I was speaking with a client this morning about her dream of being self-employed when she paused, teared up, and then quietly said, “What if I can't do it?”
My heart sank. I know that feeling too well. And I know how damaging this question is to your psyche, and your ability to take action.
See, questions are answered in the direction in which they are asked. If you ask, “What if I can't do it?”, your brain will promptly reply with a dissertation of negative beliefs: “You'll fail. People will think you suck. You'll be a failure. You'll lose your mortgage. Don't do it. You're happy enough as is.”
However, if you ask, “What if I CAN do it?”, your brain shifts entirely. “Oh my G-d! Yes I can! I'll feel so good. I'll be so happy. That will be wonderful! I'm going to look up articles on how to achieve this!”
We do whatever our brain says because we've come to take our brain chatter as fact. However, beliefs are simply thoughts that you've thought a lot. For example, my belief is that the dress I'm wearing is called a “dress,” but is that true? In France, this is a “robe,” even though to me, a “robe” is what I put on after my shower. So which belief is correct?
When we were babies, we didn't have a belief about what a “dress” is called, and you didn't have a belief that you couldn't start your own business, or attract your ideal mate, or whatever it is that you want. You only have those beliefs now because of how often you've thought them.
The worst part is that for most of us, our brains go negative first. It's called “Negativity Bias” and it's a real thing. Your brain evolved for safety so it's looking for the threat. To top it off, most of us were raised by parents who had negativity bias too and we're surrounded by other people with negativity bias, so we have more fear-based negative beliefs than optimistic ones. Just recently, I was having lunch with a former TV anchor. When I heard what she used to do, I squealed with excitement. “Can I take you to lunch?” I asked. “I'd like to share positive psychology on air,” to which she replied, “Good luck with that! You're competing against thousands of young people who will work for nothing.” OUCH. For a moment, my brain started to believe her. Then I took a deep breath and asked myself, “What if I could do it?” To which I smiled, and said, “OF COURSE I CAN! I am on Sirius, I've been on HuffPo TV, I can do this too!”
So, what to do with your negative, fear-based beliefs? Create new ones! Choose a new, positive, optimistic thought and think it over and over again until it is fact. Your brain is malleable. No matter your age or stage of life, you can create new neural pathways that lead you to the positive beliefs and action that you want.
So, your spark for this week: What if you COULD achieve your dream?
Take your power back. Choose a new positive thought about your dream and think it repeatedly. Write it on your bathroom mirror. Use it as a screensaver. Think this thought so many times that it becomes belief.
With fierce passionate can-do love,
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