How cool is it when you discover something that you haven’t previously recognised in yourself or your life? One of my favourite things to do is to learn and grow and particularly to build my self-awareness. I personally think of it as our life’s work.
A few months back I started a sales and marketing course run by a fellow speaker and brilliant sales coach, Ian Stephens. One of the first activities we did in the course was to examine the limiting beliefs we had around sales and marketing.
I had no trouble coming up with a few limiting beliefs and found Ian’s NLP-informed process of digging into our past and identifying the significant emotional event or first memory/experience that created/reinforced the limiting belief super useful.
One of the significant emotional events that came up for me related to a discussion with a Manager at Mcdonald’s where I worked casually between the ages of 15 and 17. I ran into him once on a bus on my way out somewhere and we got chatting. He spoke of current affairs of the time and after asking me several questions that I clearly had no idea about he said “You’re not very bright are you?”. Although I’m sure he had no idea that I would internalise this comment and spend decades assuming it must be true, I think it serves as a great demonstration of the impact of words and the importance of being kind to each other.
Has something similar happened to you during your life? Often, we can hold onto words said to us for the longest time (even when no harm is intended), for example, a teacher stating that we would never amount to anything, or a parent suggesting that we’d never be good at a particular skill. These limiting beliefs can restrict what we think is possible in both overt and covert ways.
The next steps of the activity with Ian was to explore the upside (there weren’t many) and the downside of our limiting belief(s) before coming up with a more resourceful belief and ways to apply the new belief in the future. Ian even encouraged us to print out a copy of our limiting belief activity and cross out the old belief regularly as a means of removing it from our psyche.
Perhaps it was the process of looking at the limiting beliefs that triggered what came next. One afternoon around that time I had a thought as I gazed out the window of my office. I realised that if I wanted to grow the Mentally Wellthy business, I would need to leave my desk and start having more conversations with people about what we do … about the ways that we can help …
With that, I was hit with an epiphany. I realised that part of the reason that I wasn’t going out and meeting people stemmed from the comments my partner would make about coffee meetings. As he was about to head to the noisy, hot, metal-fabrication workshop where he’d do hard graft for the day he would often make flippant comments such as “Oh, you’re having coffee again today” or “What, another coffee meeting?”
Realising that coffee meetings are actually genuine work for someone in my circumstances was a powerful revelation. It became clear that I had totally bought into yet another limiting belief. But the really cool thing is that once we identify them, we’re on the path to smashing through them to increase the likelihood of achieving what it is we desire to create in our lives.
What limiting beliefs do you think could be holding you back from achieving in a certain area of your life? Is it time to create a new belief that will serve you better?
And if you’re interested in having a coffee sometime, hit me up ????
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Donna Thistlethwaite is a Brisbane-based speaker and trainer specialising in mental health and resilience. She is an accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Resilience at Work Facilitator with a passion for suicide prevention and for helping individuals, teams and organisations to THRIVE. You can find out about her next Mental Health First Aid courses here.