Imagine John. He is a bubbly three-year old who aims to be a pirate. He knows no fears, he loves what he does, he is open-minded, he speaks fearlessly from the heart, and he does what brings him happiness. Time flies.
One day John wakes up. He discovers that in addition to what his heart and his souls tells him to do he has to obey some more voices. The voices of the rule-makers. Who are these rule-makers? Why there are so many. His parents. His teachers. His friends. Many other authoritative figures.
Very respectable authoritative figures.
People with many years of experience and insight.
They all can’t be wrong, right?
So John listens to them and in his efforts to imbibe their learning and to please them and to look good in their eyes, he slowly forgets the call of his heart. Without his knowledge, the rules that he forms become so deeply ingrained in his sub-conscious mind that over a period of time, most of his thoughts, behaviour, reactions and decisions are governed by these sub-conscious rules that he has set for himself. Time flies.
John grows up. He is twenty five. He no longer wants to be a pirate. Not because being a pirate is not an ethical and sustainable reason. I wish that were the reason. No, John doesn’t want to be a pirate because it sounds stupid and John has forgotten how to be stupid and foolish and hungry… because he has been too busy being sensible and careful and abstemious.
No adventure. No risk.
John wants to be a marketing manager.
There is nothing wrong with being a marketing manager.
Except that, in truth, John will be as successful as a marketing manager as a fish will be successful in trying to ride a bicyce.
John’s heart is in language. He will make an excellent journalist, storyteller and teacher.
But he will never know this.
Because he has stopped listening to the voice of his heart.
So at 25, John is, technically, already dead.
Here’s the question: Who killed John?
No one. John killed himself.
How did that happen?
Along the way, as part of growing up, John developed a belief system that is inauthentic and disempowering.
Inauthentic because it does not speak to his talent and his temperament but to the talent and temperament that someone else thinks he has or should have.
Disempowering because his beliefs are not based on creating value, they are based on minimizing failure.
All of us have our belief systems or rule books. And like John, they get scripted early in life when our minds are malleable and our values are still WIP.
Many times we don’t think deeply about the basis of the choices we make, and the decisions we take. We don’t pause to consider that we do what we do not because of a story we have written and truly believe in but because of a story lodged inside our head by an institution.
And all institutions have one aim – to homogenize.
The deviation is ugly.
But it is our deviations that make us unique, special and that carry the seeds of our success.
Our life is defined by our choices, our stories and these are driven by our beliefs – and we owe it to ourselves to pay attention to and nurture our ‘deviations’, those things that form the raw material of our very own, unique, authentic, empowering STORY.
Here are a list of conscious or sub-conscious beliefs that we may have that can ruin our success. These beliefs killed John. And these can kill the real you.
Given below are 10 beliefs that you may have, that could be sabotaging your happiness, your progress and your success.
1. Having different views is abnormal.
2. People don’t like people who don’t fit in or who think differently.
3. Only extra-ordinarily talented people succeed. I am ordinary.
4. If I fail, I will face rejection from the people who love me.
5. It is important to be liked by all. So, it is important to please people.
6. We need to wait for the perfect time to start a new initiative. There is no perfect time to start things. Anytime you start is perfect. Start now.
7. Everything has to go per plan, otherwise there is something wrong with me, or the process. Life need not be perfect. The outcome of our initiatives need not be perfect. They can turn out to be less than perfect. Expecting perfection kills initiatives. . Life is not like a train going on a railway track with fixed path. We need to be flexible to adapt to changes in between.
8. If I say ‘no’, people will be unhappy always.
9. Failure is not acceptable. Failure is acceptable. It is the learnings that we need to remember so that we don’t repeat the mistakes committed earlier. Success is not the only end result of every initiative we take.
10. Taking risks is dangerous and not acceptable.
11. Only toppers get what they want.
12. I have to spend time with people, even if I don’t like their company.
13. Successful people are rich.
There could be many more beliefs like that can disempower the person.
Question you beliefs. And from time to time make an assessment of what’s the motivation behind your choices. Overhaul your beliefs. Don’t let your beliefs and negative thoughts sabotage your success and happiness.
About the Author:
Sandhya Reddy is a leadership & transformation coach based in Bangalore, India. She is the Founder and Principal Coach at Chapter Two Coaching, a coaching consultancy that enables everyone from CEOs to work-from-home parents to achieve their goals by replacing self-imposed limitations with enabling stories.
Many of us in our thirties experience a disquieting realization: what brought us to middle-management may not take us to senior-management. This is true. To chart a new career path, one needs to think and do things differently. This is where Sandhya can help. She is a coach. Life coaching, executive coaching, business coaching, personality development, leadership coaching… they are all part of her forte. Her Executive coaching programs helps tomorrow’s leaders set new goals, make new plans to achieve those goals, get that elusive promotion through a blend of knowledge, action and image-building, enhance influence among the leadership team, be more productive, get more out of one’s team, and be known in the company as an indispensable performer and future leader.