3 Steps to Uncovering Your Limiting Beliefs

I want to let you in on one of my top coaching secrets. It's part mindfulness, part strategy, and part truth or dare. And it's my favorite tool to find out what the heck is holding us back.

Let me walk you through how to do it with one of my own personal examples that happened to me just yesterday. It started like this:

Eating well is so hard.
 
The thought came to me early in the morning as I was about to start my day. Strange. I wasn’t hungry. I hadn’t done anything yet, but slightly roll over in bed. 
 
Sneaky little thought.
 
Had I not recognized it, here’s a likely scenario that may have followed:

1. Hit the snooze button.
2. Skip workout.
3. Eat foods that do not make me feel my best.
4. Become lethargic and tired.

Fortunately, this little scenario did not play out because I noticed the thought just in time. 

This here is a limiting belief—an idea we BELIEVE TO BE true that ultimately holds us back.

Most of the time we do not even know the thought is there. 
 
So how do we not get caught up in the cycle of our limiting beliefs?

Here's where mindfulness comes in:

1. start BY paying attention to Your thoughts. 

I recommend doing it for 3 days and keeping a log in a notebook or journal [cue strategy]. Make a 3-column chart. In the top left, write “belief,” in the middle, write “true/false,” and in the right column write “new belief.” As you notice the beliefs, record them in the “belief” column and then ask yourself, is this belief true or false? In my scenario above, the belief, “eating well is so hard” is false. It really isn’t so hard. Sure, it’s not the easiest thing to do at first, but really, when it comes down to it, it just takes some practice. [It's truth time!] In the final column, I would rewrite the belief as something I would like to think instead. So for example, my new belief might be, “eating well is a healthy daily practice” or “eating well feels good.” 

2. Ask yourself, "how true is it?"

Sometimes we have held certain limiting beliefs for so long that they feel absolutely true to us. So after you deem a belief to be true, be sure you are really considering how true it is. We have to also check in with ourselves how the belief makes us feel. So for example, a limiting belief a client of mine had about her current relationship was that she “can’t fully trust him.” This belief rang very true for her in a former relationship, so it felt scary to abandon it now. It had been protecting her from getting hurt in her current relationship. But it was also keeping her from experiencing all the joy that comes with it. If you don’t go all in, you can’t receive the good (and the bad) that may come with it. So in this example, the belief was making her feel protected, which is why it was there and why she believed it to be true for so long. However, recognizing that the belief was limiting and that it was holding her back allowed her to start rephrasing the belief in her mind when it would pop up. She would rephrase it to, “trusting someone I love and care about is healthy for me.”

3. Anticipate the discomfort of the new belief.

Disclaimer: when we rewrite the script of a limiting belief it can feel like a lie. It takes time to believe the new idea. Know that this is the real work that requires a lot of practice and patience to change old thinking that just doesn’t serve us well.

Try it ON. 

Pay attention to your thoughts. Do the journaling activity. Rewrite and tell yourself the new belief you choose to believe instead. Do it for 3 days.

After you're finished, I'd love to hear the limiting belief that’s been on your thought reel and the new truth you choose to hold instead.  Find me over on Instagram and tell me about it!  

Are you in?

3 Tips for Handling Disappointment with Others

You may have someone in your life who you love with every ounce of your heart. A good friend from high school or college. A family member. A significant other. Whoever that someone is, you may have felt frustrated when they snapped at you suddenly, backed out of your plans (again…), left you out of something important, or simply haven’t been there when you really needed them. You may have even thought:
 
If only I could just get so and so to show up once in a while…
If only I could just make so and so prioritize our relationship…
If only so and so would just hear me out…

You know how the story goes. If only so and so would change, everything would be different. 
 
The problem is you can’t change so and so. And I know you know this.

So what do you do? How do you react when disappointment calls?

Do you just let your friend walk all over you? Do you accept being flaked out on all the time? Do you let that guy keep treating you like you are a pawn in his game?
 
First and foremost, heck no! We have to own and claim how we want others to treat us and we do this by showing them what’s okay and what’s not okay. This is not okay. 
 
However, we are talking about people who we care about deeply and it is no easy task when so and so is someone you love.

Here are my top 3 tips for handling disappointment:

1. Understand what is happening.  

What’s happening on so and so’s end? Do you know? Have you asked? I always go to this place FIRST because so many times we assume what is happening and get caught up in the game. We create a fictitious story and completely run with it, convincing ourselves our version is true. Stop that right now. When was the last time you used your voice to find out what is going on? Oftentimes I find out that there’s more to the story than I am aware of. Way more. Find out. Ask questions. Use your voice.

2. Wait until you are in a rational place to talk.

We have to make sure we are not asking questions when we are frustrated. Wait until some time has passed and you are calm. Guaranteed that when you show up from a place of love and understanding, you’ll be able to react in a way that actually helps you create more of what you are wanting. It’s easiest to protect ourselves from pain by getting upset and pushing those away who hurt us. But sometimes those who hurt us are the very people we love. They aren’t bad people. They love us just as much and we typically have overall positive relationships with them. Yet, if we can subtly remind ourselves in those moments of frustration that we have the power to control what’s on our end of the relationship, we can choose to respond from a place of love and understanding to learn more about what’s going on for them.

