Fears, limiting beliefs, interpretations – oh my! We all have things that hold us back (click on the links to read more about any of these). If we allow these thoughts and beliefs to limit our options, opportunities, views and perspectives, that can be a real problem. It is so easy to get caught up in a situation; to get spun up when we’re frustrated or angry; to believe we absolutely know where the other person is coming from; to only see one (often negative) solution.
I was with a group of friends this weekend and each one of us had a situation we were in or facing where one of these beliefs was holding us hostage. Each of us was procrastinating in some way because we had determined in our heads that we already knew the outcome and we didn’t like it.
- We had “failed” at our business.
- The new program we were going to launch (but hadn’t yet…) was a flop.
- The boss we needed to have a tough conversation with was unapproachable and fired us at the end of the conversation.
- The boyfriend was going to break-up when we asked to do something differently.
You know what? Any of these things might actually happen. Some would be harder to swallow than others. And what if we decided to flip our perspective and step forward instead? We try new things to move our business forward, learn a lot and experience amazing success. We launch that program (and learn what works and what doesn’t). We have the talk with our boss, realize she had no idea we were struggling and we leave feeling supported and valued. We talk to our boyfriend (or girlfriend, or wife, or husband) and become a stronger couple able to talk through challenges.
We can stay stuck in fears and beliefs, or we can choose to move forward.
So how do we step out of behaviors that hold us back?
- Become aware. Sounds logical, right? We have to realize we’re doing it to stop doing it. That can be really hard. There is always something we judge other people about, something we tell ourselves we can’t do (for a reason that might not be true), a situation where we’re afraid or judgmental based on past experiences. That awareness is where we all have to start. So enlist your friends and family to help you recognize your tendencies – and give them permission to share that with you.
- Flip your perspective. Ask yourself “how true is that?” Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to imagine all the possible perspectives they may be coming from. In a situation you’re facing where all you can think of are the horrible potential outcomes, instead ask “what if this went really well?” Envision the ideal outcome.
- Decide how you want to proceed differently. We each have responsibility to decide how we want to show up for each situation. So you get to imagine all the possible outcomes and then determine the best way for you to proceed. The only perspectives, attitudes, thoughts and beliefs you can ultimately change are your own.
Where are you stuck, unhappy, scared? What is it costing you to stay there? And, most importantly, what do you want to do about it?