Are you a supporter or a saboteur of your own success?
Many of the world’s great wisdom traditions emphasize the creative power of your beliefs and thoughts. You’re probably enjoying a successful life right now if you believe you can create the outcomes you want in life; if you habitually think in positive, can-do terms; and if you take action on your beliefs and thoughts.
Unfortunately, far too many entrepreneurs trap themselves in a continuous downward spiral of fear, lack of confidence, and a focus on what they don’t want—all of which conspire to sabotage their results.
Am I saying you have to be totally fearless, completely doubt free, and a veritable font of 24/7 positivity? Absolutely not! Am I saying that, to create better results than you may be currently experiencing, you get to usually act fearless, usually move forward despite your doubts, and usually operate from a place of positive expectation? Most definitely!
Here’s the curious thing about deeply held beliefs and habitual thoughts: They’re the basis of your outcomes, whether those outcomes are pleasing or disappointing to you. In other words, a chronically negative belief system and negative thought habits will generally get you crappy results, while a chronically positive belief system and positive, “I can do this” thoughts will typically create gratifying results. The results you want depend less on what you “want” and more on what is actually the focus of your attention.
Are you a supporter or a saboteur of your own success?
So “all” you need do is develop beliefs and habitual thoughts that propel you forward into success rather than drag you back into disappointment and failure. Piece of cake, right?
Well…no. As a Spanish proverb observes, “Habits are first cobwebs, then cables.” A recently developed habit is cobwebby enough that breaking it is pretty simple, but a long-standing habit is much stronger and far harder to break. Naturally, the more you want to replace a sabotaging habit with an empowering one, the more motivation and effectiveness you’ll bring to the change process…AND it will still take conscious effort.
However, there’s no way to change any counterproductive belief or thought (or activity, or behavior) until you (a) figure out what said belief/thought/etc. is AND (b) acknowledge it needs changing. Beliefs are a particular challenge, since they’re intangible and typically very much below your conscious awareness.
So how do you go about deducing your hidden (and potentially success-limiting) beliefs and identifying your counterproductive thoughts and behaviors?
First, you realize that your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions are the result of your beliefs, which means that you can deduce your beliefs from those thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.
Next, you create a mental lens called “How might I be sabotaging my success?”, and you evaluate your thoughts and behaviors through that lens. Please note: This is NOT the same thing as beating up on yourself and putting yourself down! Instead, it’s a powerful and caring way to up-level your game of life.
To give you a jump-start on your success sleuthing, here are some potential business-busting beliefs and thoughts you might want to be on the look-out for.
- If you don’t get your hopes up, you won’t be disappointed when things don’t work out.
- Success requires hard work, long hours, and sacrifice.
- Money is the root of all evil.
- If I love my work enough, I should be willing to do it for free.
- I’m not an expert/I don’t know enough.
- What I know is just common sense, so why would anybody pay for it?
- I don’t deserve success.
And let’s not forget the emotions! Uncomfortable and unpleasant emotions can often point to underlying beliefs that are limiting your success. If you consistently experience any of these emotions, chances are good that you’ve got some beliefs that aren’t serving you well.
- fear (of failure, success, rejection, jealousy, lack, higher expectations…)
- guilt (over charging enough for your services, not giving “family and friend” discounts, not discounting your price in cases of financial hardship, earning more than your friends/parents/siblings….)
- resentment (over someone else’s success, a partner’s lack of support, a prospect backing out of an agreement to work with you…)
- anger (over circumstances, someone else’s unhelpful behavior, commitments that were not honored…)
“So, Kath,” you might ask, “what do I do when I uncover a limiting belief or some counterproductive habit of thought? How do I change it around so it supports my success rather than hinders it?”
I’m so glad you asked.
The relationship between beliefs and thoughts is a two-way street. While your unconsciously held beliefs lead to your thoughts (which lead to your actions, which lead to your results), your consciously chosen new thoughts can begin to shift your underlying beliefs. Those new, success-oriented beliefs will then support your efforts as you move forward, and they’ll do so just as effectively as your struggle-and-failure beliefs used to support your struggle and failure. And how totally cool is that?
So here are examples of specific thoughts you can choose to hold. They’ll boost your confidence and your sense of self-efficacy (the “I can do this!” approach to life) as they also begin to re-program your beliefs.