3. Avoid “why” questions.  

Your goal is to understand what’s going on with so and so. If we jump to a question that starts with “why,” we are likely to put others on the defense. Think about the last time you asked so and so why they didn’t show up, why they weren’t there, or why they never call? So and so is likely to get very defensive and pull farther away from you. Remember, we want to create connection. We want to understand what’s actually happening, so it’s key that we start with questions that help us achieve this. I recommend starting off with a “what” question. Here’s an example of how this may sound:
 
What’s been going on lately? I’ve noticed you haven’t been around as much. Is everything okay? 

Remember these tips to help you stay emotionally in control.

By doing so, you are creating a tiny bit of space between the feeling of frustration and your reaction, and that’s where the real power lives.

Your attention shifts from being mad at so and so, to wanting to understand what is happening with so and so. There’s a big difference here. One lives in frustration and anger while the other lives in compassion. 
 
I know which one I respond best to. Do you?

 

Why It's Okay to NOT Have a Niche

As a life coach, the moment I entered the game, I heard from every blog, article, training, and peer in the industry that I’d need to choose a niche market. You got to have focus. You got to know your audience. You have to choose.

For the last two years, this is precisely what I set out to do. 

Choose a niche. 

I started by exploring how I felt working with different groups of people. 

Here’s where it got confusing. I felt myself come alive in various ways while working with many different groups. 

How will I ever decide on a niche market if I can’t let go of the other groups I love working with?

This is where reality set in.

Why do we have to zero in on just one of set of our passions and let the rest go?

Can’t you be a lawyer AND teach dance class on the weekends? Or a marketing manager AND a fashion blogger? Or a social worker AND Spanish tutor?

Whatever it is, let's lean in and listen to it. Let's go for the things we enjoy and welcome them into our lives fully. I am not saying choosing a niche is right or wrong. I am saying that if you happen to fall into a multi-passionate lane, that that is okay too.

It’s scary to veer from the safe course. When we take risks and follow our passions, we gift ourselves with the opportunity to come out on the other side happier and stronger than ever. 

We have to listen and hear what we want.

We have to go for it.

Why It's Time to Think Different About Balance

Things had been going so well.

I was on point with all the things.  Writing.  Client meetings.  Sleep.  Eating well. Exercise. Attending social events. 

Then BAM.

Something came along that wasn’t planned. 

It wasn’t part of the things.  And it threw me off.

I rescheduled social events and meetings.  Writing was postponed.  Exercise fell by the wayside.

I tend to sway when things don’t go as planned.  I grant myself permission to not be so on point with things as I gradually I ease back into my routines.  But after a few days, I can get hard on myself.  The perfectionist part of my personality shows up and wants to get back on track.  Now! And naturally, the laid-back, right-brain part of me puts up a fit and prefers to just let things be.  No rush, lady.

This all-or-nothing response can show up in many ways. 
 

For some people, it might be with a diet.  You eat completely clean or it’s a free-for-all.   You work, work, work, work, work, work (thanks for the verbiage, Ri,Ri…) and have ZERO social life.  You consistently exercise or you don’t go to the gym at all.

These are prime examples of all-or-nothing and the very real struggle of work-life balance.

But what if we thought differently about balance? 

What if, balance really is all about the moving parts?

The ups, the downs, the all, and the nothing? What if all of it is part of balance?

I heard an incredible visual recently when thinking about balance that ties in yoga.  When in Mountain Pose, both feet are planted firmly on the ground, and yet, if you pay close attention, you’ll notice your body kind of naturally circles and pivots round and round.  Occasionally, you will notice you are completely hovered over center, and then you continue to sway around the center point.

We feel our very best when we are perfectly centered, and things are going right on point. 

Yet, if we recognize the swaying as part of the balancing, we can be a little kinder to ourselves and recognize we are still balanced.  

We are still standing.  We may have veered a little over to one side more than the other, but we’re still up. 

How To Deal When A Friendship Has Changed

A few months ago I was working with a client on dealing with some icky things she was going through with a friend.  Some of her frustrations included:

  • Her friend not hanging out as much anymore.
  • Her friend not responding to texts and calls.
  • Her friend constantly canceling plans.

I could go on and on.  I personally felt every frustration my client felt.  I knew she was doing everything in her might to keep the friendship going and her friend just wasn’t having it.  
 
The friendship had changed. 
 
And this realization hurt.

In my experience, there are two ways we can approach this situation:

1. We can allow our frustration to drive how we interact with our friend.  

Pissed she’s bailing, again?  Sad she hasn’t responded to your text in about a month?  This might sound like, “I’m really disappointed you can’t go" or "You never call anymore."
 

2. We can take what our friend is GIVING us in terms of a friendship and run with it.

This is the harder option I know.  This means focusing on the positive.  "I'm so glad we found a day that works for us to hang!" or "It means a ton to catch up."  This also means leaving your anger at the door.

What type of response would make you want to hang out again?

I know we learn throughout our lives how important it is to voice our feelings and be assertive.  And trust me, I am a total advocate of this.  But when you're in this situation, you've got to be careful that your anger isn't in the driver's seat.  Otherwise, you will most definitely push your friend away.   

If your goal is to keep this friend in your life, then the aim should be on letting go of what you cannot change and focusing on enjoying and treasuring the times you do have together.
 
You can tell your friend that you miss spending time with her or that you feel bummed about not hanging out as much, but I strongly encourage you to communicate these feelings when your anger has passed and you feel more in control of your own emotions. 

Remember that you are not the same person you were yesterday, last year, or 5 years ago, and neither is your friend. 

Just as you are changing, she is too.

Notice it.  Accept it.  And more importantly, focus in on being the kind of friend you ultimately wish she was to you.