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Consider the possibility that we are all extraordinary beings, inherently capable of and enthusiastic about declaring, pursuing, and achieving the extraordinary. Imagine that when our experience of ourselves, our lives, or our careers does not represent that, it is not because we don’t have it in us to do so, but because there is something in the way, and by that I don’t mean out there in our circumstances, or what is happening to us, but in our own thought processes and how we process what is happening.
If you are hesitant to subscribe to this idea, I’d ask you to consider that the reason three year olds are completely energetic and enthusiastic about wanting to be and do anything, and yet they manage to become cynical and resigned adults is not because they lost what they had, but that they covered up what they had with a bunch of limiting beliefs. The reason wide-eyed new hires who are enthusiastic about contributing and succeeding end up dragging themselves to work and settling for just having a job is not because they lost something, but because they had some experiences and made those experiences mean something about themselves and their workplace, and gave up on their dreams. This also happens to young professionals who choose noble professions like teaching or public service, to make a difference, only to find themselves down and defeated. In all of these cases, nothing has been lost, but something has blocked their access to the zest for life, enthusiasm, or commitment to a better future that they once felt and acted upon. In fact, I have seen on dozens of occasions people who have resolved to just come to work and do their job and stay out of trouble show up completely different in other aspects of their lives and be considered community leaders and major contributors. That's because they still got it but have been conditioned to curb their enthusiasm in certain parts of their life.
If you put the wrong fuel in a Ferrari's tank, it is still a Ferrari! You may not be able to drive it but that is no reason to question its essence. You wouldn’t junk it or give up on ever driving it, would you? You would get the wrong fuel out and put the right fuel in and enjoy what it can do. By the same token, your unchangeable essence inherently includes a desire to make a difference, overcome obstacles, and achieve something extraordinary. You have always had it in you and it will always be in you. What has happened is that your very ability to think, reason, and draw conclusions, which is a blessing for the most part, has turned into a curse in the form of all the stories you have told yourself, and the paradigms and ways of thinking you have developed that do not serve you. Just like the right fuel in the Ferrari makes it possible for it to function as designed, looking for your limiting thoughts and paradigms and being intentional about addressing them can instantly shift just how powerful you can be in the face of any circumstance.
Subscribing to this idea alone is enough to get you going in the direction of tracing your disempowerment to your thoughts and actions that you have control over, but I’d like to offer some perspective that might provoke some thought on where you might look to further liberate the Transformative Leader within yourself and some suggestions in italics.
8 Things that hold us back from Boldly Declaring The Extraordinary:
- We have a fear of failure. Feeling like we need to know how we will get there before we declare.
Acknowledge your fears and establish a bold enough mission that gives you the courage to act anyway.
- We have a fear of success.
Acknowledge that you have such a fear and begin to envision and be inspired by the possibilities of moving beyond your fears.
- We have been conditioned to under-promise and over-deliver.
This keeps us playing small just so we don't ever fall short of our stretch goals. For more on this read my blog post on the topic.
- We lack integrity and can't count on our actions to line up with our words.
Begin to honor your word by either doing what you said or communicating and making a new agreement.
- We say we’re committed to too many things and we are not really committed to much.
Be straight about your partial and conditional commitments and accept the consequences. Then channel the energy you recover from not having to pretend you are committed when you are not, to the real commitments in your life.
- We create from the past or the present, not from a blank slate.
Don't let the present conditions water down your vision. Create from nothing and watch it inspire you to deal with the present conditions.
- We think we are who we think we are.
Acknowledge that the image you have of who you are and what you are capable of is purely made up by you. The real you is so much more awesome!
- We let our reasons guide our declarations.
Your reasons come from the past. They have nothing to do with what is possible. Acknowledge them and be unreasonable and act anyway.
8 Things that hold us back from Courageously Pursuing The Extraordinary:
- We rely on the evidence in front of us rather than our faith in the outcome to determine if we should stay in action.
Walk by faith, not by sight! Need I say more!?
- The size of the prize doesn't justify our trouble.
Expand your vision and watch it expand your life. That is the quality of your thoughts, words, actions, habits, character, and ultimately your destiny.
- We're not 100% committed.
Focus on the outcome you are committed to creating and take the best next step you can take to make it happen.
- We are attached to how it ought to go and how much progress we should have made by now.
Acknowledge the setbacks but don't dwell on them.
- We use our failures as an excuse to stop trying.
Live today as the beginning of tomorrow, not the extension of yesterday.
- We act on the urgent, not the important.
In the words of Goethe, "Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least."
- We confuse drama for passion.
If your thoughts and words and actions are not contributing to your cause, you are being dramatic, not passionate.
- We keep our declarations to ourselves.
Declare your intentions to others and create accountability partners to increase your chances of staying on track.
8 Things that hold us back from Abundantly Achieving The Extraordinary:
- We don’t think we deserve it.
Stop sabotaging yourself or not fully embracing your success because of some story you made up at some point in your life that you don't deserve it. Make up a new story!
- We are not grateful.
I believe gratitude is the final step in receiving something and making it your own. Express and experience gratitude to complete the transaction. For more on this see my blog post on this topic.
- We are not content and always look for the next thing.
Be content and celebrate what you have on your way to the next accomplishment.
- We look to a finish line, not on-going progress, to signify achievement.
Find joy in progress along the way. If your declarations are bold enough, there will be no finish line.
- We let good or great keep us from going for the extraordinary.
Don't settle for good or great when you can have the extraordinary.
- We compare ourselves to others and find someone whose accomplishments make ours seem insignificant.
Comparison is a no win proposition. Run your race. You do you.
- We have a scarcity mentality.
Rejoice with those who are rejoicing and you will always be celebrating an accomplishment. There is plenty to go around.
- We hold on to our old ways.
Let go of some of your old habits and ways of "being" that keep you stuck in the past. Fully embrace your success!
The Bottom Line:
Consider that we are all extraordinary beings, naturally capable of and enthusiastic about declaring, pursuing, and achieving the extraordinary. If your experience of yourself and your life or career does not represent that and you have been wondering what’s wrong with you or your circumstances, chances are you are looking in the wrong place. I believe it would serve you well to look for what is in the way and be intentional about getting it out of the way. In today’s post, we examine this notion and some of our tendencies and thought processes that often keep us from boldly declaring, courageously pursuing, and abundantly achieving the extraordinary.
Have a great week! May you Boldly Declare, Courageously Pursue, and Abundantly Achieve the Extraordinary! As always, I would love to hear about your victories and/or challenges. Please leave your comments below or send me an email at email@example.com.
Join me on June 17th for an Xtalks webinar where I will discuss Transformative Leadership as a Necessary Ingredient to Success in the Food Industry
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