Behave like a child. Yes seriously.
When we are children we believe we can do anything but after about the age of seven we start to lose that ability and our big dreams are often crushed. Adults start imposing their own restricting beliefs on us. Mostly out of a desire to protect us or to avoid us being disappointed.
Curiously, we don’t remember that as parents. Of course, we want our children to be happy and safe.
Fear is often communicated to us as children: “Be careful X doesn’t happen”, “Have you thought what will happen if …”, “I don’t think you should do that because you might hurt yourself.” “Careful, you might fall.”
I remember being told ‘just do your best’ but not in a ‘Go out there and give it your all and do your best!’ kind of way – more ‘Just do your best and if you fail that’s ok because you tried’. It’s not that failing is bad, it’s just how I interpreted the choice of words and the inference. It was designed to protect me from feeling bad but it didn’t motivate me to do better.
How we create self-limiting beliefs
Up until we are about seven, although we have empathy, the most important thing is that we get our needs met, what we want is the most important thing. As parents, we play to this because it is our natural instinct to meet our child’s needs.
A child who has a younger sibling will be more aware of others’ needs at a younger age and maybe more confident as a result of caring for that sibling. There comes a point when we become more aware of others and as a result, listen to their limiting beliefs.
We observe others’ behaviour: Spiders are harmless, flying on an aeroplane is fun, singing in public is enjoyable etc. Yet children learn from what others do, not what they say. If your child sees you fearful at doing something you are telling them is ok – guess what – they will follow your behaviour, not your words.
What if we could shake off our limiting beliefs and just go for it? What difference would that make to how we approach our work, our children, our relationships, starting a business or travelling? We must not be reckless but pushing a little beyond what we find uncomfortable whilst challenging those limiting beliefs will help us find our confidence to strive and meet our goals.
How would it work for you?
By exposing yourself to difficult or scary situations and finding your courage to act, you will build confidence in yourself. You will be surprised at what you can achieve. Once you do that, you will be able to find the courage to do the next thing and progress through your goals, becoming more and more confident and self-assured as you do so.
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