The Blog

February 24, 2010

Believe or not to believe

In my coaching world, I hear “change your thoughts to change your life” a lot. Yet clients often tell me that they have already been trying to be positive, but still can’t seem to make any real lasting changes in their lives.  I commonly hear things like:

  • Why can’t I seem to lose weight?
  • Why aren’t I getting the relationship I want?
  • How can I bring more money into my life?
  • Why isn’t my business is improving?

First off, positive thinking does not work without actually believing the thought is possible. I have tested this many times as an athlete.  For example, when I had positive thoughts about making junior nationals as a young athlete it was more of a hope than a belief.  The hope triggered my struggle.  I began to have mental mind clutter such as:  “I am not the chosen one; I am not good enough yet; or I don’t have the talent.”

As you can see, the the thought “I can make junior nationals” was a trigger to so many of my other limiting beliefs.

  • I am not good enough
  • The time is not right for me now
  • I need to work harder
  • I don’t have the talent

So the positive thought (“I can make junior nationals”) triggered my limiting beliefs I had about myself.  When I was finally able to make junior nationals (and I do mean finally, I was in my own way for a long time) I dropped the belief or the hope of making the time standard.  I did this by stopping the focus on the end result of my belief – making junior nationals.  I did not quit, or stop swimming.  Instead I focused on why I swam and competed – FUN!  By letting go of the thought “I can make junior nationals” the trigger to my other thoughts dissipated and I did not get attached to my more internal beliefs.

Surrender – dropping the belief

This is the letting go or surrendering part.  I did not give up or quit swimming, I began swimming again for the pure joy.  I was no longer swimming to prove my belief could really be true and therefore determine who I was or could become now that I had reached my goal.  And then by dropping the positive thought “I can make junior nationals” I swam for joy and what do you know, not only qualified for junior nationals but improved my time by 2 seconds (a lot in the swimming world).

I have taken that lesson I learned as a teenager and applied over and over again in my life’s journey.  Sure sometimes, positive thinking with my beliefs intact create the possiblities in my life.  However if I find those positive thoughts to be triggering something deep inside or I make it mean something that I so want or feel I need so badly it is time for me to stop.  I let go of the of the thoughts, remember the reason I am doing what I am doing and continue on.  And what do you know I begin to create the life I want, do the Bikram yoga pose that I so struggled with before, change my childhood money story and so many other things.

The Takeaway

When working with my clients and they ask me those questions, sometimes I suggest letting go of the positive thinking and understand why they want what they want.  And what do they make what they want mean?  By exploring those two things it can help take away the triggers and the barriers to getting the results that they truly want in their life.