Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless. ~ Paolinetti
Yesterday I shared some amazing statistics about our negative programming and how that programming can limit our business decisions and behaviors. Today – let’s chat about how to shift away from those limitations and into limitless possibilities!
The Power of Reprogramming
The good news is that there are tools and approaches to reprogram all those unproductive beliefs and behaviors. They are simple to use for all of us.
All we have to do is decide that we want to release our limitations. Once we do that – then it’s a matter of focus and persistence.
Following are some steps I use to reprogram beliefs that are holding me back. You can use one or all of them. I can tell you from personal experience – shifting away from the limiting beliefs will create opportunities you never dreamed available, ‘til now.
1) Step into your limiting beliefs. Slow down and become aware of your limiting beliefs or perspectives. How?
Pay attention to the “I can’ts” and “I cans” you tell yourself about you and your business. Whenever you hear a limiting belief or perspective, especially when it’s stated with that feeling of being a known, pause and note the belief. Recognize it and then – every time you hear it in play again within your world, make a note.
- Limiting beliefs may be about yourself. “I can’t be a good leader.” “I’m not smart enough to do that job.” “I’ll never be able to find a job that I love again.” We all know these voices and I think they are the easiest of all to recognize – simply pay attention.
- We also embed limiting beliefs about others, usually based on peer programming. “Harry is slow so don’t expect anything on time.” “Dorothy never follows through so watch her like a hawk.” “Chris lies about his customers all the time so don’t believe that pipeline.” How many times do we put our associates or team members in a box based on someone else’s perceptions, urban legends or a single experience? Our perceptions of others impact how we work and react to them. Others can also sense our negative beliefs about them, so as we project our beliefs – we program even more negative beliefs into their self-perceptions, or trigger defense mechanisms that only make matters worse. And the cycles accelerate.
- Limiting beliefs about our business are part and parcel of corporate cultures. I call them Corporate Legends and they are dangerous to our ongoing success. Legends are created from experiences in business at a single point in time. For example – we enter a new market and fail at meeting our goal. Or we launch a promo to our current customers and get a nice response. That supposed failure and success create business legends. We can’t move into new markets successfully. We must focus on our current customers and market to find success. We then apply that legend into the future and all points in time, even though those experiences are most likely no longer relevant as our markets shift.
2) Counter Your Limitations. Now that you’re aware of those pesky limiting voices and knowns – begin to create your counter perspectives. Use the evidence of your real life to show your unconscious the truth about you and your business.
Let’s say you have a negative voice telling you that you can’t do something. Counter it by finding the evidence that you can, in fact, do that something or something just as important. Find a specific and proven example of your ability to do just what your programmed voices say you can’t. Now focus on that truth. Every time the programmed voice brings up the can’t – counter it with the can evidence – and make it detailed.
- If the voice says, “I can’t be a good leader,” find the evidence to support these counter statements. “I am a good leader. Look at how I succeeded at XYZ. I accomplished A and B and C… and my team was successful and confident with me as their leader.” Even if it’s only ONE MOMENT in time when you were a knockout leader – focus on that. Shift your focus to the counter arguments that open your thinking to more possibilities and simply stop repeating the limiting belief.
- If the voice says “I can only earn $Xs in the economy,” go find evidence to the contrary. There are successful people and earners all around us in today’s world. The media simply doesn’t promote them. Success doesn’t sell. Find others in your world or industries who are doing well and program yourself to follow their lead. “If Mr. So and So can make X$ so can I.” Then look at what those successful folks are dong – and pattern your behaviors after theirs. Mirroring success is a fundamental principle of shifting our perspectives. So get out there and mirror the best.
The same approach goes for the limits we project onto others. For every limited belief you have about a peer, team member or friend – find a positive belief about them and focus on their success. Everyone does some things well – so focus on the counter argument to that negative perception of Dorothy. Then get out there and support Dorothy into that positive result by expecting her to succeed and by telling her you know she can do it. A simple positive belief from someone else can (and will) shift our own beliefs and behaviors. That’s how they came to be part of us in the first place!
This works for your business too. Human instinct pushes us to focus on the problems and faults in everything around us. That’s doubly true in your business. So take some time to list all of the positive results you’ve had, even the small things, and focus on those successes instead of all the problems. Sure, you have to face the issues – but facing them with a positive perception opens you to more innovative and new opportunities and ideas. Just don’t make those successes the blueprint for your future. Our world shifts every day – so yesterday’s success isn’t a good predictor of the “How tos of Success” for tomorrow. Don’t repeat the pattern, but DO recognize that past success IS proof that you can, and have, been successful. And btw – failures are proof of your success too. You failed and kept on going, right? Shift that failure perspective too while you’re at it!
3) Pay Attention and Shift. Strange as it may seem – it really is this simple. If we’re committed to making the shift happen.
Try this for two weeks.
Every day – pay attention to one limiting belief and shift it. If it takes two, three or ten days just keep focusing until you feel yourself begin to see your reality, not your programming. Once you shift a belief – just be ready to go back and shift it again. You’ve carried that limiting pattern in yourself or your corporate culture for a long time. You can shift – but it takes perseverance to reprogram!
The Bottom Line
We’re all programmed; from the moment we’re born, we’re taught to limit ourselves and our lives. It’s well-intended teaching, but limiting just the same.
As humans in business, we apply our limited programming to our corporate cultures, whether the limitation is real or simple perceived.
When we shift away from our programming and into the reality of today’s situation – we are free to see new opportunities, create new approaches and open to all of the possibilities that are around us in our uncertain-yet-filled-with-new-opportunities economy.