When you reflect on your life, do you sometimes lament the choices you’ve made, directions you took or didn’t take, and wonder what could have been? You may find that you’ve achieved success in one or more areas of life, yet feel like you have fallen short in others. You might ask if your life is really going as planned? But do you ever ask yourself if the plan was even really yours to begin with? If it wasn’t yours, what got in the way of living the life you wanted to live?
Have you stopped to think about what you believe and how it has impacted who you are and what you have become? If you take a minute to reflect on the path you’ve taken so far, can you say it was aligned with what you really wanted for yourself?
If you weren’t listening to your own heart-felt desires and aspirations, what were you listening to? Whose voice was in your head that made you choose a certain direction in life? Was it your parents, caretakers, family, religion, other authority figures, friends, peers, media and entertainment personalities, advertisers, the Internet?
Belief systems impact every aspect of our lives from our definition of right and wrong, good and bad, to what we do for a living, our idea of a perfect relationship, how we raise our kids, what we eat, how we spend our money and in countless other ways. Our beliefs forge a path for us, whether we know it or not, because they influence how we feel, our actions and the directions we take in life.
Regardless of where they came from, it’s important to ask yourself if you truly agree with the beliefs you have adopted and how they’ve served you. Are they liberating and empowering or limiting and fear-based?
Fear destroys personal freedom. It is a major obstacle to connecting what is in your head with what is in your heart. Fear can prevent you from making choices and taking actions that are aligned with your authentic self.
Limiting thoughts can echo in your mind every time you decide to play bigger in the world. They may say… you’re not good enough, good-looking enough, strong enough, smart enough or that you shouldn’t be doing what your heart calls you to do because it’s not realistic. Yet somehow that deep desire or calling in us to do something more doesn’t go away.
That desire to pursue our calling reflects a deep wish to be our authentic selves and to use our unique gifts and talents in the world- the very reason why we were put on this planet. However, along the way, we learn that self-expression doesn’t always feel safe, as that journey comes with challenges. It’s at these times, that it becomes convenient to adopt a restrictive belief system to assuage our fears, whatever they may be. Often we end up placing ourselves in a confining box that may make us feel safe and secure, but at what cost?
If you find yourself agreeing with beliefs that are limiting and fear-based, ask yourself why? It’s important to determine the source of the belief so you can discern if it’s valid, as many fears are just possibilities generated by the creativity of our minds, fueled by programming from our past. We tend to focus on “what ifs,” worrying about all the things that could possibly go wrong. But ask yourself – What if I don’t pursue what I am called to do in this life? What would that mean to you?
Inaction towards what we are called to do is really action towards something else that may be less desirable. You’ll never know what will actually happen in life unless you take action towards what you want. And if a challenge crosses your path, transcending it is an opportunity for growth and for you to use your creativity productively.
You have the power to overcome the thoughts in your head that hold you back. You can start with being conscious of who and what you are listening to, whether in your internal dialogue or your external environment. You may have subconsciously adopted limiting thoughts and belief systems throughout your life, but you can become conscious of them…if you pay attention.
Listen to what you say to yourself. Think about where it comes from and if it serves you. Think for yourself – you don’t need anyone’s permission. You have the power of discernment – use it. Consider who you spend your time with and what you spend your time doing. Does it feel right? How does it serve you? How will being around a certain person or watching a particular program make you feel or help you to achieve your goals? Question everything.
You can change your path anytime and plot a new course, but first you need to know what you really want. If you are already clear on your next direction, what beliefs prevent you from taking action?
From here on out, spend some time every day reflecting on what you believe, where your beliefs come from, and how they serve you. You might be surprised at what you find.
About the Author
Michael Tominac has been actively involved with personal development for most of his life and has been a leader and successful entrepreneur for nearly twenty years. He has worked with a range of organizations, from small family-owned businesses to Fortune 100 companies and holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Michael is a Higher Ground Leadership® Certified Coach and is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), having received his formal coach training from the Center for Coaching Mastery at CoachVille. Originally from Northern New Jersey, he currently resides with his wife in the Lower Hudson Valley, New York. Visit his inspiring blog here, MichaelTominac.com.
**Copyright © 2015 Michael Tominac. All rights reserved. Re-posted here with permission.**
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