Posts Tagged On a mission

Push the Limits: How eliminating certain beliefs can help you move forward

On Friday I shared an exercise that had you examining the things you love and hate about your life. Today, I want to shed light on something that may be behind the things on your hate list: your own limiting beliefs.

Day 11 of the Happy Black Woman challenge lead us to examine some limiting beliefs we may have. The top three limiting beliefs most people have according to the ReCreate Your Life website ( I know, there really is such a thing) is:

-I’m not good enough
-I’m not important
-Mistakes and failure are bad

I believe limiting beliefs can be pretty simple, or they can run really deep.  All, I think have some type of connection with the list of three beliefs above. Let’s look back at some of the things on my list to see how my limiting beliefs are letting some of these “hates” survive in my life.

One of the things I said I hate is only semi being a part of my really good friends lives because I live so far away from them (they are in Tennessee, I am in NYC). What is the limiting belief I hold behind this? I don’t have enough time.  When I feel guilty about being out of the loop, I tell myself (and sometimes them) that it is because I don’t have enough time to talk to them.  I admit, living in New York can complicate communications with people outside of the city. But let’s analyze my limiting belief further.

I often feel as if I don’t have enough time to have an in-depth conversation with my friends. So what happens? I neglect to call them period.  Is it obvious how I am limiting myself?  I am telling myself that the way in which I can communicate with my friends is not good enough.  I’m only giving myself a limiting “all or nothing” option.

I am limiting myself by saying that I don’t have enough time to talk to my friends. While it is true that a lot of things demand my attention in NYC, making time, or finding time, rather, to talk to my friends is possible.  Once I let go of the belief that “I don’t have time” it frees me to start thinking creatively about how I can keep in touch with the people who are most important to me.

If I spent more time making short calls to people when I have a spare minute (the time I spend walking to and from the subway), I wouldn’t have to try to talk to someone for an hour or two to catch up because I would be more clued in to their lives.

One thing I might do is create a list of the people I most want to keep in touch with. Then I could pick two every Sunday whom I can call while I am doing boring Sunday tasks (folding clothes, cleaning the apartment).  I can text people and have a mini convo when I am busy. I can write on more Facebook walls. I can send post cards. I can do a lot once I eliminate the belief that there is only one way to communicate with my friends, and that all other methods are not good enough.

This is just one example of how finding the limiting beliefs that are holding you back, and actively eliminating them, can help you progress towards having more “loves” than “hates” on your list.

What beliefs are you harboring that could be limiting your progress toward leading a passionate and purposeful life?

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Finding Your Purpose, easier than you thought?

Everyday we wake up and we get really lost in all of our ish. From deciding what we want to wear,  to picking out the best cereal, we start our days by thinking about a lot of external things.  But once we strip away all of that, we are humans. Simple animals. We have feelings. We are in tune with whether we are happy or sad, we are also in tune with our own confusion.

I thought about all of this last week when I picked up the November issue of O magazine. The cover line, “Find Your True Purpose” caught my eye.  The page was bright red and it nearly blinded me, but I was curious about the message. I’ve written about how I am all tipped out. I tend to suffer from advice overload, but the pages were not tip-heavy.  I respond better to stories rather than a list of random tips, so I proceeded to see if this could shed some light on my ever-elusive purpose.

This first article I read by life coach, Martha Beck, caught my attention.  It was all about getting in touch with your primal, or animal instinct.  Sound crazy? It’s really not.

We tend to react to anything in two ways: the primal way and the rational way. Think about this: when you are presented with an idea or an opportunity, your primal reaction is the one based on your own emotions or feelings. Next, you turn to thinking turns rationally.  This happened to me when I interviewed for a job at a nonprofit awhile back. My first instinct was that I would be very bored with what I was doing. But my rational mind told me to suck it up because the money would be good.  I ended up not considering the position because I knew it would have been wrong for me.

Beck recommended creating a list of all of the times you have felt truly happy with something you were doing (professionally or otherwise).  What the heck? I decided to go for it. Here are a few things that are on my list:

– Reading
Going out to dinner and having wine with friends, or just spending time talking to my friends
My journalism fellowship at the Poynter Institute during the summer of 2008.

Just writing this list made me happy. When was the last time I’ve taken a moment to evaluate the things I truly felt happy about? A lot of Gen Y career advice is focused on finding your passion. While I believe that everyone has a passion for something, I do think that can be a loaded word that can lead to you feeling stuck. After all, a passion is supposed to be this great, shiny, sparkly, end-all, be-all thing, right? NOT. I think passion starts at a place of happiness, and that is a lot easier to figure out.

From this point, Ms. Beck suggests really identifying the specific qualities in those things that make you happy.  This exercise is about being in touch with your primal instincts. It’s about evaluating things based on how and why they make you happy. It’s not about whether your ideas are something you can make money from, or turn directly into a career. It’s about what brings you a very simple joy. This is what I came up with based on my mini list above:

Reading is my one true love. I can get totally lost in a really good book. I will cart it around with me everywhere, until I am finished.  I tell everyone about the story. The feeling of joy I get from reading books is what I imagine nirvana to feel like.

Going out to dinner with friends, is less about the food than the companionship. I view the relationships I create with people as very important. I love my spending time with my friends. I like hearing their stories and thinking about the ways in which we connect. I enjoy the laughter, and the feeling of being loved for who I am.

The time I spent at the Poynter Institute combined the best of  my key interests (storytelling, writing, and connecting with people) while allowing me to explore my thoughts and ideas. The pieces I wrote there are some of my best. And I can’t imagine living without the friends I met there.

So from those three things, I can see that having a connecting with people is important to me, and so is great storytelling, and exploring concepts. Hmmm…I started to feel as if I were on to something.

The next step, obviously, would be to think of the ways I can apply these to my career.  That step is in progress, but I do feel a lot lighter. There was a spring in my step when I left Barnes and Noble.  And I do have some ideas about what should come next.  Hey, I’m kinda digging being in touch with my animal instincts!

Go ahead, do it.  You know you want to.

Create a list of the things or times that have truly made you happy. It could be anything from the joy you have when you watch a good movie, to the first time your name was published in print.  Then ask yourself, “What about these activities made me so happy?”

And if you feel inclined, please do share :)

Think someone else needs to learn about their animal instincts?  Help me spread the word. Pass this post to your social networks via the links below.

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