One of the biggest obstacles to accomplishing goals we set for ourselves is overcoming the limiting beliefs we hold. Here’s the math. It’s all about vectors and force. We are trying to get from point A to point B. We set an intention or a goal. We start where we are now(point A) and we begin going for our goal (point B). We have a plan. We know all the techniques for making it a strong vision full of detail. We imagine it coming true. We see the end state in perfect clarity. We have laid out the steps to get it done. That’s all very affirmative and conscious. There is a force (F1) propelling us like a vector from point A toward point B. Fast forward a few days, weeks, months, years along the timeline and we have either stopped short of the goal or land somewhere in the general direction but not quite at the goal. Maybe we set out to be novelists and we ended up working in publishing. We’re in the general arena, but we never completed a novel or got published. We went in the direction but didn’t hit the target. Maybe we set out to be engineers and ended up running a car dealership. Less directly obvious the connection but maybe that’s OK. We’re generally happy, making our way, just didn’t get where we thought we were headed. Maybe we have a shorter term goal like an exercise program or a craft project or a vacation to plan or party to throw. One major reason that we start out so strong from point A to point B and end up eventually at point C is that in addition to all our conscious plan we have unconscious beliefs, feelings doubts and self images that sabotage us.
When I was in my twenties I worked in the broadcast television industry as a technical director, audio/video tech, cameraman, editor and engineer at a small TV station in a small town in New York. I wanted to eventually direct for TV and/or movies. I had a good eye, good technical skills and a decent ego. I could see myself in a few years working my way up through the ranks and making the move to the big time. A straight line to my goal might have looked like this.
What I also had running consciously to some extent and unconsciously were limiting beliefs such as ‘There’s so much competition’, ‘Maybe I’m not as talented as I think’, ‘It takes so long to work my way up the ladder’, ‘I’m here in this little market, from here I’d have to go to Toledo, and then maybe Baltimore and then Dallas and maybe eventually make it to NY or LA’,’the hours are so long and I’d never be guaranteed an income if I go the freelance production route’. So I ended up packing my bags and moving to NY and getting jobs in my field;production assistant and a radio commercial production studio then transmitter engineer/video editor at a Long Island TV station) but I was unsatisfied and ultimately left the industry. So my final vector looked more like this.
In the direction of the original goal but far short and a little off course.
Sometimes our limiting beliefs actually exert a force in the exact opposite of our goals and make it look like we can’t get started or we keep stopping before we make any progress. If that’s the case we need to use a technique called reframing to turn the negatives into positives.
I learned about reframing by studying Neuro-Linguistics sometimes referred to as NLP, developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler. Here a wiki link. Although there are deep process in Cognitive Therapy based on these concepts, I am look at a the surface phenomena of self talk and limiting beliefs.
Here’s an example. I have started my own business, a training and consulting company. I want to make a financial success and I want to reach people who want and need my services. But I have an aversion to selling. I believe it’s pushy and unseemly. I believe that sales people only care about the money and not about the customer. They’ll say anything or do anything to close the deal. They are unethical at the core. No wonder I don’t want to put effort into selling and marketing my business. Now I have to reframe this belief. What reference points do I have to change the image of connecting to people who have a need and solving that need in a manner that is ethical and mutually beneficial. Two quick images come to mind, one is of the therapist or even clergy person who is helping others solve their problems. A second is the smiling customer service rep or even the concierge at an ultra luxury hotel. I also fall back to the notion that communication is something I define as ‘for common action’. A win/win proposition. So I reframe my image of marketing my business to a process of communicating the value of what I offer in a manner that allows me to find and assist people with a specific need for which my skills and experience are a kind of healing modality. I am being of service, my clients are getting solutions to their very real problems and we are both benefiting. If I don’t market and sell my business, I am actually withholding and hurting others. I have reframed Sales to Client Engagement.