Forget the idea that a "glass ceiling" only applies to women crashing into and getting slapped down by the "boy’s-only-club of top corporate leadership." That’s not the issue here.

What’s far more serious, and gender neutral, are the internal glass ceilings that hold back both women and men.

Only by becoming aware of your own holdbacks, those Unconscious Allegiances and/or Forbiddances that create unconscious obstacles to the success you desire, can you shatter those internal glass ceilings and move forward.

So, take a few minutes to answer these introductory inner-glass-ceiling questions:

1 - How well do you receive recognition and praise for work well done? Even personal compliments? How well do you hear the other person’s gift to you? Believe it? Integrate it? And make it part of your identity?

2 - What have you walked away from when you were succeeding having told yourself a story about why you needed to leave that later you realized was a way to avoid the challenges of success that were directly in your path?

3 - What success have you achieved that you couldn’t own? Instead, you played it down, sloughing off its importance or impact? Maybe you even handed off the responsibility for it to one of your team mates.

4 - When you look at the success that your parents and/or siblings have achieved, how much internal freedom do you have to go beyond their accomplishments? To make far more money? To have more highly responsible and visible titles? To actually outshine them with your particular excellence?

5 - What limits are you currently putting on the promotional levels (or business opportunities) that you can allow yourself to want, deserve, and work for?

Your Inner Glass Ceiling is far more problematic than any external challenges you have to deal with in your day-to-day professional work because it’s so clever that it even attracts you to the very people who will partner with you in holding you back.

* Procrastinators "just seem to" find picky perfectionists to work for.

* Dreamers are "somehow drawn to" nuts-and-bolts types that see dreaming as a waste of time

* Idealists "keep demanding" that their manager solve "problems" the manager has no interest in addressing

* Those hungry for praise are "continually deflated" by the critical demands of senior staff

* Managers who are in over their heads "blame" their team members for not having more individual initiative

I could go on with more examples, but the key point I want to get across is that any internal glass ceiling will act like a magnet, drawing you to exactly what you need in order to feel that the problem of your being held back is outside yourself.

So look around at the challenges you experience in your everyday work, in your work relationships, in your career. What do you see as the common, repetitive issues that come up over and over?

When you identify a behavior or attitude that’s been in your way more than once or twice, begin to identify why that undermining belief or behavior was more important than showing up in your full excellence. For example, if you’ve done well with professional execution, but you’ve received bad reviews for having a negative attitude, provoking boisterous arguments with colleagues, and/or repeatedly showing up late for meetings WHAT is it that has been more important than the professional behavior you know is important in the workplace? How has that "bad behavior" been a replication of something you’ve been doing most of your life? Perhaps, in fact, you may have witnessed family members doing the same kind of thing while you were growing up—yes?

In order to dig into the root cause of an Unconscious Allegiance or Forbiddance you need to respect the power of the unconscious mind to run things for you when you are "not looking" and create that glass ceiling that you now have to shatter. Then you have to identify the "trouble spots." And finally you have to consciously determine to create new patterns that may and often do feel uncomfortable at first, but allow you to better show off your professional excellence.

This isn’t theory but the proven power of your unconscious mind to run the show and I have certainly had to discover and then shatter my own personal inner glass ceilings. Please join me. Hopefully it’s time to shatter yours!

Author's Bio: 

Judith Sherven, PhD and her husband Jim Sniechowski, PhD have developed a penetrating perspective on people’s resistance to success, which they call The Fear of Being Fabuloustm. Recognizing the power of unconscious programming to always outweigh conscious desires, they assert that no one is ever failing—they are always succeeding. The question is, at what? To learn about how this played out in the life of Whitney Houston, check out

Currently working as consultants on retainer to LinkedIn providing executive coaching, leadership training and consulting as well as working with private clients around the world, they continually prove that when unconscious beliefs are brought to the surface, the barriers to greater success and leadership presence begin to fade away. They call it Overcoming the Fear of Being Fabulous