Whenever you have a dream or something that you want to do or try out, there is a battle of two voices that starts. One voice in your head and the other in your heart. Which one wins? The one that wins will usually be the one that is the loudest or the one that succumbs. I know that I am not the only one that encounters these two voices. They will usually appear when I have an idea or a thought of doing something different or starting something that I have thought off in the past.
The battle begins. The voice from my head will list down all the amazing things that I could do, new things that I could learn and the fantastic impact that I could be making. Then the voice from my heart comes in with its counter points of all the things that could go wrong, fears and doubts, barriers to entry and just how miserably I would fail and fall flat on my face. Which voice wins?
I would say that if I had a counter running, it would be fair to say that the voices of failure and doom from my heart would win hands down. I have allowed those voices to build up into limiting beliefs. Now limiting beliefs can be so embedded into you that before you could even think up a new idea, it would shut it down. The danger of limiting beliefs is that it stops all creativity, innovation and living out your best experiences that you would know that you need because it does not get the chance to start.
It was only the last couple of years, that I had started to address some of my long held limiting beliefs. As a coach, I have helped many clients to face and overcome their own limiting beliefs, but I had not taken a serious look at my own. I am someone who loves to try out new things, change things around and enjoys the learning process. I had deceived myself to think that just because I enjoy all that, I did not have any damaging limiting beliefs. How wrong I was. The damage of my limiting beliefs was that it did not allow me to stretch into areas that I had always considered as “not for me” such as painting. My limiting belief with drawing or painting started when I was in school or more specifically when I failed my art test. Not surprisingly after that I had “labelled” myself as just not artistic and therefore could not draw or paint or have anything to do with creative stuff. For the most part its true, I am no Picasso but then again, I could be just the best Picasso I could be by my standards and if I enjoyed the process all the better.
What I have learned over the course of the last couple of years was that I do enjoy painting and that some of my paintings are pretty good by my standard and I am enjoying the process of learning and just having the freedom to paint whatever. It was an avenue for me to develop an appreciation for colour and nature like I have never done before. My limiting belief was not damaging but it did prevent me enjoying the beauty and complexity of nature. This new found hobby has made the various stages of restrictions during the pandemic bearable and even enjoyable at times.
There are many more examples of how limiting beliefs can damage or limit your growth and learning opportunities. The important step in overcoming them is a simple yet powerful mantra… what is the worst-case scenario? The power of this question will help you overcome the fear mongering voice of your heart and help the voice in your head to gain traction.
What is the worst-case scenario? List down all the scenarios that you can possibly think off. I can safely predict that all those scenarios would fall into one of two categories. The first category is fear based. All the different types of fear from failure to death. The second category is pride based. This is based on self-worth and self-esteem. What would people think of me? I am not good enough and all the self-talk that is centered around you and your being. Regardless of which category your scenario falls into, the heart of the matter is knowing that neither fear nor pride makes you who you are and does not determine your self-worth.
When you have an idea or a dream or something that you are passionate about, not trying it out is truly the hardest path. Not trying is the worst-case scenario because it will be a heavy drag on your life. You will always, at the back of your mind, be wondering, what if. What if I started this or tried that? Those are the moments in life that we will regret most if we don’t give it a go. No one wants to live a life of regret but that will happen if you allow fear of failure or the pride of success stop you. So, don’t let it.
- “What is the Worst-case scenario?”
- Will I regret it if I don’t do it?
- What can I do to overcome some of the barriers?
- What do I know now that tells me that I should try it?
- What are the negatives that I need to overcome?
- What help do I need to make it a reality?
- What would I gain if I did it? What would I lose if I did not?
- What is truly holding me back?
Challenge yourself to just take the first step. It is never as bad as you imagined. Maybe, never as great as you imagined. The difference is you gave it go. Now that is something you can be proud off.