The Power of Your Brain: Why Your Thoughts May Be Sabotaging You
I truly believe that what we think about, we bring about. This is why it is so important to understand if your thoughts are helping or limiting you!
Recently, I thought back to a much “simpler” time, when only birds “tweeted” and broadband dial-up Internet was mesmerizing. However, much has changed since then. In this new age of technology, where text messages most often replace phone calls, and email has widely replaced snail mail, people are ravenous for immediate results.
As the speed of Wi-Fi has accelerated, so too has the speed with which we expect things to happen. However, these expectations can frequently become a roadblock to our goals. We expect results to happen “yesterday” (a successful business, a family, a raise…) and when they don’t, we are often left feeling a big sense of failure. Surprisingly it’s not these “failures” that stop us from achieving what we desire – it’s our own thoughts that do.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 1,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison, Inventor of the Light Bulb
Thomas Edison tried 1,000 times to create the light bulb. Most in his position, feeling defeated, would have called it quits. However, his mindset led him to keep finding ways that didn’t work… until one did.
History is full of successful people who repeatedly “got it wrong” before they got it right. Many of the individuals our society holds in high esteem have been successful because they didn’t allow negativity to creep into their mind and take over. Think about this: The highest batting average in the MLB to date is .366. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected 12 times; her brand is now worth $25 billion. Stephen Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California three times. To date he has won four Oscars. Walt Disney was once fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.” As of 2016, the Walt Disney Company was worth over $92 billion. The one similarity that these successful individuals have all shared is their ability to remain positive and not give up, despite major setbacks and frustrations.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan, Basketball Legend
Retrain Your Brain
It can be extremely difficult to imagine changing your mindset when it has been functioning the same way for so long. Luckily though, it’s entirely possible.
The brain, like any other muscle in the body, needs to be built; it’s all about practice. It’s important to examine your way of thinking and ask yourself if you want to change it or not. If you set a goal and you do not meet it, it is important to recognize that you are “in the process!” Enjoying the journey is as important as arriving at the destination. Appreciating and realizing this can carry you through the hard times on your way to your goal.
“Extend or Amend” Your Goals
What you may not realize is that it’s okay for your goals to change. In fact, sometimes it’s downright necessary. We need to be flexible. If we grow too attached to the idea of accomplishing something in a specific way, by a specific time, if we do not meet the goal in that manner, this can create discouragement and result in us becoming less productive/successful.
A few months ago, I scheduled my first coaching workshop for June. I wanted to have 20 attendees, but didn’t feel prepared. Due to a lack of marketing, I had 12 people attend. My first instinct was to look at the workshop as a failure, but upon reframing the outcome, I came to realize that 12 was the perfect size audience for the organized interactions I had planned; twenty may have been too many.
It’s remarkable how powerful our thoughts can be. As human beings our primary drivers lead into our thoughts and feelings, our thoughts and feelings lead into our reactions, and our reactions produce our results and habits. By reframing our own idea of success, we can in turn change our thoughts and feelings, our reactions, and ultimately our results and habits.
How Can You Change Your Thoughts and Feelings?
“But it is not what I am saying that is hurting you; it is that you have wounds that I touch by what I have said.” – Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
Our thoughts and feelings are shaped by our life experiences. In author Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, Ruiz discusses four agreements that we should make with ourselves to achieve personal freedom. One of these agreements is “Don’t take anything personally.” As the book explains, nothing people ever do is about us; it is about them. Therefore by the same token, nothing we ever do is about others. It’s about us.
For instance, if you were teased in school for being overweight and you were made to feel “less than,” it may be possible that this feeling of inadequacy has remained imprinted upon your brain. Your thoughts – that you are “less than” – may lead to you not asking for a raise you deserve because you do not feel worthy of it. Not asking for what you deserve may become a habit; all because of your experiences as a child.
Though it can be frustrating, there are things that you can do to properly process and heal from any experiences that continue to negatively impact your life.
As an executive coach, one of the things I do with my clients is to focus on visualizing success and creating a tangible roadmap. This includes reviewing your timeline, looking back on past successes and relishing in them, working on a goal, and creating a plan.
My own personal goal as a coach and consultant is to help you create your desired goals and take the steps necessary to reach your best destiny. The clearer one can be when setting a goal, the better. It is important to set a “smart goal.” A smart goal is:
Specific: Clearly stated and defined actions
Measurable: Contains measurable outcomes (Quantity, Quality, Time)
Assignable: Achievable and realistic
Relevant: Aligned with your business needs
Time-Based: Set within a clear time-frame
Steps for Determining Your Destiny
Often when I speak with clients, they inform me that they have not given much thought to their goals. Many people have very vague goals. This is counterproductive to our success. In order to determine our destiny, we must keep in mind the following steps:
Step 1 – Decisions
Making decisions can prove overwhelming so it is useful to think about several questions in order to come to your chosen solutions. If you were creating goals for 2018, these questions include:
- Have you decided what you will accomplish in 2018?
- Have you thought about how much money you will make?
- How many clients or customers you will have?
- Have you thought about how you want to spend your free time?
- What have you done to create your future?
Rather than existing and waiting for life to happen to us, we are capable of making life happen for us.
Step 2 – Beliefs
As we previously touched on, our beliefs are often created at a young age from what we have experienced. All of our beliefs are integral to achieving success. With these beliefs we create our own “belief system.” Therefore our beliefs become our destiny.
Step 3 – Change
According to personal development coach, David Bayer, our beliefs are in fact decisions. These decisions are either working for or against us. It is our responsibility to make new decisions that help to create a new psycho-cybernetic loop that we play. By taking one small step at a time, we are changing our thoughts and beliefs by replacing them with small victories. As mentioned, concrete goal setting is important. While you are creating your goals, pay attention to any negative self-thoughts as soon as they come to mind.
5 Part Process for Realizing Your Destiny & Goals
Creating your goal plan is extremely important. Here are the five steps that you should remember when working to accomplish your goals.
- Set goals and put them in writing – It is important to begin by setting goals for a set period of time. They may be for tomorrow, a week, a month, a quarter, a year, 3 years, 5 years, and so on. Sometimes it’s best to start with a smaller period of time when you are new to this step.
- Create a plan – Create a concrete plan in order to take the necessary steps with specific desired outcomes, which will lead to your desired results. Once again, if you are new to this, it is often better to begin with a shorter period of time, such as three months.
- Create a support group – Creating a support group is essential for getting through difficult times. When you are facing challenges, having a strong team to surround us, support us, and nurture us can make all of the difference.
- Have faith in yourself and your plan – It is difficult to do just about anything without faith. Faith is necessary for making it through various trials and tribulations. Having a strong support group and team can help to erase or minimize the negative “loop” we build, which often sabotages our plans.
- Be persistent! – Persistence can make the difference between achieving and not achieving your goals. No one was ever successful because they quit.
Learn More & Improve
I am extremely passionate about working with others to help them to change their negative loops and meet their desired goals. I would love to help you to do the same. I have teamed up with Doris Robinson of Suburban Philly Hypnosis to create an amazing one day workshop. Join us on either Saturday, October 20th OR Thursday, October 25th at The Community Rooms of Giant in Willow Grove to learn more about taking control of your thoughts, achieving your desired goals, and positively changing your life. Register HERE or the Saturday workshop or register HERE or for the Thursday workshop. Let’s work to make your dream a reality. It’s entirely possible.