I’ve spent a lot of time lately talking about the stories that keep us stuck – lies we tell ourselves to explain why we are where we are. In the event that you think I’m pointing fingers, let me hasten to assure you that I started this line of thought with myself. One day when I heard that little inner voice trotting out the same story for why I was stuck, I asked myself that fundamental question, where would I be if not for my “story”. I was shocked at the answer.
Let’s face it, none of us grows up without someone else’s programming or belief systems deeply embedded in our minds. “You’re just like your father/mother”, “you’ve never been able to …” or “you’ve always been…” Yeah, some of these voices can be good, but most can be destructive. At some point, you may have noticed that those beliefs have stopped you in your tracks, in spite of the fact that you felt ready, willing and able to take on the world. And maybe – just maybe – you’re starting to feel the rumblings of resentment.
The thing is that those feelings are a great start, in fact, they’re the catalyst for change if you pay attention and let them take charge. However, to get things truly moving in the right direction requires a commitment from you and to you to change. It means making a bold statement that you will no longer let anyone else’s agenda, programming or lies get in your way.
Success is a choice. Who you listen to – who you believe – determines your success.
Why do you call them lies, Angela?
Because when I was finished the quest for my personal truth, I discovered that the very things that I believed that were holding me back were mostly things other people had told me throughout my life – not meaning to be hurtful, but all under the guise of “truth”. But they weren’t. They were lies! They weren’t MY truth, they were someone else’s “truth” imposed on me. And it was time to let them go.
Here’s how I did it: I found a quiet space and time and asked myself a series of questions that started with “why aren’t I …”.
I made three columns, and headed the left column WHY AREN’T I. Under that heading I put a word, or a sentence on each line that rounded out that question – why aren’t I rich, famous, capable, a better money manager, driven, smarter, prettier … well, you name it and it flew out.
I headed the second, or middle column, BECAUSE, and underneath, I listed all the things I’ve ever told myself about why I couldn’t be that person – I’ve never been able to … I’m not as smart as … I’m too scared … I’m not capable of … well, you get my drift. I know you have a whole parcel of your own to add to that, but they all add up to the same thing – “never good enough”.
The final column was headed IS THIS TRUE, and then for each “because” I asked myself this series of questions:
- Is this true for today?
- Is this true just for today?
- Is this always true?
- Has this always been true?
- Will this always be true?
- Was there a time before?
In coaching conversations with my clients (because, yes, every business has an owner) we talk about what happens when the story is removed and the focus instead becomes capability, accountability and responsibility. We explore new storylines – positive options and new habits. We slowly re-program those false beliefs. We rout out the lies. Becoming aware of the extent of those damaging beliefs is the first step in taking charge of the business and controlling and directing it to a positive outcome. It’s a simple shift.
Change the thoughts, change the outcome.