My daughter is in middle school. If you have had kids go through middle school, or if you are brave enough to remember back to your experience, you know what an important time it is in figuring out who you are and who you are not. It’s a time of labeling and categorizing everyone and everything, especially yourself.
You begin to develop your idea of who you are, what you can do and where you fit. You also develop your beliefs about who you are NOT, what you CAN’T DO and where you DON’T fit. As important as your ideas about who you are can be, it’s your beliefs about who you are NOT that often determine what you will accomplish.
When you decide you are not something, you close down those avenues and possibilities disappear. When kids think they aren’t good students, they quit studying and quit making academics a priority, and instead start to focus on jobs that don’t require higher levels of education. When kids decide they are not athletic, they quit looking for ways to enhance their physical strength and skills. They close those doors of possibility in their life.
We often come to these decisions at a young age. There are many factors that influence who we think we are not and what we think we are not capable of doing, being or having. Failure, humiliation and shame are the seeds that get watered by fear and negativity. Other people’s opinions of what we aren’t good at feeds the growth of these negative beliefs about ourselves.
That’s why setting big goals is so scary and uncomfortable. Usually what you want it on the other side of your beliefs about who you are NOT and what you are NOT capable of accomplishing. You have to walk straight through that mine field of negativity, doubt and fear to get to what you want. “I want to expand my business and hire more people but I’m not good at the HR piece”, “I want to become a top producer but I’m not good enough to play with the big boys” . . . . “I want more of a social life but I’m not good in crowds”.. . . . “I want to take more time off but I’m not good at delegating and giving up control”.
I have set the goal of running a 5K this year. If you are a runner, you are probably thinking “easy, peasy”. I have realized that I decided years ago that I’m not a runner. Running isn’t easy for me and I don’t enjoy it so I came to the conclusion that I’m just not a runner. Every time I go out for a run that belief comes right up in the forefront of my brain and bring all the supporting evidence of past “failures”, “embarrassments” and painful situations to convince me that my goal is stupid and I should just quit. In order to reach my goal, I need to see them for what they are and keep running right past them.
So if you are struggling to reach a goal, I guarantee you that one or more beliefs about who you aren’t or what you can’t do is getting in your way of doing, being or having what you want.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this article. Please leave them below.
If you want to talk about how I can help you navigate the mind filed of “I’m not” and “I can’t” so you can get were you want to go, contact me about scheduling a time to talk.
I think we all get nudged in one direction or another. For the most part, people equate “What is easy” with “what is right for me.” I honestly don’t know whether this is a valid conflation, but it is common.
Hi Wolf – yes, I agree that we get nudged in various directions by well meaning people. When we are young, people in our environment are strong influnces on our perception our perception of who we are and who we are not. I also agree that we also limit our possibilities by persuing what is easy. Thanks for commenting!