Do you remember in grade school and perhaps high school, when school was about to break for the summer, you were given a list of books to read? I don’t know about you, but as a kid who wasn’t a stellar student by any measure, the LAST thing I wanted to do over the summer break was read.
When I was 11 or 12 years old, I remember our family vacation in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York, to a beautiful place called Lake George. This trip was a family tradition, particularly since the place is actually where my parents met! (Which is a very interesting story for another time.)
This vacation was for two weeks in early August. Back then, living in the Northeast, school generally finished in mid-June and resumed after Labor Day. I had been assigned 5 or 6 books to read over the summer and I hadn’t even begun the first one!
Somehow I had kept this news from my parents, until the day before we left. Needless to say, my Mom wasn’t very happy. Consequently, each day of vacation—on a lake with the freedom to play outside and swim all day with only a limited check-in with my parents (in the late 60s, this was the norm), my procrastination resulted in a significant crimp on that freedom.
I got through the vacation and the reading, and I may have learned a lesson or two.
Growing up, I never really enjoyed reading, so I tended to avoid it when I could. This created a belief that reading was not a valuable way to learn and grow. That belief carried through and went unchecked in my life for many years – probably until my late 30s.
Thankfully, I was able to identify this belief as one that no longer served me as someone who desired to learn, grow, and become a strong leader and influencer in my corporate career. Now, I typically read about 15 books each year on topics of leadership and human behavior. And, I really enjoy reading!
Like my former distaste of reading, we all have limiting beliefs that may have been a part of our thinking since we were little children. As adults, these beliefs still remain in our unconscious minds and often we have developed very strong habits of response to ideas and thinking that are contrary to our beliefs.
These responses create all kinds of internal alarm bells and cause us to reject ideas and new thinking that would help us produce different outcomes for our reoccurring problems. The result is we continue to do the things we have done, achieving the same results, even though we would like to improve. The incredible power of our limiting beliefs – those beliefs that no longer serve us – cannot be underestimated.
In the coaching work I do with my leadership clients, this topic of limiting beliefs always comes up at some point, because we all have them. Yet, as the psychologist Carl Jung famously said, “Until we make the unconscious conscious, it will rule our lives and we will call it fate.”
The process of exposing our limiting beliefs is the process of making the unconscious conscious. It brings to the surface the beliefs we hold onto which influence how we feel, think, act, and ultimately determine the results we achieve.
If you know deep down you can achieve better or higher or stronger results than you are presently achieving, I invite you to go through a process of examining just a couple of the limiting beliefs that are actually holding you back from performing at a higher level. If you haven’t done this exercise before, you likely will not be able to do it alone. You will need a guide, someone who knows how to ask you the right questions to help open up your thinking.
If you or someone you know in a leadership role is serious about taking this step, let me know. If I can’t help, I can find someone who can.
As you may know, as an Executive Director with the John Maxwell Team, I have access to dozens of qualified coaches in all parts of the country (and the world for that matter) who are carefully trained in the Maxwell Method of Coaching.
Additionally, I can bring this Maxwell Method of Coaching into your company so other managers and leaders can develop this skill.
I hope you will let me know how I can be of service to you.
PS. I’d really be interested in any leadership or human behavior books on your summer reading list for this summer. If you don’t have a list, let me know and I can recommend a book or two that will help you grow your leadership capabilities.