Do you engage in procrastination or other self sabotaging behavior? I think we all do from time-to-time. What's interesting is that this limiting behavior can be traced all the way back to the day we were born.
That's right; did you know that we are born with millions of neurons that don't know what to do? A neuron is a cell that, in combination with neurotransmitters, processes and transmits information to your body and mind. When we are born we have millions of these little guys just waiting for a job and our environment is responsible for assigning those jobs.
As we learn to respond to pleasant things, like music and touch, these neurons are 'programmed'. The downside is that as we are exposed to negativity in our environment, neurons are programmed to send negative messages to the brain and body, and those messages create limiting beliefs that we often carry with us into adulthood.
You don't have to come from an abusive childhood to experience this programming; innocuous comments from parents, teachers, playmates and others are often translated into negative beliefs and can hinder our ability to achieve (and enjoy) the things that are important to us. We hold tight to this programming and carry it into everything we do – including our business. For example, I hear brilliant business owners make comments like, 'I'm not smart enough' or 'I would have to work too hard to become successful.' I've even heard hard-working, intelligent, ethical individuals say that they don't deserve success. All of these beliefs come from life experiences upon which we build a pyramid of negative and limiting beliefs.
This is where self-sabotage begins. If we believe at a conscious or subconscious level that we don't deserve to succeed or we don't have what it takes, the subconscious mind will do everything within its power to help support that limiting belief. Does that mean that we can't eradicate this programming? Absolutely not. The first step is to recognize your self-sabotaging behavior; sometimes that's enough to create change. But oftentimes our beliefs are engrained so deep that we need support in changing to healthy thought-patterns. I subscribe to the energy psychology approach to create significant change and positive thought patterns, specifically the Emotional Freedom Techniques. Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Hypnosis and EMDR are also among the most popular methods. But again, the first step is to explore your mind and discover your limiting belief systems.
Exploring Your Beliefs –Procrastination is a sure sign of self-sabotage brought on by limiting beliefs. Do you find yourself putting off activities that could contribute to the growth of your business? When you ask yourself that question you may immediately come to your own defense by saying something along the lines of, 'but I don't have time to make those sales calls, it's just me!' I assure you, if you believe in yourself and you desire success at the subconscious level you would put your creative thinking to use and find a way to make the time.
During the exploration process, some other significant questions to ask yourself are:
What are the potentially NEGATIVE consequences of achieving success?
Who would I have to please if I become successful?
How would I change if I achieved success and wealth?
What would I lose?
What else would change?
What are the things I would have to do to succeed and how do I feel about doing them?
In a recent article, we discussed the power of mind mapping for your business planning. Try putting the same process to use to explore your limiting beliefs and fears around growing your business. This can be a very powerful experience. And remember, everyone – absolutely everyone - experiences the pull of nagging, limiting thoughts. What sets people apart is the ability to transform those thoughts to beliefs that support them in their growth. We all have that ability, the first step is to recognize that you are holding yourself back and to decide that it's time to change. You can do it!
How have you overcome your self-proclaimed limitations? What tools, methods and support systems work for you?
NOTE: Please know that I present this information as a life coach who has interest and experience in dealing with this topic, not as a mental health professional.
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka