Updated: Sep 23, 2019
As an executive coach, too many times I have heard a coachee say…it’s always been that way…why would things change now?
“I have always been bad at project management”.
“My manager never agrees with my ideas and suggestions, I never get the promotion I want. I can’t seem to get it right.”
Now don’t get me wrong, these assertions may be absolute truths….at that moment in time, however it got me thinking.
Just because it was, does that really mean it always will be!
I started to wonder how many times we have held ourselves back in the past because our inner voice tells us that things will not change.
Our inner logic tells us that ‘such and such’ is sure to be the outcome…so just don’t bother making the effort.. you will only be disappointed.
I’m curious as to how often we tie ourselves down with these destructive self-limiting beliefs.
As a child I enjoyed singing…I was in the school choir, you now the one…where you all expected to turn up and sing at the children’s mass on Sunday morning…ok I’m showing my age here…but I am also showing you how long one of my own self-limiting beliefs have been embedded.
So I’ll bring you back, I am around 10 years of age and one of the oldest in the children choir.
Our choir master fails to turn up and the local parish priest asks me to lead the choir in the first verse of “Morning has broken”. This is it…my big break, my Whitney Huston moment.
However now one told me at the time that Whitney had a five octave vocal range whilst I was uniquely Tanita Tikiriam. (I have now discovered almost 40 years later that my voice is contralto. The deepest voice for a female)!
Well we get into the first verse and the blackbird has barely spoken (I hadn’t noticed that the rest of the choir were struggling to come down to, what I can call now…, my unique level) when the priest stops me in my tracks from the altar and says well it’s obvious you can’t sing so maybe someone else could take over.
And that was it…for almost 40 years I believed I could not sing. I never tried, it was always an excuse…sure it was obvious.
I’m curious as to how often we tie ourselves down with these destructive limiting beliefs.
This limiting belief forms through our direct experiences, what we learned at school, what we heard from a more knowledge other, we experience something in a particular time and place which did not go so well for us, so therefore it will always be that way.
It creates a norm, a fear … or maybe just an excuse. It stops us in our tracks, it stagnates our development, it’s a fall-back position. It’s a fuzzy logic, based a past experience, a moment in time, a chance collision of person, place or thing. And that is where that experience should stay…in the past.
As a coach, I find myself collaborating with my clients to query these beliefs:
Isolate the belief
Seek the source
Recognize the falsehood
Form empowering beliefs
Convert them to enabling belief