What is holding you back from realizing your dream is YOU! Your self-talk, the story you play in your head over and over again, the obstacles you create and reinforce when you talk to your friends, that story become your reality. It’s a basic principle of brain development: “cells that fire together get wired together.” If you keep ruminating over the same flaws or beliefs, you are hindering your power to take action and create a new reality. Let me explain how one of my beliefs limited my ability to feel fulfilled and happy about my work.
Every Belief Has a Root
As a child, I struggled to perform well in math. The school system continuously punished me instead of trying to help. The belief I created from this experience was that “I am not smart enough.” Throughout the years, I reinforced this belief by attaching symbols to my idea of smart. For instance, deep in my neural network, MIT and PhD began to represent “smart.” Anyone who did not attend MIT nor had a PhD was immediately classified as “not smart.” To keep this belief alive, I clung to it hard by using it to filter how I saw people (smart/not smart) and to disregard their feedback about my abilities. When those who I considered “smart” paid me a compliment, my brain would say, “they are just being nice and don’t really mean it because you know deep down you are not smart.” When others who were classified as “not smart” gave me compliments, I disregarded them by telling myself “it doesn’t matter what they say, since they are not smart enough to see that I am not smart.” While I operated based on this belief, every job I held was classified as simplistic and I could not find joy doing it. I only gave value to work that required having a PhD like doing research.
Isn’t it interesting how we sabotage ourselves and do everything we can to confirm our beliefs? I have met many brilliant people who think “only if I get one more degree, certification, etc. I will be competent enough to do well.” What is your self-limiting belief? Where did it come from? How would you describe it? How does it show up in your life?
If you want to work on what is holding you back from achieving your dreams, follow this step by step process and share your success.
What can you do to change your story?
- Identify and define what is holding you back. Are you not good enough, smart, pretty…?
- Describe how it makes you feel.
- Describe what actions you are taking/not taking as a result of hearing this story.
- Externalize the story: Share the story with someone you trust who can listen objectively and acknowledge it, but not agree with it.
- Redefine what “smart, pretty…” means to you.
- Create a new story or affirmation based on your new meaning. I.e. you are smart, you are pretty…
- Tell yourself the new story every morning and share it with family and friends.
- Take Action in line with your new story. Live it!
I liberated myself of this strong belief by working with a coach to define what smart meant to me and uncovered all the symbols and emotions that led me to reinforce the old belief. At first it felt very awkward to say out loud “I am smart.” I felt some resistance coming from within to let go and accept the new meaning. It was like a block of bricks moving inside my body; I could tell my breathing was blocked. To unblock myself, I said out loud “I accept that I am smart and embrace my new definition of smart.” After moving past that, I became empowered and let go of my old definition of “smart” as well as re-discovered the value I add to the world by sharing my knowledge of neuroscience and psychology. I am living my dream as a professional coach, helping people create new stories that empower them to take action and realize their dreams.