- It wouldn’t even have occurred to me to aim for this goal if I didn’t feel deep inside I could achieve it.
- Somebody’s going to be awarded that contract/sign that prospect/win that prize – it might as well be me!
- Things work out in my favor more often than not. [Then be sure to remind yourself of specific successes you’ve already enjoyed.]
- All those lessons I learned in the “school of hard knocks” are really paying off for me now.
- It’s so rewarding to know that people find so much value in what I have to offer that they’re willing to invest time and money in it.
- How fantastic it feels to have enough money to provide the lifestyle I want and to support the causes I feel strongly about!
You’ll find that the more consistently you challenge yourself to shift your thoughts from gloom and doom to success, the easier and more fun it becomes—and the better the results you enjoy.
Take action. Reap the rewards.
Am I a firm believer in the effectiveness of this process? Absolutely. Why? Because I’ve used it to create really delightful results in my business and my life. Here’s my favorite (i.e., most current) example.
Back in August of this year, I took a 3-day train-the-trainer course from Mike Dooley, New York Times best-selling author of Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams; as a result, I’m now certified to teach the material he presents in his book. At the end of our training, we were told that we could choose to earn the designation of “Trailblazer” by facilitating a six-hour training session for six or more people. Then, barely 10 days later, a call for speakers was put out for the next train-the-trainer conference, to be held in January 2015 in Orlando, Florida. (I live in Iowa; do you see why the words “Orlando in January” are music to my ears?) The only firm requirement was that the applicant have achieved Trailblazer status by the start of the conference.
This was a very in-my-face opportunity, and the questions started buzzing in my head. Do I choose to play it safe? Or do I take the risk of submitting a proposal and maybe have it rejected? Do I convince myself that a brand-new certified trainer—one who hadn’t even taught the first session of her first IP class, much less achieved Trailblazer status—has no chance of being selected? Or do I suck it up and choose to believe that I can bring huge value to conference participants by sharing my unique experiences and perspectives? Do I buy into my old “Don’t get your hopes up” programming? Or do I assume and act as if I’ve got a great chance of being chosen to speak? Do I walk the walk?
I decided I’d be very disappointed in myself if I didn’t give this a shot, so I developed a speaking proposal. I followed all the steps of the IP process:
- monitored myself for any scaredy-cat, defeatist thinking; switched it around whenever I encountered it
- visualized success, which included feeling, on a daily basis, the joy and excitement of being selected
- bolstered my confidence by reminding myself of past client successes
- took a whole series of carefully planned action steps (crafted my proposal to meet the needs of the IP audience; sent along a video of me speaking at another conference; “acted as if” I’d already achieved my goal by creating my PowerPoint presentation and sending it to the selection committee)
- chose to believe I’d be selected, then detached from the actual outcome of the selection process (detaching is almost always the trickiest part for me)
I even created mock-ups of the ribbons I knew I’d be given to wear if I were chosen as a speaker, then put them on the name tag I received at my initial training.
And now I’m on the schedule to speak at the next Infinite Possibilities train-the-trainer conference, to be held in Orlando in just nine weeks and two days. (But who’s counting?)
Does this talk of infinite possibilities make you tingle with excitement? Then you’ll benefit greatly from checking out Mike’s book; he’ll walk you through these and many more steps for changing your life.
Or are you simultaneously tingly-excited AND wide-eyed-overwhelmed at the thought of adding yet another book to your teetering stack of still-unread resources? If that’s the case, I have another option you might want to consider.
As I mentioned, I was recently certified by Mike to teach the principles he lays out in Infinite Possibilities, which means I can walk you through the IP process step by step. You’ll get a teacher, study buddy, and accountability partner all in one.
Is that the right step for you at this time? Maybe. Maybe not. We can figure out which it is in a 20- to 30-minute get-acquainted call. To schedule that call, just contact me at 319-270-1214 with some dates and times that work for you. You can also email your availability to me; just put “What are the possibilities?” in the subject line. Whether our mutual decision is go, no go, or go later, we’ll both be confident it’s the right decision for both of us.
In the meantime, be sure to relish all the possibilities just waiting for you to tap them.This entry was posted in achievement, change and tagged effectiveness, personal power. Bookmark the permalink.