Yes, the shocking truth: you cannot believe everything you think!
Here is how you may have experienced it: you set new big stretch goals or commit to a new project, you are excited and then… the negative thoughts start. That voice in your head that gives you all the reasons why you could fail, why you are not ready for the new project, and you need to wait. Your beliefs form your thoughts, more often than not you are more capable than your thoughts. However, we usually don’t question our thoughts and let them dictate our actions. You are a master at fooling yourself, your brain knows what to tell you so you can justify keeping yourself safe and taking the comfortable path through life. Your capacity to deceive yourself is almost unlimited. It is actually a remarkable function of the brain to keep you safe and avoid risk. It’s a function of the Amygdala, that part of your brain that controls the “flight or fright” response. Throughout our life, in countless situations this function serves us well and has contributed to the preservation of our species! However, when you start believing your thoughts about why your new goals for your business are too much of a stretch and you are doomed to failure; more often than not, you are believing lies. This can have a high cost as you avoid change and growth and stick with what is safe and familiar.
Free yourself from the lies you tell yourself, here are some common ones you can start with:
1. I must wait for the perfect moment to act: There is no perfect moment. As soon as you declare a big goal, you are likely to feel resistance and to start questioning yourself. Fear is the reason you think you need to wait. When you think “not now”, ask yourself: what am I afraid of? Failure? Success? Commitment and hard work? You can be certain you are avoiding something. In most cases you are putting it off because the thought of doing it makes you un-comfortable, that is unlikely to change tomorrow or next week. Action is the best fear buster so, take the first small step and act! Have the courage to start right now, tackle it and get it off your back. Think about how much better you will feel from getting started and getting it done. What is one small step you can take right now towards the goal?
2. I lack the skills or preparation to do what I want to do: You have a dream of doing something new, you have been reading about it, you have been researching it and you stay in that “learning” mode, never getting to the doing. Your thoughts are about how you need more information to be sure you are doing the right thing or that you understand it perfectly. Once again, your brain is keeping you safe and lying to you by telling you have more to learn. Consider changing your thinking to: I am not waiting to be an expert, I know enough to take the first small steps to get this project started. I will start and if I make a mistake I will course correct and learn from it. Get on the court and do it, it is by doing that you will learn not by reading or watching videos about it. What is the cost of waiting?
3. Being busy means I’m getting things done: Do you always have busy days, full of activities? How much of what is important is accomplished? Make sure your brain is not taking you to the easy activities, keeping you in your comfort zone to avoid the important and more challenging priorities. Are your thoughts dictating your agenda based on self-deception or, are you focused on the important activities that are moving you closer to your goals and success?
4. My competitors are more successful, smarter, do it better, and have more money and success than I do: There is no greater lie, that inflicts more pain than this one. Social media has made this particular self-deception a daily occurrence. Please protect yourself from these projections! Yes, you are projecting your thoughts onto that other person, you do not know their struggles, you do not know how authentic they are in their branding. How are you creating a whole fantasy in your thoughts about them and their business or life? Get clear on who you are and what you have to contribute, you are unique, your story has value think about that.
5. I must follow the rules: There are social laws, norms and rules that exist for very good reasons and should never to be broken. However, some rules are meant to be broken! The most successful people have managed to break the rules in a positive way. When everyone follows the rules, nothing changes. As long as it doesn’t land you or anyone else in harm’s way, please break the rule. If you have a great idea on how to do something new, big or disruptive for the betterment of mankind, do proceed and do not listen to your brain telling you it’s just not done and that there is a right way and a wrong way.
Final Thoughts: There is a term in psychology “Belief Perseverance”; we stick to our beliefs and thought patterns that no longer serve us because we have formed them over a life-time of experiences. Although changing our mindset and thinking requires work, commitment and sometimes hiring a therapist, coach or mentor, it is what leads to our best life. What thoughts are you holding on to that do not serve your highest self? Take action today to start changing the way you think.