Updated: Apr 3
After years of working with teams and individuals, in my experience, the quiet little doubts people have about their abilities shape their decisions to try. The notion that we can’t do something has turned into a big hairy scary won’t even try. And all those dreams, large and small, pile up like trash in our trunk.
Unpacking your hidden beliefs about yourself is like looking in the trunk, picking up a single item, and examining it carefully to decide if it’s helpful for your journey or if it’s holding you back.
For example, in my life's ‘trunk of trash,’ I had a lot of misconceptions about my abilities. Somewhere along the way, I picked up the idea that I wasn’t good at math - among other beliefs - and I didn’t challenge them. And every math equation (I wouldn’t try) confirmed my beliefs, as I made the declaration at dinner that someone else should figure out the tip.
Sure, I didn’t love math, but was I bad at it? Or was I under-taught? You see the path I chose for myself in life was based on moving away from what I was bad at instead of moving toward what I really wanted to do with my life. The result was making life decisions like I was running across a field of landmines, hopping over potential math bombs while zig-zagging away from plus and minus signs.
I found out it actually requires more energy to work around what you’re afraid of than just sitting down, staring it in the face, and learning it.
Negative beliefs and misconceptions hold us back from achieving our dreams. They are like landmines, waiting to explode at the exact moment we take a step forward. But we can change that.
I ask, what negative beliefs and misconceptions do you hold about yourself? Trust me, if you believe you are not good at math but dream of being a business owner, your brain will remind you of what you know or don't know about math and accounting. At that exact moment, you were about to take a step forward, and boom! Another landmine pushes against your goals.
In Goal Smasher I share the landmines I went across and how could have made it so much easier on myself.
Here is one of my thoughts from Goal Smasher:
"Keep in mind, the "critical period" theory of development suggests that by the age of seven, most of a child's patterns of behavior and beliefs are formed because of the influences of their environment and experiences. However, that doesn't mean we can't change the negative beliefs we've accumulated over the years. My critical period was full of turmoil and trauma. I had to rewire by practicing positive self-talk, surrounding myself with supportive people, and challenging my negative beliefs. If you think you're bad at something, you often won't try, and I didn't. Then I did and it changed my life.
So take a moment to examine the contents of your own ‘trunk of trash.’ Pick out a belief that's been holding you back and examine it closely. Is it true? is it yours? Is it helpful? Is it necessary for your journey? If not, it's time to toss it out and move forward toward your dreams.
My beliefs about my math abilities were dead wrong! And I'm not totally sure how I even came to the conclusion that I was bad at math. But I challenged the notion handed to me by someone else -Who for the record could have no clear knowledge about my brain's ability to manage numbers. And guess what...here's my happy ending, I can learn math -hard math. And when I studied algorithms at MIT I knew I had finally unpacked my past, and I was impacting my future.
Remember, the only limits we have are the ones we place on ourselves. Let's unpack those negative beliefs and start living to our full potential.