Following on from my recent posts on Self-Limiting Beliefs (Part1, Part2), I’ve paid much more attention to the language people use around me to watch for self-limiting beliefs or self-restricting words that serve to embed these hindering thoughts as ‘facts’ in our subconscious – Personal barriers to success!
How often have you thought about a new goal for yourself, only for your subconscious, your inner dialogue, to give you 10 reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t do it and if you did do it why you would fail in achieving that goal? The first of the Why Nots!
I recently was talking with a highly competent individual who felt completely stuck in their current role. When asked what they were doing about finding another job, I was immediately faced with a whole host of reasons why not:
1. I’ve worked there too long and wouldn’t be able to find the right job
2. Other employers wouldn’t be as flexible with my working hours
3. Other employers wouldn’t pay me as much as I get at the moment
4. Nobody is recruiting for roles with my skills
You get the picture. When asked whether they had looked into the job market locally or spoken to any prospective employers the answer was no. By having the reasons ‘Why Not’ already in their mind, the possibility of finding another role couldn’t even be there. That very evening, following our conversation, that person found a job that crossed off the ‘Why Not’ reasons! Opening up the possibility led to action and potentially a different outcome. Whether the person gets an interview or not, is not that relevant to the point I’m trying to make. It opened that door and others to future possibilities by taking away the reasons not to do something.
So, how do you change your mind-set from finding reasons not to do something into reasons and belief in yourself to take positive action – The second, but more positive ‘Why Not?’ – 5 easy steps – STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, PLAN, ACT
Recognise when your inner dialogue is starting to list reasons why you can’t do something, and STOP yourself in your tracks. This is not as easy as it sounds, but gets easier with practice.
Look into the reasons why you are putting barriers in front of what you are trying to achieve. Have you got any evidence as to why you can’t do you what you want to achieve or are the usual sel-limiting beliefs that you know you have rearing their head?
Try and clear your head of all the clutter and noise and focus on possibilities. Don’t shut anything out at this stage. If there were no reasons ‘Why Not’ to do something, what could the possibilities be? Try and think of all ways to achieve your goal, some might feel outlandish, but don’t discount them at this stage. Write them down – try to get at least 20 possibilities!
Now you’ve got your long list of possibilities. Now is the time to narrow them down to a short list of SMART goals that contribute to your ultimate goal.By SMART, I mean:
S – specific, significant, stretching
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, timely, tangible, trackable
I find it best to prioritise these types of goals from the easiest to the hardest, which goes against some management wisdom. Why? Well our subconscious doesn’t seem to be able to qualify small success from huge success particularly well. So by getting some quick, small wins against our ultimate goal, we immediately start feeling better about our ability to achieve it. The more belief we get in ourselves, the more likely our success!
5. Act and Act Now!
Stick to your action plan, act and act now. This is often the hardest part for people suffering from ‘Why Not’ Syndrome. By acting quickly and getting one of your first goals completed quickly, you’re setting yourself up to succeed and preventing yourself from coming up with more reasons why not!
Let me know how you get on with: STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, PLAN and ACT