Dr. Christine Senn, PhD
Free Your Mind
New Year, New You! What?! Why would I even say that?! First of all, it's not January, but secondly, that saying really implies that there's something completely wrong with you. Would you ever go up to someone you love and say, “You're fine – kind of. You really need to be a completely new you. Like, you should just change all of it.” No, you wouldn't. It’s a terrible saying in my personal opinion. So, what I want to talk about is not setting goals – I'm not the biggest proponent of that, because they have such a history of making people feel like failures; not that I'm totally against them, but there's a place for them if you do them right – but I want to talk about limiting beliefs.
There is a good time each year to consider your growth. (I do it around my birthday, not around the beginning of the new year.) Around my birthday, I think “What is holding me back?” It's not that I'm not doing great. You're doing great. Look at where you are in life! You're doing phenomenally well. But things could always be better, and there could be ways that you’re holding yourself back. That's what I want to talk about. It’s to explore the idea of asking yourself the question; really, truly taking some time just to yourself to think, “What is a thought that I have that is holding me back?” And sometimes what you have to do is just remind yourself routinely, for about a week, to write down some of your beliefs.
So, something might come up and you feel, I don't know, “Why didn't they let me talk in that meeting? Why would that be?” And you have this pain point at that moment. Then you have to start thinking about it: Is it a belief you have? Like you think what you have to say isn't important. So, in meetings, you're actually displaying behaviors that make it such that people don't tend to listen to you. It could be that you speak too quietly and they don't hear you, because that's really a problem on some of these virtual meetings. It could be that you couch things with, “I don't know if you're interested in my opinion,” or, “I don't know if I should say this,” or, “This might be a stupid question.” Who knows what it is. But where do you have a belief that makes this pain point more likely to happen? You can take radical responsibility for anything that causes you pain in life. That doesn't mean that you are responsible for literally everything. You can't help it if you work with a bully, for example, who just railroads everyone. But in that case, they’re railroading everyone. What you can do is figure out how you can be better.
An example might be also that you're afraid of public speaking. We've talked before about some beliefs you might have there that could be leading to that. For example, you actually might have so many wonderful things to say, but you're too focused on yourself and so you're pulling back. But what else? That's all I'm imploring you to do, is think, “What belief do you have that holds you back?” And I think you could find this to be a very interesting exercise. Just try not to work on too many things at once.
If you could maybe think of 3 beliefs that you find cause you pain, write them out and maybe write out some other belief that you could try for instead. There is a great podcast called “Unf*ck Your Brain” with Kara Loewentheil, and she talks about that if you have a very negative belief or limiting belief, don't try to think the opposite. So, if my limiting belief is “No one wants to hear me present,” then I can't really go to “Everyone wants to hear me present.” That's never going to be true for anybody. Even the most famous people in the world like Tony Robbins, who is an internationally renowned speaker – there are a lot of people who don't want to hear him talk. So that opposite belief is not true and your brain will reject it. Of course not everyone wants to hear you talk! And that's okay. But a reasonable belief is “I have something valuable say, and I look forward to learning how to present it,” or “I have something interesting to say and enough people want to hear my message that I should try for it.” So think of really realistic conversations you can have with yourself about your new beliefs so that they are something your mind won't reject. Because I know when I've had goals before I’ve been told to visualize “you look exactly like this,” or “you are exactly like this,” or “you're this rich.” I think, you know, you look at your bank account and go, “But I'm not that rich.” And your mind is telling you that you're not. So what's a reasonable thing? It's, “I will do (blank) this year to get myself in a position where I can make this much more money next year,” or “by the end of this year,” or whatever.
I hope this challenges you to do something really fun, because thinking about how to have the best strategy for your life and your own mind is, I think, the key to success – or at least one of them. Take care!
Podcast: “Unf*ck Your Brain” with Kara Loewentheil – https://unfuckyourbrain.com/podcasts/