Years ago, during one of my five winters in beautiful Chicago, the weather forecast on a particular March day was that it would be warm. After a fairly cold winter, my husband was excited to shed his winter gear and enjoy the beautiful Saturday ahead of us and told me, “Get dressed for warm weather and let’s go!”
We ditched the wool coats, gloves, hats, boots and several layers for a light jacket and capris for me (those pants that are ¾ length between the knees and ankles that my father hated because he did not understand why one wouldn’t just choose shorts or pants). As we enjoyed the beautiful 45-degree (shivering) day, the theme of shedding stayed with me.
Shedding the Old Beliefs that Do Not Serve You
As we close up on winter, it’s a great time to think about what beliefs we have that we need to shed. Many of us started resolutions in the new year. How is that going? Are you making progress or are there some old thinking and old beliefs that are holding you back?
Over the years, I’ve observed clients getting stuck in their paths to achieving their goals because of negative beliefs (based in fear) that they have about themselves or their abilities. I work with them to first reaffirm their vision and then, to identify the beliefs that are keeping them from success. Some beliefs I have helped clients overcome and shed include:
“I am not equipped for this project.”
“I’m not a good speaker.”
“I’m not creative.”
“I don’t think I have what it takes.”
Get Support and Keep Learning
There are several ways we can continually challenge and shed beliefs that do not serve us. These include everything from having a coach, an accountability partner, a peer advisory group to a library of excellent resources. As a lifelong learner, I am always reading and recently came upon two excellent books that are helpful in examining your mindset around starting something new and pushing it forward.
The first is Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love, best-selling book and movie starring Julia Roberts). Here are some amazing, helpful points she made:
- We all have hidden treasures. “Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”
- Creative living is living a life that is driven more by curiosity than fear. Push forward with curiosity and push fear to the sidelines.
- Invite creativity with your affirmations, dress and passion. Don’t work on your project in sweats. Take a shower, get cleaned up, dress nice and invite the great ideas to you with your positive energy and nice look.
- Know the stages of panic and anxiety. Anytime you begin something new, you will feel scared. Feel the fear and keep going.
- Your creative work is NOT your baby – Do your best and be open to feedback.
- Don’t be attached to outcomes: The universe may grant you the outcome you need, not the outcome you want.
- Motion beats inertia – Feel like cleaning the garage instead of working on your project – no problem. At times when I am working on a new project, my house beomes spic and span. I recently donated two carts of books and recycled two bins of old files in my process (see article on Japanese Art of Tidying for how to create a clean space and open up your thinking).
A second book I recommend helps leaders recognize that we have to come to grips with the fact that the big things we want in our lives will require grit, blood, sweat and tears. If that venture you want to take on, whether it is in business, a hobby, or even ironing out a difficult relationship, feels difficult, it’s supposed to be hard. The sooner we accept this and stop complaining, the happier we will be. This book, with a funny-catchy-how-could-I-ever-have-such-a-blazingly-potentially-offensive-book-title is named, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” And it’s so damn good. And the title makes the point of going for it, giving it your all, being authentic, sucking up the tough times and being OK with the outcomes.
So, as you get ready to watch the buds of your favorite plants bloom into beautiful flowers and tuck away your winter gear, think of the old thinking you can also shed…the self-doubt, the negative self-talk and all the reasons you may feel stuck. And keep shedding all year long!