A satisfying life and career is a direct outgrowth of the truth or lies we tell ourselves.
We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is awaiting us…. The old skin has to be shed before the new one is to come.
“I don’t have what it takes!” My client declared when trying to explain his “wasting time” (his perspective) and not diving into activities related to the business he’s developing and the short story he’s writing.
We were both taken back by the power of his belief – “I don’t have what it takes!” Where did that come from? He has no idea – but as we probed this together, we realized he has been living this story for a long time. This story of not having what it takes has him lose his focus on projects; it has him leaving things half done.
I challenged him to live a new story this week – “I do have what it takes!” We conceived of different ways to reinforce the new story and stay immersed in it.
He confided in me he had been a smoker a year ago – and one of the activities that had worked for him in quitting the habit was carrying words of wisdom around with him in his wallet. He would pull the words out from time to time to look at them. And he felt confident just knowing that they were in his wallet. He believed they had definitely aided him in his quest to become a non-smoker.
Consequently, we agreed to his writing three statements and placing them in his wallet:
“I make an impact!”
“I have what it takes!”
“I finish it!”
Another activity he agreed to engage in was writing me a “back to the future” letter where he told me from the perspective of five years from now, what he had accomplished.
After a good bit of digging, one client and I discovered that he had forever been living the story that “It’s not safe for things to be easy.” When this belief hit the light of day it looked quite ludicrous, but none-the-less it was operating and running his life at an unconscious level. He became aware that some of his favorite phrases that he repeated to himself included the word struggle.
When he thought more about this issue, he realized that he had grown up in a family that truly believed that people were more worthwhile if they struggled their way through life. Such people (according to his family’s values) showed that they had more character. We could see that being the bright person he was, he had caught on to this notion at an early age and had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t safe for things to be too easy for him. He would not have been perceived in his family as a worthwhile person. So he had set about to make things more difficult than they needed to be – hence the belief he lived out of for many years of his life.
For the last several months, he’s been living a new story of ease – and it’s been amazing how much easier his life has become as a result. For him it was as easy as consciously living a new story and leaving the old story by the side of the road like a snake shedding its old skin.
How can you do that?
• Look at what’s not happening that you would like to happen and get curious about what’s getting in your way – there may just be an inhibiting belief clogging up the works.
• Write a new script for yourself. If the old script is stress, struggle, incompetence – turn it around to peace, ease, strengths.
• Use devices such as notes in your wallet, sticky notes on your desk, phrases programmed into your computer to remind you of the new story.
• Seek out those people who are living the new story you would live and get curious about how they have managed to live this story.
• Be patient with yourself – nature has created gestational periods for every living thing – give yourself time to incubate your new story. If you find yourself slipping into old patterns, congratulate yourself for noticing and readjust course.