So, you're finally waking up to the fact that there's more to life than what you've been living - Tick!
You're beginning to see yourself, others and the world in a different and more meaningful way - Tick!
You've decided you want a life of fulfillment, excitement, accomplishment and a sense that you are making a positive impact in the world - Tick!
Ok .... so what's stopping you?
As someone who has spent my entire life searching for answers, I don't subscribe to quick-fixes or shortcuts when it comes to personal transformation, but, I do appreciate the book The Secret for popularising the notion that our minds are the source of our creative power and that it's our thoughts that really determine our experience. The Truth, as Anais Nin so neatly puts it, is that:
We do not see the world as it is, but as we are.
I invite you to take a moment to think about it. We are each unique individuals who've had entirely unique and separate life experiences. Those experiences shape the lens through which we see the world. Every thought, feeling and experience is then filtered through that personal lens. In every moment we are therefore each experiencing our personal world through our own unique lens, meaning that regardless of what is happening, it is our interpretation that will determine the nature and quality of our experience.
Don't worry, if you haven't got it yet, it'll all become clear.
Last time we introduced the idea of the Big Four Blocks and touched upon how they can stand in our way. Effectively, these are 4 categories of thoughts, beliefs and interpretations that we're filtering through our lens that stop us from making successful changes in our lives. Today we focus on the first of these blocks, known as Limiting Beliefs.
Here Limiting beliefs are defined as:
A belief you accept about life, about your world or the people in it that limits you in some way.
They are most commonly the phrases, clichés or paradigms we've been conditioned to believe by our family, religious community, school, friends or the media, that somehow limit us.
Here are some typical examples:
- (My father said) that you have to be ruthless in business to make any money;
- (My best friend says) that men only look at women who are a size 10 or slimmer;
- (They say) that small businesses have a 90% chance of failing in this economy.
The thing is, the beliefs themselves are harmless until they limit us in our own lives. Think about it, if you're a size 14 female, who's single and considering dating, but you've taken on your best friend's belief about men, why would you even bother looking or registering for a dating website?
For now, let's take an example that I come across more often than most:
You want to leave your job to do something you're passionate about, let's call that [x].
You're interested in setting up your own business or having a portfolio career incorporating [x].
You've heard from friends/family that you'd be crazy to leave your secure job as they've heard it's impossible to make a decent living doing [x]. Naturally, you'd be forgiven for being afraid to quit your job since you believe that there's a high risk that you won't be able to make ends meet.
And all of a sudden, you're stuck!
Until now that is.
All this time you have been absorbing limiting beliefs unconsciously and as such they've acted as an invisible internal braking system. But with a heightened level of awareness you can see a limiting belief for what it is - hear say. By recognising it for what it truly is, you then have the choice to assess it, determine its relevance to you, decide how well it works for you and opt whether to let it go.
The good news is that challenging limiting beliefs is reassuringly straightforward. The key is simply to find examples and evidence that the limiting belief is NOT universally true. So let's explore just how easy it is to tackle limiting beliefs:
You've heard from friends/family that no one makes a good living doing [x].
- How true is that belief really?
Are there any people making a good living from doing [x]? If there's anyone doing it then it's possible.
- Where did you get that belief from?
How reliable and knowledgeable is the source of the belief? How much do your friends and family really know about your chosen industry? Where did they get the information from? What was the agenda behind them saying it? How relevant is that to you with your experience and network? Be curious and learn about your industry before taking other peoples' views on as your own.
- How is having that belief really impacting you/your happiness?
What's it costing you to believe what you've heard?: A new and more fulfilling career path; the chance to spend more time with your family; an opportunity for self-discovery; the chance to meet new and like-minded people; a fun experience?
- How would things be different if you could let that belief go?
What would you be motivated to do differently? What possibilities would it open up? What other options are out there? What would you be walking away from?
Whether you decide to pursue [x] or not, the danger of unconsciously believing a limiting belief is that it might blind you to the multitude of options sitting just beyond an invisible brick wall.
So, if you're ready to explore having your own business doing something you're passionate about, or you know someone who is, check out www.startoutsteps.com for more information and a free downloadable checklist laying out the first steps. Stay tuned next time for the next post on Interpretations, the second of the Big Four Blocks.