Our mind has a way of constraining our potential in life through negative self-beliefs, feelings, and emotions. They live deep within our minds and body. We reinforce them by looking for things that provide evidence to them. We are often our own worst enemy. These self-beliefs are real but are rarely true in reality. Embrace a cleansing process to free yourself from negative self-beliefs. The biggest loss for you and the world is not reaching your true potential.
How we see ourselves and the beliefs we carry in our minds can have a profound impact on our ability to achieve success in our work lives. Our full potential can be realized when we free ourselves from a confining self-identity.
We need to set the foundation for who we are and want to become in our pursuit of a fulfilling career and life. This strategy and summary below were adapted from, “Chapter 4 – Releasing Negative Self-Beliefs”, in Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN by Tara Brach. I highly recommend this book and Tara Brach’s online resources to learn more about loving yourself and the world through her four-step RAIN meditation.
1 – Explore your self-beliefs deep within.
Understand that our beliefs, feelings, and emotions live not only in the mind but also in our bodies.
Open up your mind, body, and soul to explore the addiction to your unworthiness and self-judgment.
Embrace that it’s time to exorcise negative self-beliefs buried deep inside.
Recognize your fixation on information that only confirms your belief in personal deficiency – you may be your own worst enemy.
Lose your mind – your world is ready to change when you stop the inner dialogue.
2 – Shed your skin.
Feeling comfortable with your flawed self becomes a part of who you are.
Challenge the core belief that something is wrong with you.
Focus on a place where you are down on yourself and ask: What am I believing about myself?
Do not worry or consume energy about how others will react when you let go and change.
“The snake that cannot shed its skin perishes” – Friedrich Nietzsche
3 – Let it RAIN until the sun comes out.
Practice RAIN: Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture to begin the cleansing process.
Let the RAIN loosen resentments, guilt, and beliefs that do not serve you.
See that those mental representations and fear-based beliefs are “real but not true”.
Continue to practice RAIN until it smoothes over deep-grooved negative beliefs and feelings.
Feel the sun-like warmth and freedom when they fade from your awareness.
4 – Take the exquisite risk to freedom.
Bravely venture into the unknown to grow and learn who you are beyond your beliefs.
Recognize that the ancient fear of falling short is deeply rooted in our survival brain.
Deepen your awareness of what is possible – ask, “Who am I if I no longer believe [limiting belief]?”
Set up your experiment to test and disprove the belief in your unworthiness – use data where possible.
Embrace the risk of change that peels back the protective coverings of the gold that awaits.
The biggest loss for you and the world is not reaching your true potential in life.
Start today – our days are numbered.
Experiment With This
- Write daily in a journal to express your ideas and feelings. Review recent passages of your journal to see if there are negative self-beliefs lurking in your thoughts. What are the negative beliefs about myself that are constraining my happiness and potential in life? Who can I be when I release this self-belief?
- Confide in a close friend or family member about your negative self-belief. They may be able to give you context as to why this is not true. Our mental models are shaped by our experiences and biases. An independent view of people you trust can be incredibly freeing.
During my time running career workshops at Microsoft, occasionally I would have attendees ask me: “When will you write the book and give it out at workshops?” I never thought of myself as a writer or good enough to be one someday. These folks were actually serious, but I would politely downplay it as it made me feel anxious and nervous. My whole career had been about tech and business – writing words was not hardcore like writing software. I didn’t go to undergrad or grad school to grow my skills as a writer. The fear of failure or inadequacy, when compared to a professional writer, was definitely real.
What was crazy, is that I even had a fellow colleague who offered to help me create content and proofread! I still did not believe in myself at a time when others already did. I had mentally limited my potential due to a self-inflicted belief without any data.
To slowly overcome this fear, I would occasionally write a blog post or LinkedIn article to communicate an idea that was on my mind. I could feel the fear as hit “publish”. As an analytically-minded person, I saw this as an experiment to disprove the hypothesis. To my surprise, I would often receive an email, message or comment from people that thanked me for sharing the post. I still have many of those messages saved to convince myself “it’s not true”.
This course is a synthesis of the workshops I taught at Microsoft. It’s not the book, but I believe this course format is more productive.
I found it would only be through words that I could succinctly translate and repeatably deliver the framework ideas to others. To keep my fears in check, I mentally remind myself that I have an audience of five (my kids). If other people read my content, then that’s all upside!
“Who am I if I no longer believe [that I am not good enough to be a writer]?“
A writer…that has found growth by synthesizing actionable ideas into the fewest lines of code content possible (that ideally are useful to others!)
A father… who saves his kids valuable time by passing down his version of the Guide to the Good Life.
A coach…that openly shares content to challenge the mental models of people as they navigate and practice in their chosen field.
Free…a mentally healthy person that uses writing as self-therapy to continually grow and adapt to the changing environment.
Someone that is more interesting and relevant to driving impact in this short life.
I encourage do think the same!