"Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right." ~Henry Ford
When I was a child my Dad would often say to me ‘there's no such word as can't’ when I said I could not do something. At the time I did not really understand what he meant and thought that he was simply correcting my grammar, in that I should be saying 'cannot'. It was only when I got older that I fully understood what he meant...
Your thoughts determine how you react to things
Our thoughts determine how we react to things and quite often we have faults in our thinking that lead us to have self limiting beliefs, believing we cannot do something.
Because we have these self limiting beliefs, it can make us act in ways that we do not want to and can stop us from achieving what it is that we really want to do.
I work with many women in their forties who are in their mid-life career who are unhappy at work but lack the confidence to make a career change. Once they identify their self limiting beliefs and address them, they are then confident to pursue a career that they love.
Up to a few years ago, I believed that I could not get up on a stage and address a large crowd of people. I thought that I would stumble my words or that I would not speak clearly and confidently, making a fool of myself.
However, these fears were put to bed when a few years ago, having been invited to speak at an event, I got up on stage and addressed 800 plus people. I found that although nervous, I actually enjoyed the experience. The audience engaged with what I was saying and applauded when I finished. They even laughed at the humour I injected.
Impact on your career
When you have self limiting beliefs about what you can (or cannot) do, it can prevent you from going for the things that you really want to do. It can limit your career progression and stop you from stepping out and striving for the career or business that you desire.
It can make you fearful, lacking in confidence and afraid to step out of your comfort zone. The affects of this can be emotionally draining, not to mention financially if you are failing to do the career or set up the kind of business that commands the income you desire.
In a survey I conducted of 133 women aged between 40 and 60, 78% of women said fear prevented them pursuing the career of their dreams.
You can achieve far more than you think you are capable of...
We can achieve far more than we think we are capable of if we put our mind to do it and correct the faults in our thinking.
What is it that you want to do but think that you do not have the confidence or courage to do? What is causing you to think that you cannot do it? Where do these thoughts come from? Is it from a distorted view of a previous experience?
Is it because you are worried what people will think of you? If there have been previous situations where you have been able to do something similar to what it is that you feel you cannot now do, what was different back then to what it is now?
Sometimes our self limiting beliefs can come from our most worrying view of a situation. The consequences of this belief can affect us emotionally (e.g. anxiety, under performance etc.) and physically (e.g. tension headaches, irritation with those around us etc.).
Overcoming self defeating beliefs
What we can do to overcome these self defeating beliefs is to look at where they come from. Is the belief realistic and where is the evidence to support this? Does this belief help you? Does this belief make sense?
Our most worrying view of a situation does not cause the consequence (although it does contribute to it), it is our belief that mainly determines the consequences.
If we can change our belief about what we cannot do it will make us feel more confident to do it. Some people consistently think in a way that limits their self belief e.g. only looking at the negative aspects of a situation or assuming that the worst will happen.
Identifying the faults in our thinking and substituting them with more enhancing thoughts will allow us to change our beliefs about what we can do. For example, as previously mentioned, a few years ago, I believed that I could not get up on stage and speak in front of hundreds of people.
This belief did not come from any negative previous experience I had been through. Without realising it, I had chosen to focus on the negative aspects of what could possibly happen and in doing so was of the belief that I could not do it.
However, by replacing my unhelpful thoughts with thoughts that were more helpful and representative of the situation, e.g. the audience did not even know me so why would they think this way about me. Plus, I had never spoken in front of so many people before so there was no evidence to support the way I was thinking. So what if I stumbled my words, I could just carry on speaking. I had spoken to groups of people before and not made a fool of myself so why should it be any different just because there were hundreds more people there.
My challenge to you
What are you holding back on doing because you think you cannot do it or lack the confidence? What are you going to do to develop more productive thoughts and behaviours and in doing so, do the things you currently think you cannot do?
In order to end 2013 with a more rational outlook about your situation I am running The 30 Day Mind Cleanse - (preparing to pursue your passion at mid-life) from 1 November 2013 on Facebook for 30 days. This is free for you to take part in.
Each day I will post in The 30 Day Mind Cleanse Facebook group a challenge that will help you to cleanse your mind of the thoughts that prevent you from going for the things you really want and achieving the success you desire. Join The 30 Day Mind Cleanse at https://www.facebook.com/groups/the30daymindcleanse/
Download the free ebook 5 Steps to Pursuing Your Passion At Mid Life - a guide to designing a career you love here
You can read further blog posts here