A mentor of mine once provided me with this powerful metaphor.
A man jumps into his canoe and begins to paddle toward the other side of the lake. After a little while he realizes he’s not going anywhere.
So he begins to paddle more forcefully, digging into each stroke, expecting that the rise in intensity will move him more rapidly.
But nothing changes.
So he begins to pick up his pace, turning over each stroke faster and faster, again, believing that with the increased rate, he would see a real change.
But nothing seems to change his progress, he remains the same distance from the opposite shoreline.
Perplexed, he looks behind him, only to realize that in his haste to get to the other side, he had forgotten to release the rope that held his canoe fastened to the dock!
The rope and his lack of recognition of its constraint on his boat is the metaphor for not recognizing or acknowledging his limiting beliefs.
In the many years I’ve spent helping some of the best athletes in the world achieve their objectives, I’ve noticed that the one thing that is most often in their way is not their opponent, but their own limiting beliefs.
Your mindset and the limiting beliefs you hold near to you are most often the things that stop you from achieving the things that matter.
No one is immune to this reality.
If you don’t recognize these limiting beliefs are there, constantly defining your perception and experiences, you are literally remaining unknowingly constrained by the rope.
Like most people, you likely have these “characters” inside you that are always talking to you and telling you what is and is not possible. Telling you that you aren’t good enough to make something you want to accomplish actually happen.
The best thing you can do to allow yourself to thrive instead of survive in this world is to take the time to identify your limiting beliefs, accept that you have them, and become more aware of when they are stopping you from reaching new heights.
Acceptance that you have limiting beliefs is the first step.
If you’re shaking your head and saying something like, “Nothing is getting in my way, I’m fine.” Then you are either not being truthful, or you’ve done a lot of personal development work already, and you likely stopped reading a while ago.
So, I’m going to assume you are the prior, and you can keep telling yourself that story, but just realize that your language, what you say to yourself every day, is what you come to believe as the truth.
Becoming more aware of your internal narrative, and what you keep telling yourself is an essential element in moving to a more serving language. An internal dialogue that inspires you rather than holds you back.
How do you become more aware you might ask?
Journal daily, at least once a day, and in that journal, listen to your inner voice and write down the things you continue to tell yourself.
Don’t like writing in a journal?
Then voice record it.
Listen to those negative conversations that you wouldn’t have with someone you love, but you will have no trouble saying to yourself.
As you become more aware of those conversations, you can start to name those “characters” in your daily conversations.
Characters like Judging Jerry or Judy who likes to come out and judge everything you do (oh, that was so stupid, how could you do that, why did it take you so long, why did you eat that? Etc, etc.). Or Comparative Carl or Karen who loves to come out when you see others doing well, or better than you!
As you become more aware of these characters, you will begin to realize how often they are in your life, and you can begin to shut them down. When you hear them start to talk, you can use strategies to re-direct your conversations and trigger more productive thoughts.
One such strategy is to take a moment and breathe. When you hear these conversations ramping up, your blood pressure begins to rise.
Take five long slow deep breaths, and shut down your negative thoughts, instead focusing on your breath.
As you become more aware of the comings and goings of your limiting beliefs, as you begin to shut down the negative conversations, you will begin to adapt, to create new pathways of thought that are more positive in nature and more aligned with who you wish to be.
However, this does not just happen naturally, you need to prepare the soil for the seed, and that means that you’ve been journaling consistently, learning about your limiting beliefs, shutting them down, and inserting new more powerful belief systems.
With greater awareness comes greater accountability.
You become accountable to your language, accountable that the limiting beliefs ARE what is holding you back, and as you become more accountable you can further set these limiting beliefs aside and adapt to a new normal.
A new normal where telling yourself you can’t do it is no longer front and centre. Where telling yourself you can and will do becomes the beacon for your deepest intentions.
These are the four steps you want to travel through in order to re-set your belief system and own a new narrative that sees you achieving your intentions instead of being constrained by your limiting beliefs.
The key to all of this is the consistency of the task.
Journaling daily, listening to your inner language, changing the tide, setting your intentions for each day, and counting your wins when the day is done.
If you follow this path, you will no longer be fixed to the dock, you will be challenging open water with no limit to what you can accomplish!
I hope this serves.
If you like this piece please take the time to share it with your community. Many thanks for reading and all the best in your life.