When I speak to clients, they are usually well aware of their strengths and even more often, they can tell me what their weaknesses are when they address the activities they do, and especially the ones they avoid. I hear things like “I’m just not good at managing my time” or “I don’t relate to my employees”. Although I do believe in relying on your strengths in leadership, I also believe that what we tell ourselves has more impact on our belief system than any weakness we might have.
Our brains are wired to pick up on all the messages we feed it. If we say we aren’t good at something or can’t do something, the brain will do everything in its power to make those messages true… even if it means sacrificing your goals to make it true. So if you have a project coming up that has parts that you are already telling yourself you struggle with, I invite you to consider re-framing your perception.
Let me share an example.
My husband and daughter have always been avid runners. They enjoyed running. I always told them I just wasn’t a runner. I believed I just couldn’t do it. I could do other types of exercise, but running seemed difficult.
For some reason though, it bothered me that they could run and I couldn’t. Without telling anyone, I started running on my own. When my husband was at work, I started to jog a little bit on the treadmill, then I pushed even further and went to the local park to start jogging. I was very slow and at first, but I kept showing up and running more.
The thing is, when you do the actions, your perception starts to change. You start to see new goals, new opportunities and a new leader in yourself. Even though I “wasn’t a runner”, I became one by doing the actions. I showed up and tried again and again. It turns out I could run.
So now sit back and think about the stories you tell yourself about your leadership. Take a look at any limiting belief you have: I don’t have enough time to learn more, I’m not a good mentor, I struggle with planning or I am terrible with numbers. These are all limiting beliefs. The truth is you can always become a great mentor, become better at planning or even numbers.
The secret is the thing we all try to avoid — change. It’s difficult to get us to change the cycles we have already embraced in our lives. We have put ourselves in our comfort zone. It is comfortable, but it doesn’t lead to growth or expanding your skills. What I love about my clients is that they choose to break out of their comfort zones and reach for what they really want!
Look at those beliefs and find one you want to challenge. Ask yourself, “what if the opposite is true?” Then, come up with 3 things you can do in the next 90 days to see if you can change your perception of your limitations. For example, if you think you are bad at numbers, take a course or learn more about the numbers that impact your job. If you think you aren’t good at mentoring people, get a mentor or a coach for the tools you need. Get to breaking those thought patterns and expand your potential and your opportunities.
By the way, I rarely run any more. Even though I can run now, I am still at choice to decide when or if I want to run. For me, it was purely proving that I could change my perception. We don’t have to live in our weaker lanes, but the knowledge that I could run makes it easier to see the possibilities in all the other limitations I put on myself.