationship, but the thought of changing or ending it feels impractical or overwhelming. 

If so, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle with the confidence to choose our authentic desires over taking the path of least resistance. And the root of this struggle often lies within our self-image. 

What it means to live a life of natural progression

When we are living our life on ‘autopilot’, we often end up on the path that seems to make the most practical sense or which society deems desirable. A ‘natural progression’ journey may include going to university, working a 9 to 5 job, getting married, buying a house, and having children. While these milestones are often celebrated, they may not align with what you truly want out of life. 

Looking at it another way, a ‘natural progression’ journey may also mean that you simply let things happen to you, rather than taking a more proactive approach. For example, you might silently hope the boss notices your efforts and gives you a promotion, rather than approaching your boss with evidence to support why you deserve a promotion sooner than later. 

Living a life of natural progression may seem safe and secure, but it can also lead to feelings of dissatisfaction or even a victim mindset. When you follow the path that others have laid out for you, or simply float along on life’s currents, you miss out on living up to your full potential. 

Living the life you truly want

Living the life you desire means following your passions and going after your dreams, even if doing so feels unconventional or risky. It requires taking the time to figure out what truly matters to you and what makes you happy, rather than simply living to meet the expectations of others. While blazing your own path can be daunting, there are plenty of benefits to pursuing your desires:

1. Greater sense of purpose. Living a life aligned with your values and passions can lead to a greater sense of purpose and meaning.

2. More fulfilling relationships. When you are living authentically, you are more likely to attract people into your life who share your true values and passions. This can lead to deeper, stronger connections in your relationships.

3. Better physical health. Research has shown that people who live their lives with a strong sense of purpose are less likely to experience chronic health conditions.

4. Increased happiness. Not surprisingly, living a life in alignment with your desires and your authentic self can have a tremendous positive impact on your mood and mental wellbeing. 

The role of self-image in owning your path

Many people have the talent, resources and freedom to pursue a more authentic life path, but they still don’t do it – why? The answer lies in how they see themselves.

When you have a positive self-image, you tend to feel more confident, resilient, and optimistic. You’re better able to handle setbacks and challenges and are more likely to take care of yourself and your mental health. Conversely, a negative self-image can lead to feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and depression. You might struggle with imposter syndrome, comparing yourself to others, and feeling like you’re not good enough. 

Self-image touches every aspect of your life, influencing whether you pursue the life you are worthy of or simply allow life’s natural progression to carry you on to the next phase. Here are just a few of the ways that your self-image can influence your life’s path:


  • When you have a positive self-image, you tend to be more confident, assertive, and authentic in your interactions with others. You’re more likely to communicate effectively, set boundaries, and show empathy and compassion.

  • Negative self-image can lead to interpersonal challenges like self-doubt, insecurity, and social withdrawal. You might struggle with opening up to others, trusting them, and forming deep connections.

  • Studies have shown that people who had positive perceptions of themselves were more likely to experience social support and less likely to experience social isolation. 

Career and financial success

  • Those with a positive self-image tend to be more confident, driven, and resilient in pursuing goals and ambitions. You’re more likely to take risks, seek out opportunities, and persist in the face of challenges and setbacks. 

  • In one study, researchers found that people with higher levels of self-esteem tended to have higher levels of job satisfaction. 

  • Another study showed that high self-esteem is correlated with higher levels of financial security and lower anxiety about finances. 


  • With a positive self-image, you tend to feel more confident, resilient, and optimistic. You’re better able to handle setbacks and challenges and are more likely to take care of yourself and your mental health. 

  • Conversely, a negative self-image can lead to feelings of insecurity, anxiety and depression. You might struggle with imposter syndrome, comparing yourself to others, and feeling like you’re not good enough.

  • Research has shown better physical and mental health outcomes in those with high self-esteem, and indicated that these positive outcomes can last from adolescence through old age. 

Overcoming limiting beliefs

Improving your self-image clearly comes with benefits, but you may be unsure of where to begin. Our limiting beliefs are often based on negative self-talk and can be deeply ingrained in our psyche. The good news is that your self-image can be improved by taking intentional steps to shift your beliefs and behaviours. Here are some practical tips to get you started: 


1. Practice self-compassion

Self-compassion is the practice of treating yourself with the same kindness, concern, and understanding that you would offer to a good friend. It involves acknowledging your pain and struggles without judgment or criticism. Practising self-compassion can help you develop a more positive self-image and overcome limiting beliefs. Instead of beating yourself up for your mistakes or shortcomings, you can approach yourself with kindness and understanding.


2. Challenge negative self-talk

Negative self-talk is a common form of limiting belief that can undermine our self-image and prevent us from pursuing our goals. Examples of negative self-talk include statements like, "I’m not good enough”, "I’ll never succeed”, or "I’m a failure”. To overcome these beliefs, you can challenge them with evidence that contradicts them. For example, if you believe you’re not good enough to pursue a certain career, make a list of your accomplishments and strengths that prove otherwise.


3. Visualise success

Visualisation is a powerful tool for improving self-image and building confidence. By imagining yourself succeeding in your goals, you can create a positive mental image of yourself and reinforce your belief in your abilities. To visualise success, close your eyes and picture yourself achieving your desired outcome in vivid detail. Imagine the sights, sounds, and feelings associated with your success. The more you practice visualisation, the more real and attainable your goals will feel.


How coaching can help you build a positive self-image

Sometimes we need additional support to overcome deeply ingrained limiting beliefs. This is where coaching can be especially helpful. A coach can help you to identify where these beliefs come from, help you challenge them, and create a plan to overcome them. They can also provide accountability and support as you work toward your goals. By working with a coach, you’ll gain a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, develop a growth mindset, and overcome the limiting beliefs that are holding you back from achieving your full potential.


Making the shift

In addition to working on your self-image, here are some steps you can take to take charge of your life and start living it in an empowered, intentional way:

1. Figure out what you truly want. Take the time to reflect on your passions and desires. What are the things that truly light you up? What are the things that you’ve always wanted to do but have been too afraid to pursue? By identifying what you truly want, you can start to make a plan for how to achieve it.

2. Identify your fears. Fear is often what holds us back from pursuing our dreams. Identify what fears are holding you back and work on overcoming them. This may involve facing your fears head-on, seeking support from others, or working with a coach. 

3. Make a plan. Once you know what you truly want, it’s time to make a plan for how to achieve it. Break down your goals into smaller, achievable steps and create a timeline for when you want to achieve them. This will help you stay focused and motivated along the way.

4. Take action. The only way to truly live the life you want is to take action towards your goals. Start taking small steps towards your goals every day, even if they are just baby steps. Each small step will bring you closer to living the life you truly want.

5. Keep yourself accountable. It can be helpful to have someone hold you accountable along the way. This can be a coach, mentor, or friend who will help keep you on track and provide support when you need it.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone and embracing a path that’s true to your passions and values can feel risky, but the reward of living a vibrant life that’s true to who you are is immeasurable. 

If you’re ready to get on the path to your full potential, our coaches are here to support you! 

Match with one of our world-class coaches here and book a session today.


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