You’re a revenue generator. Your company is relying on you. Your team is relying on you. Your family is relying on you. Your customers are relying on you. But who or what are you relying on?
A quick litmus test of market conditions gives a strong indication that you’d better not be relying on the market to make things easier for you. Are you relying on your company for leads? That’s cute. Maybe you’re relying on “that big deal” to close. Maybe on the latest sales gimmick or marketing magic. How is that working?
Winners rely on something different than non-winners. They rely on themselves to do the work. This is not an arrogant, over-self-reliance, aka, “The totally self-made man/woman.” Top achievers have the mindset that, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” The problem we face with the “I can do it!” message is there is quite possibly part of you that doesn’t believe it, and it’s the part where your beliefs reside — your brain. Whether you can or you can’t will, in large part, depend on your beliefs, because your beliefs drive your actions. Your beliefs are at the heart of the “one thing you can rely on.” Believe you can’t, and you won’t. Believe you have what it takes, and you do — or you will after perseverance and sweating through the effort.
“Hey, Brad,” you say. “I know all this ‘positive attitude’ stuff and it sounds great but I haven’t seen the success I want. What’s the deal?” I get it. I truly do. I’ve been there. Read all the books. Gone to the seminars. Listened to the tapes and subscribed to the blogs. I dug in, hunkered down, stayed focused, played the affirmations and still didn’t see the breakthrough I was promised. I gave up. And then I dove back in, looking for whatever it was I was missing. I decided that there was no quitting. And along came a friend who planted a seed — a seed that grew and ultimately revealed the answer. Not some esoteric, “go to the mountains and meditate” thing or “spend $20k to sit at the feet of some master” thing. This was an answer that is easy for anyone to understand (otherwise I never would have). It’s an answer that is based in science, research and study — a study of “self-limiting beliefs.”
What are self-limiting beliefs? Any belief that holds you back from the success you desire and are willing to work to obtain. Notice that these are beliefs, they are NOT facts. Beliefs are: “I will never achieve … I am too old to … I can’t … I am too ____ to ever ___.” Facts are facts: “I am not going to be a NBA superstar.” That’s a fact for several reasons. I lack the required skill and I have zero desire to put forth the effort to even try. Given these facts (no skill and no desire), any belief that I would have about being a top NBA star isn’t a belief, it’s a delusion. Do I have beliefs that can’t be backed by facts? Probably. But in this article, we are looking not at general beliefs but specifically at self-limiting beliefs.
Each day, many times a day, we choose between inspiring, affirming beliefs and self-limiting beliefs (or we just roll with old, false beliefs). We choose to look toward the future or remain anchored to the past, to a set of past beliefs that were not necessarily ever true in the past and certainly don’t need to be true in the future. Richard Bach said, “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” In other words, spend time telling yourself you can’t, and you won’t.
Perhaps you have heard of the “Bannister Effect.” A common myth holds that prior to 1954, it was a widely-held belief that it was impossible for a human being to run a mile in less than four minutes. I apologize for ruining a great story with facts, but there appears to be little to no evidence that this “widely-held belief” existed. Roger Bannister certainly didn’t have this belief. He believed that he could indeed run a sub-four-minute mile, and he put forth the effort to do exactly that. Further, he intentionally chose a specific day with its specific weather conditions to make his attempt. Shortly after his success, others quickly began running sub-four-minute miles. Bannister himself indicated that if he hadn’t done it, soon someone else would have.
In an article about beliefs and self-limiting beliefs, why do I ruin what has been one of the most often-told examples of limiting beliefs? Because the importance of this story is not what others believed, it is what Bannister believed, combined with the knowledge that there was no factual basis for believing a sub-four-minute mile could not be run. He believed he could do it and then he worked like crazy to do it. His belief led to actions that pushed him forward versus beliefs that could hold him back (limiting). He focused on what was under his control, his thoughts and his efforts instead of what others did or did not believe.
There can be any number of self-limiting beliefs and you will need to take time to come up with those that you own. For some generic ideas that may come up within the sales profession, here are a few that are heard with frequency:
• Our leads are never any good.
• Cold calling is nothing but a waste of time.
• I never get through to the right person.
• It takes me 10 tries before I ever reach someone.
• I will never be top rep.
• I’m too ____ to ever _____.
Beliefs become decisions. Here’s what Matthew B. James, Ph.D., says in Psychology Today about those decisions: “However they come to us, these limiting decisions run our lives and they prevent us from becoming who we wish to become.” Let’s look at those beliefs above and see the resulting actions.
• SLB: Our leads are never any good. Action: I won’t try.
• SLB: Cold calling is nothing but a waste of time. Action: I won’t try.
• SLB: I never get through to the right person. Action: I will give up.
• SLB: It takes me 10 tries before I ever reach someone. Action: I have already given up.
• SLB: I will never be top rep. Action. No reason to try or struggle.
I highly doubt that if Bannister were in sales, he would have said, “These leads suck. Nobody ever closes these.” He would more likely have said, “I am thankful that someone has provided me with some contacts to help speed the process. The result is up to me. Time to contact them.”
Harvard University professor Ellen Langer puts it this way: “When you think ‘I know’ and ‘it is,’ you have the illusion of knowing and the illusion of certainty.” If you are going to tell yourself something that your brain begins to accept as “knowledge and certainty,” why not create new beliefs that propel you forward instead of holding you back?
If there is anything that you will need to rely on, anything that you can rely on, anything that you have to rely on, it’s your beliefs. They either serve you or you serve them. Beliefs either draw closer and closer to your ultimate success or push you further and further away. What beliefs do you need to change today? What facts can you replace them with? Facts like, “I will work hard enough and persevere long enough to succeed.”
Let’s kick off a season of killing self-limiting beliefs!
Contributor: Brad Roderick, TonerCycle/InkCycle, www.inkcycle.com
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of The Imaging Channel.
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