The biggest champions in life dare to challenge and replace their limiting beliefs. Indeed, every person desiring to move on must examine the gap between intentions and actions to detect where his limiting beliefs are. Once the performance gap is identified, a person can then begin to ask the tough questions to determine why his intentions and actions do not align.
Not surprisingly, the answers a person gets in life depend upon the questions he asks himself. For the better questions a person asks, the better answers he receives. Unfortunately, a limiting belief is limiting because it narrows the questions a person is willing to ask himself. Thus, it limits his answers. This, in fact, is why so few people change even when the answers are right in front of them.
This isn’t new, for Socrates noted many years ago that the unexamined life is not worth living. Nonetheless, few people examine their belief systems; instead, most prefer to live in a state of denial regardless of the consequences. Interestingly, Winston Churchill, who spent a lifetime studying people and leadership, identified the same failure mode when he wrote, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
Thankfully, however, this doesn’t have to be true for you. 2015 is a new year, and it can be the turning point in your life. Perhaps it’s time to courageously confront the limiting beliefs holding you back from your dreams and goals. From here forward, make the decision not to run away from truth. Instead, allow the data in each area of your life to help you identify and remove limiting beliefs. Yes, it is scary when you admit to yourself that you don’t have everything figured out, but it’s also one of the most important and liberating days of your life.
For example, before starting into the leadership field, I had two experiences in high school and college (one was a required public speaking class for my MBA program at the University of Michigan) that I would like to forget. In both instances, I received zeros! That’s right: absolute objective failure. I am not making excuses. I earned the scores because I literally lost my train of thought and just stared at the crowd before ignominiously walking back to my seat. For years, I just avoided public speaking, but my dream of running a leadership company propelled me forward. I knew my limiting belief about speaking and my dream could not coexist. One had to be discarded.
Although it took time to develop my speaking ability, the key victory was in discarding my limiting belief that I had nothing to say worth listening to. How did I do this? First, by asking questions and realizing that failure is an event, not a person. Yes, I failed at speaking several times, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t speak. It only meant that I had not developed the knowledge to speak freely on the subjects assigned. Second, I vowed to never give a speech again. Instead, I would learn my subject so well that I could just speak extemporaneously for hours at a time. To this day, I don’t give speeches; I merely share what is in my heart with others.
By noting just a few key words on a piece of paper, I was able to keep my thoughts organized while sharing my passion for whatever subject I had researched and lived. Thousands of talks later (over 10,000 hours in front of people), and I received a message from Inc. magazine that they had recognized me as one of the Top 100 Convention Speakers. What? Seriously? From two zeros in public speaking to Inc. magazine’s top speaker list? How did that happen? First and foremost, by God’s grace. Then, by learning to ask better questions to identify why I was so scared to speak in front of people.
I shared this personal story not to shed light upon myself but rather to shed light upon the reader’s dreams. Whatever you fear the most in life may be your biggest gift to give to the world. LIFE Leadership can help provide you the tools to overcome your limiting beliefs. Perhaps 2015 is the year you will confront your limiting beliefs Goliath. And, when you do, you will begin your success journey to the top. I wish you all the success you deserve.