It’s so easy to shoot ourselves in the foot when it comes to making decisions.
“I can’t do the advanced yoga class I’ll never be able to do a headstand.”
“They don’t like me because they waited 47 minutes to text back, so I guess I should just give up now.”
“Even though Mary is doing it, I’m just not as (insert adjective) as she is.”
“I don’t have enough time, so I won’t go to the gym this week or year.”
We create these stories in our heads about why we’re not good enough, why we can’t, won’t, shouldn’t or just aren’t meant to be doing certain things because of who we believe we are (or are not).
From a young age, my grandparents told me, “Kalyna, you’re smart, you’re good at math, you’re strong and be tough”. At 4 years old I decided I was a tomboy who played soccer and didn’t like all of the girly things my friends did. Then one day around age 15, when I liked Brandon, I decided I might wear mascara and even eye shadow. I will share that eye shadow at a movie theatre at 3pm on a Saturday might’ve been a bit much, but I tried. I’ve since struggled with the idea that I can be feminine and still enjoy the sports I love. Is it possible to be the girl that plays volleyball on the beach and then goes dancing, does yoga and all things “feminine”? (I still don’t understand fake eyelashes…so I guess it’s a work in progress.)
Nothing ever actually stopped me from wearing makeup or dancing… except for that voice in my head that said I wasn’t thin enough, girly enough and that I wouldn’t fit in. It was all completely in my head and yet it totally altered the actions I was willing to take because of what I had repeatedly told myself. I decided without any actual proof that it wasn’t “me” and therefore I couldn’t take part even though I wanted to.
What do you tell yourself that resembles my inner dialogue? Are you supposed to be tough and manly, which means a yoga class is not in the cards for you? Are you not smart enough to take a science course or good enough at math to sort out your personal finances?
These stories that we repeat to ourselves on a daily basis become our realities because we don’t do the things we want to be doing as a result.
I gave up pretending that dancing, karaoke, and yoga isn’t for me, and have gotten up in front of a mic a few times, because the only one stopping me was myself.
What limiting beliefs are you holding onto about yourself that are hindering your ability to move forward?
3 Questions to Move Past the Belief and into Action:
1. Is there (real) evidence to support what I’m thinking?
I mean true evidence from experience or an external source, validating that you actually can’t do something. If your grandma once told you that you could never be a professional ice cream taste tester (yeah, it was super hurtful) that doesn’t count. Be truthful with yourself. Is this coming from a fear of failure or rejection? Could you try this out once (or twice) and see how it goes? What do you really have to lose from trying it out?
2. What is the positive version of this belief?
If you’ve decided you will just never be a ballerina, how might you flip that assumption on its head and challenge it? Instead of taking that negative fear and allowing it to control your actions, identify an opportunity to actually try the activity in real life, instead of living in your head. You absolutely might fall on your face, but you just as likely might love it and be great at it. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll have a pretty great story to share as a result.
3. What next step would I take if I was completely confident about my abilities?
So, you know that voice in your head that has been sabotaging you this entire time, I invite you to put it aside and fill in this phrase:
If I was completely confident in my ability to ______________ I would ___________.
Take the next small step and commit to the class, date, trip or interview.
Bonus: How do I stay accountable to this new way of thinking and doing?
Tell a supportive friend, mentor, partner or parent about this new thing you’re going to try. Set the date you’re going, and let them know how it goes. We all have similar fears of failure and it’s important to remember you’re not alone! Telling someone else increases your likelihood of following through with it. Better yet, invite them to try that pole dancing class with you, they might’ve been wanting to go themselves!
Keep your eyes open for the third part of this series where I explain how to identify the noise coming from others and move past it in order to make authentic decisions.