Are you doing a good job? Are you happy with your progress in life? In my masterclass for the National Association of Black Accountants Twin Cities Chapter, the audience fell silent when the questions appeared on the screen. In today's busy culture, we can get focused on tasks and lose sight of our vision, goals, and values.
Do you know what you want and how to make it happen?
Did you know during our early childhood, we soak up everything we hear, and our young brains believe everything we feed it? During these years, if we teach our minds a love of learning, health, and kindness, we develop our most strong beliefs about what we deserve and who we are. At the same time, if we are exposed to negativity, doubt, or fear, we can take on life-limiting, beliefs, and habits that can stick with us for the rest of our lives.
All of this information stays in our subconscious, and it's there to keep us safe. It's how we learn that the fire is hot by burning our hand, or how we know not to talk to strangers because our parents drilled that fear home for us every single day. In reality, some of these beliefs hold us back in life and keep us in a state of fear and ignorance.
Typical limiting beliefs take the form of:
"I can't do that because"
"I don't deserve that because"
"If I get this opportunity, I/my family can't handle the consequences."
"If I do this, then people will think."
"They'd never let someone like me do something like that."
"I'm sure other people are better than me."
Sound like you? No judgment, I know I've said them on more than one occasion. So what do we do now?
It's never too late to change your thoughts, behaviors, and habits. The truth is there is no such thing as balance when things are evenly beautiful across every area of your life all the time. Instead, most of us experience waves of wins, gratitude, pain, loss, or fear. Things shift and can trigger feelings that hold us back without understanding why. To encourage you to keep going, I have a few rules for my clients.
Use everything you have.
Commit to take action and try something new.
Breakthroughs, not breakdowns.
Okay, let's start with ten questions we can ask ourselves to dig deep into our subconscious and identify our limiting beliefs.
Pro tip: Focus on one area of your life at a time. Consider what's happening in your life, career, and relationships, where is your attention needed in the next six months? Now that you've identified an area take out your journal and respond to the questions below.
10 Questions To Let Go Limiting Beliefs and Do Better in 2020
1. What's got you stuck? It might be impossible to see all of our limiting beliefs, try noticing at least one thought that has held you back throughout your life. Reflect on your life and career experiences and see where you might feel stuck. It might not be apparent when it happened, but if you look back on the things you've done, you can usually see it.
Maybe you didn't apply for that dream job you wanted because you didn't think you were ready or "smart enough." Or that trip to that destination far away that never happened because you didn't feel that you could make enough money to afford a luxury vacation. Perhaps you missed out on asking you that person you sparked with out on a date because you knew it was the wrong "time" or convinced yourself they were "out of your league."
2. Why do you believe this? Now that you've identified your most significant limiting belief, ask yourself, " why is this true?" list all of your responses until you can't think of anymore. Reflect on your childhood, even consider recent events or beliefs passed on through your family. Could it be you've just never heard it's okay or seen someone who looks like you accomplish the goal?
Give yourself time to explore here and be curious. Ask a sibling or someone who may have greater insights into where you learned valuable lessons. Write down every answer you come up with, so you don't forget them.
You are the expert of you.
3. What facts will prove your belief wrong? Most beliefs are just that, beliefs. Beliefs and facts are two very different things. Minnesota is cold in winter. Period. We know that because we can see our breath in the negative temperatures. We can see the snow and frozen icicles. There's no question; cold is cold.
The fact that you believe you aren't smart enough for that job is subjective and just your opinion. There's no way to prove it with 100% certainty. Even if you've applied for hundreds of jobs and never had an interview, that just means those jobs weren't the right fit for you. If you look hard enough, I'm sure you can find someone not as smart as you who is doing what you want to do.
The only thing stopping you is your belief.
4. What have you missed out on in life because of your belief? Let's stick with the job application example, how different would your life be right now if you applied for your dream job? Your life would most likely be completely different. Even if you applied and didn't get it, you could've learned something valuable from the person interviewing you, maybe expanded your network, or gained a mentor. In my book I talk about my fear applying for my dream job as a writer, I'm so glad I took action because no one can hire you if you don't apply.
If nothing else, you failing teaches you that you can survive and move forward.
5. Is there any truth in your belief? Is there truth to your belief? Has something happened to you recently to reinforce the belief? Or is it something you've believed for as long as you can remember, and you don't really know why? Maybe the root is a cautionary, folk tale, or even a movie you saw once?
When I traveled over 8,000 miles to Australia for my dream vacation in January 2012, I signed up for a tour. I wanted to experience everything, including the Great Barrier Reef. As we walked up to the tour boat, I suddenly had flashbacks of the scenes of Jaws. On the ride out to the reef, I debated not getting into the water out of fear of sharks. I wrote in my journal about my conflicting feelings. On the one hand, I didn't fly around the world to die, but on the other hand, I could see how my fear was preventing me from fully living.
The snorkeling instructor said there were plenty of sharks living around the reef, so the likelihood I would see one in the water was very high. But in all his years he'd never seen an attack. In his Aussie accent, he confidently assured me, "they've got better options then you mate."