My own experience
So….I have had this itch to evolve the format of Launch to Greatness for a little while, yet have been waiting for the right time, right motivation, right confirmation, right [insert limiting belief here]. Simply put I have wanted to do something that is in my full control, with no known ramifications, and I was letting something keep me from doing it. This growing desire has consumed my thoughts for weeks now and along with a few others it has consumed energy….and maybe even created stress. I am not sure if you can relate to this type of procrastination, however this is not the first time it has affected my life. I can think of a handful of times, just off of the top of my head and I am sure there are many more, where I have wanted to take action on something yet delayed, or failed altogether, because of some limiting belief. Well this morning I was inspired to take action by an unexpected source. Dr. Jack Connell was a guest speaker at my church and he shared his very healthy skepticism with life in general and how that has impacted his beliefs as a Christian. While I am sure it was an unintended consequence, however he triggered the realization that we as people need to question things more. More specifically, we need to question things that we believe to be true, or that are represented to us as true. To be clear, this is not in a rogue, fractious sense, but rather to truly create real truths for ourselves. Let me ask you this….is there something that you are procrastinating with in your life right now for some belief that could reasonably be questioned?
Ok, so back to this itch to evolve the format of my show. I had originally set out to understand why some entrepreneurs achieve greatness and others only achieve average results or fail altogether. I am a rational and logical person and assumed that there must be some secret formula that set people apart. Some data or metric that would unlock the answer to that question. I can admit there are definitely a few things that people who achieve greatness do that are different than others….I’ve specifically identified five….but more on that later. However, one belief that I was focusing on is that I needed to focus my quest on a narrow community of entrepreneurs, completely disregarding the fact that greatness can actually be found everywhere…if you look. So I questioned myself today, why am I only asking entrepreneurs about the difference between average and greatness. Why not ask every person that I see exemplifying greatness? I mean really, why not? It’s my show, I could simply make the switch and be done with it. Up until now when I have asked myself that question, I rationalized why by telling myself things like….I started down this path, so I have to continue down this path. Or, the loyal listeners might not like hearing from a pastor, or high school student, a barista, or employee, or any other person that I encounter that is really excelling in life. So I identified a belief that I was holding onto that may actually be holding me back and I simply asked myself “why?”. Did I actually have proof that this belief was true and real, and worth holding onto? Nope. In fact, the contrary was true. I actually have followers that have suggested examining greatness in other areas. And truthfully changing course, or pivoting slightly is a common necessity in life and in the pursuit of greatness. I am fully aware that without taking risks we cannot grow, and if we cannot grow we cannot reach our full potential and if we cannot reach our full potential we will not be happy…and if we will not be happy what’s the point. So I started wondering if this belief was actually working against me, and if so for how long. And in this case it was really only a few weeks. But it led me to two other questions; first, where does this belief come from; and second, in what other areas of my life is this happening? I reflected back on life and realized that over the years I have been told to stay the course in many different ways. Things like “finish what you start” or “stay the course” or “life is a marathon not a sprint” or “don’t be wishy-washy or scatterbrained” or “remember the guy who gave up? Neither does anyone else.” Somewhere along the way I internalized these and began to identify with them in a way that would lead me to believe that a simple change in course, with good intention, was somehow a form of quitting or that I would somehow been seen as a wishy-washy person that didn’t know what I wanted. In reality neither of these things are true and it was my own misinterpretation of these types of phrases. When in fact with very simple thought on them they can easily be interpreted to believe that making changes along the journey, so long as you continue forward towards your goal, is necessary to evolve and grow. I think that a fundamental piece of greatness is continually evaluating new information and making course corrections in life. So to the second point about wondering what other areas of my life was I holding onto beliefs that were holding me back? I ask that question of you, in what areas of your life do have an itch to do something different, however there is some belief you keep reminding yourself of to stop you from moving forward? If you are like me, there are probably a few answers to that question so I would like to recap the process that I took myself through. First, I identified the belief that I was identifying with that was holding me back. Then I simply asked why I believed it to be true, allowing myself to believe that it may not be. Next, I looked for proof for reasons it should be true and also for proof that it should not be true. I found that the original belief was baseless and reflected on ways it was holding me back. Then, I reflected on my life experiences to discover where these thoughts were rooted. In doing so I then discovered that it was a simple contextual misunderstanding that I was able to reinterpret to create a better understanding. Last, I was able to take these new beliefs and move forward towards my goal. So if you answered my previous question with something you believe to be holding you back, I encourage you to question your beliefs that you feel may be holding you back.
Ok, so back to the five specific barriers to greatness that I have discovered so far on my journey. First, and you should have seen this coming, is a limiting belief system. Some people are just plagued with limiting beliefs and simply accept their adversity or circumstances in life as unchangeable, defeating, and not allowing for them to achieve greatness. Most of these limiting beliefs stem from the inherent desire to measure our progress in life by looking left and right and comparing ourselves against our peers. That is a flawed system that will only result in mediocrity because it is the vast majority of society that don’t believe they can, or deserve to, achieve success or happiness in life. So if you measure yourself against the masses, you will ultimately find yourself believing what they believe. Here is the deal, every person that has ever achieved greatness in anything, has had to overcome something. Everyone has circumstances in life, set-backs, adversity, and challenges. In fact that is why we love the story of the champion so much because it often chronicles their struggles and trials on the way to greatness. They inspire us because deep down we want to overcome ours. The stories like Richard Branson having dyslexia or Bill Gate’s first company failing miserably, Michael Jordan being cut from his basketball team in high school, Steven King’s first novel being rejected 30 times, Kris Carr being diagnosed with Stage IV incurable cancer and challenging it head on to ultimately become an inspiration to 40,000 others and helping them thrive with cancer, Franklin Roosevelt being partially paralyzed by polio and going on to be the president of the US and Steven Spielberg being rejected from his desired film school twice! Can you imagine if these people would have accepted common social norms that their adversity was a tough break, and “sometimes that’s how life goes” and just gave up?! The world would not have some of the greatest people ever at their professions. And it is simply because they refused to accept their circumstances as barriers to what they wanted in life. Instead of asking why their situation was what it was in life and why it was happening to them, they changed the question to why not them, and how would life have to look for them to embrace their circumstances AND achieve their goals. Then they were bold and stepped out against social norm, and continually moved forward on their journey to greatness. So if you want to achieve greatness and you truly want to live the life that you desire and deserve, then you have to question your limitations with a healthy skepticism and start asking yourself why not you. Seriously, why not you? You have to shed your limiting beliefs that are holding you back and redefine these beliefs to support your aspirations. So what if you were poor growing up, or didn’t do well in high school, weren’t athletic or popular, or dropped out of college, didn’t land your dream job, made bad decisions in life, failed in business, were not the greatest parent, spouse, friend or family member, or any other label that you have placed on yourself that is the head trash holding you back from living the life you deserve. The good news is that any label you have, you have the control to rewrite or dispel that label. It may not be easy or quick. It will most likely take time and great effort, but it can be done. You are sure to encounter set-backs along the way; just don’t let them become limiting beliefs and continue to push forward. Do not be dissuaded! They say every journey begins with a single step…and shedding limiting beliefs is the first step towards achieving greatness. Next week I will share the second step of living a life that is bigger than yourself.