Why You Want to Stop Declaring Who You Are | Blog
Why You Want to Stop Declaring Who You Are | Blog
What if the only thing between you and having a whole new experience of who you can be is an illusion of THOUGHT?
This past week, I was helping a friend do some strategic planning for her non-profit. This is her second year and as part of our agenda we spent time looking at the evolution and growth of her organization. It was really inspiring and fun to see everything she and her team have created. Afterwards, she was reflecting and said, “I haven’t really looked at it as a whole, I’ve just done the next thing.” I loved this comment for so many reasons.
One of those being, that it points to how we create momentum in our work—in our businesses. We engage in the next thing. It’s simple, yet it is where we learn to follow the natural momentum and where results take shape. Another reason I loved her comment was the fact that I knew it was never in her plans to start or run a non-profit. In fact, she was incredibly resistant to the idea. A few years ago, we were hanging out at a coffee shop talking about her work. She made the comment, “I have no desire to start or run a non-profit.” I asked her why and she went on to say something like, “I’m not good at that. I don’t have the kind of personality to do it, etc.” I was curious about what she said and to be honest, I wasn’t really “buying it”. I could see that she could do this. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something along the lines of, “Do you think that’s really true?” What happened in the moments to follow, was exciting and fun to watch unfold.
She instinctively began to defend her position but then she stopped and just smiled. As soon as those words came out of her mouth, she could hear and see the fallacy of them. She could see how she was expressing an old idea of herself which was nothing more than thought. She could feel it was NOT a truth but an idea she had been living in. As soon as she saw THOUGHT and not truth, her resistance fell away. Literally, in the next moment, she said, “Oh wait, I could do that.” She immediately started to see new possibilities and potential. She said, “I don’t know what I’m doing, but I can figure it out. I can get help.” And in that new space of a freer mind, she got inspired and excited about the idea. She started laughing and said, “I can see it so clearly now. Starting a non-profit is the next step.”
This is what happens when old ideas, constraints, or limited thinking about ourselves, falls away—options appear that we didn’t see before. We see what’s possible. We don’t have to convince ourselves or reframe ideas. We naturally see more potential and new ideas emerge.
I could go on and share all sorts of amazing synchronistic events that took place for her after this conversation. Things like: meeting a woman that offered to sponsor her so she could get her status sooner to meeting the incredible woman that would become her Board chair to getting approval for her work to be part of an extensive research project, and so much more.
During the strategy-planning session, we were celebrating and acknowledging how her willingness to let go of what she thought she could and couldn’t do had created a new organization that has had a huge impact in the lives of hundreds of people.
Seeing THOUGHT versus truth allowed her to expand her own capabilities. She didn’t gain new skills in that instant and she’s had to learn a lot along the way, but what she did gain was a powerful knowing that she would figure it out. She had what she needed to rise to the occasion. She knew the next step and has let that be her guide throughout these last two years.
When we think we know, we stop learning. When we put a stake in the ground about who we are, our strengths, our weaknesses, what we can & can’t do, we start to experience life and ourselves in a more limited way. We label and close ourselves off. We determine what is true and then live as if there is nothing new to experience or see about ourselves or the world we live in.
Yet, here is a powerful truth: our personality is not fixed; our potential is not fixed; our ability to have new thought & fresh ideas is not fixed. Beyond the thoughts and ideas of who we think we are, lies an infinite potential of new experiences.
I see this often with the solopreneurs & entrepreneurs I work with. They feel up against a limitation within themselves, their ability to scale, to have more reach, more impact, etc. People say things like, “I don’t have it in me.” “It’s not my strength.” “I’m flawed; this idea is flawed; this situation is flawed”. It is declarations such as these that create an internal experience of limitation—a box in which we place ourselves and our ideas and in doing so restrict the potential for growth.
Once someone realizes they are only experiencing a limitation of thought, a profound shift takes place. Thought falls away. Mental constructs of who they think they are, what they think is possible, and even the original “problem”, transforms—in its place, new inspiration, clarity, and hopefulness arise.
This is innate. Every one of us comes with the natural ability to shift from a constricted, tense mind to a freer and more present mind. When we stop looking in the direction of limitation or what we think we know, we naturally expand and begin to get new thoughts and ideas.
When we get less “married to” everything we think we know about ourselves, we will naturally see new.
What occurs to us from a locked-in opinion versus an open, neutral and curious mind is very different. When we go beyond the problem, the perceived limitation, and look in the direction of our infinite well of being, we are often pleasantly surprised with what we see.
Again, I ask, what if the only thing between you and having a whole new experience of who you can be is an illusion of THOUGHT?
“When we think we know, we stop learning.”
More than any other way, when we step without hesitation into what we don’t know—the unknown—we experience ourselves fresh.
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Barbara Patterson is the owner of a global coaching and consulting company bringing the insights of performance and fulfillment to clients around the world. She helps organizations, leaders, entrepreneurs and coaches access more clarity, creativity, have greater impact and higher levels of performance in work and life. Barb is the Founder of Beyond Limits in Business and host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. If you’d like to experience in-depth, robust and transformative mentoring for you and your business check out Barb’s 6-month Beyond Limits Small Group Mentoring Program. You can follow Barb on Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. You can also subscribe to her weekly blog on her website at barbarapatterson.com