You Are Much More Than You Think You Are…
but maybe you’re choosing to live as though you were even less!
Our words shape our beliefs, and our beliefs affect our behaviours. If you believe that you are:
- ‘Just a mum’
- ‘Not good with money’
- ‘Bad at communicating your desires’
- ‘No good at selling’
- ‘Unable to sustain a successful relationship’
- ‘Just another…’ [accountant, photographer, business coach, web developer, surgeon…]
… then that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in terms of how you see yourself, and how you project yourself to others. The words you use to describe yourself reinforce that projection every time you speak them.
It’s a chicken and egg relationship. Your beliefs affect your outcomes and your outcomes influence your beliefs and you can either let yourself get trapped in that cycle or you can choose to step out of the cycle and evolve into your best self.
Defining Who and What You Aspire to be
You are in the process of becoming what you aspire to be and that raises two questions:
- Are your aspirations challenging you to be, do, and have more than you currently are? and
- Is there more that you could aspire to?
This is not about creating discontent and dissatisfaction with your life per se. It’s about challenging yourself to lift your vision and live into your potential rather than being trapped by your current circumstances and beliefs. It’s about the reality that whatever you think you are in this moment, you are more than that.
You’ve heard the stories about the amazing feats of endurance, strength, and heroism people perform in moments of urgency. These are all feats that they would never have imagined themselves capable of, but which emerged under pressure. Equally inspiring are the parents and carers who watch the suffering of a child and tirelessly minister to their needs beyond the point of physical or emotional endurance. If asked in advance, most of them would say, “I could never do that.” Yet they do because in the moment they expand their image of themselves.
You don’t have to wait for a crisis to initiate this process of growth, you simply have to make the decision that you are ready to change. My mum demonstrated this possibility thinking once she realised how her language and beliefs were keeping her trapped in her reality.
She used to frame her defeat in words like, “I worked so hard, and look at what I’ve ended up with! I’m just no good with [whatever the specific area of defeat might be].”
Once she realised what she was doing to herself she changed both her words and her thinking to reflect the possibilities in her life.
You Are Much More Than You Think You Are!
Mum had shut off the idea that she could be good at numbers and make enough money to do more than pay the bills in primary school and, of course, money has to do with numbers. Every time she talked to herself she cemented the belief that she “just wasn’t good with numbers.” That belief system was cemented into her behaviour and overflowed into her business and finances.
Maybe for you it isn’t numbers and money, but I’d be willing to bet that you have some beliefs about yourself that are stopping you from taking the actions needed to be the person you want to be and do the things you want to do. In my NLP Master Practitioner trainings we do an exercise based on the principle of “re-identification”. It’s a transformative exercise that helps students think about the:
- Words they use to describe themselves and their abilities,
- Way those words and phrases affect their actions and decisions,
- New words and phrases that describe the person they want to be.
All the students who fully engage in this process notice changes almost immediately in their choices and behaviours which positively affect their results.
If you’ve decided that you’re not good at something or that you have limitations that keep you from achieving your goals, then that decision becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. At the same time, when you change those beliefs you open up new opportunities and outcomes.
By opening yourself up to the possibility that you could do or be something and change the language you use around that possibility you can make choices that will turn that possibility into living truth. The biggest difference between the prosperous business owner (successful parent, author, speaker, athlete, …) and the wannabe is not talent or luck. It’s the choices they made along the way about how they behaved and who they were.
Act as if…
Take a moment to think about WHO you want to be, WHAT you want to have, and HOW you want to behave then CHOOSE the words you use to describe this, words that focus on your aspirations, so that you are open to new possibilities.
My Mum worked hard to change the language she used from the constraint-focus of: “I’ll never be…” to the possibility-focused “I’m in the process of becoming…” or “I’m stepping into…” Using this principle, she would ‘act as if’ she were already the person she wanted to become.
The words you use when you speak to yourself matter as much as, or even more than, the words you use when you speak to other people because you spend much more time speaking to yourself than you do to others. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) acknowledges the reality of the connection between the wiring of our brain and the language that shapes that wiring.
No matter who you think you are, you are far more than you think… so let the words you use to describe the person you are reflect the truth that you are constantly becoming more and opening up new horizons of being and doing.