These 13 behaviours limit your ability to get the results you are capable of, and more importantly they limit the happiness available to you in your daily life – be it personally with your level of peace and happiness, or the quality of your relationships and health, or be it professionally with what you are able to create in your job or business.
Stress, tension, confusion, resistance, frustration, overload, burnout, defeatism, negativity, and unnecessary and illusionary feelings of failure, are all flow on effects of being caught up in the cycle of these common and limiting behaviours.
Here’s the deal – most people face the same types of challenges, and similar patterns/themes stand out, because while we are all living with different circumstances, different visions and dreams, many of us have grown up with the same type of societal conditioning that affects our perspective of ourselves, our life and how the world operates. That is, many people have a similar limiting paradigm they live from.
It’s your paradigm (how you view everything in life) that affects whether you thrive or not. The answer to thriving and “success” is not to solely focus on going “out there” into the world with goals and taking new actions, trying to change the circumstances of your life. Yes, you must take action and ensure that action is optimal, effective, efficient and precisely targeted to your desire outcomes, but you MUST also consider your paradigm (how you perceive and make sense of everything in life through your beliefs and thought patterns) and your way of being (your energy, attitude and choices) that feed into everything you do. These are what drive your behaviours! In essence, what you do (your action plan personally and professionally) is 100% coming directly out of your paradigm/way of being.
Toxic paradigm = toxic results
Limited paradigm = limited results
Optimal paradigm = optimal results
Here’s the big block… most people think, “But I’m just the way I am. I believe what I believe. How I see the world is just how it is. I know what is real because of my past experiences.” That is, they accept their paradigm to be a ball and chain.
Yes, you are the way you are currently, and you’re magical with all your gifts and quirks included. But every aspect of you is OFO – open for optimisation!
Optimisation through incremental change (the journey of transformation) is what allows you to come to know your full potential first hand (totally busting what you previously thought were your limits), and that change includes, first and foremost, shifts in your paradigm.
It’s about dissolving what doesn’t serve you and magnifying what does.
These 13 points below are to trigger you, as a wake up call, to ask you to consider very carefully which of these are true for you currently, and to ask you to make today the first day of a new chapter in your life. The world needs what you have – it needs your gifts, talents, your uniqueness and whatever goals, dreams, vision and contribution you are here to make in your relationships, in your community, in your employment or self-employment. Do not hold yourself back any longer!
1. Stop Saying Yes to Everyone and Everything
Most people who say yes to everything, when deep down they would rather say no, are doing so typically due to one of three things:
- Firstly, they don’t even realise they are doing it. They are not consciously living their life, they have no awareness and are operating on auto-pilot. They know they don’t love their life and they aren’t experiencing the results they want, but haven’t linked this habit of saying yes to everyone/everything at their own expense, to the fact they don’t have the life they really want.
- Secondly, they know they are doing it, and they just can’t stop themselves because of how awkward it makes them feel to say no. They equate saying yes to being a good person, to being a nice person, to making others happy and to keeping the peace. They don’t know how to say no to others in a way that allows them to respect the other person and respect themselves.
- Thirdly, they know they are doing it and they like it, because it makes them feel needed and gives them a sense of belonging, even if saying yes drains them, doesn’t align to what they really want to be doing, and doesn’t allow them to live the type of personal and professional life they truly want for themselves.
Are you living your life for you, or for everyone else? At the end of the day, when you have said yes to all requests and met the needs of whoever it was that asked you, what does that leave you with?
You may have a fleeting sense of validation, feeling worthy and needed. You may have escaped an awkward 30 seconds in conversation by defaulting to yes. But those are small, superficial and meaningless pay-offs compared to what is available to you at a deeper level in terms of your own personal thriving and professional success if you start to align your “Yes and No” responses to what is really important to you.
You only have so much physical, emotional and mental energy to give into the world every day. You only have so many hours in the day. Become the guardian of your time and energy. You need to learn how to channel your energy like a sniper if you want to get maximum results. And by “maximum results”, I mean inner peace, a sense of personal power, the feeling of mental and emotional freedom, happiness, joy, health, wellbeing, thriving relationships, as well as the more well known forms of results and “success” such as an abundant and fulfilling career/business.
Give of yourself where you feel guided to contribute. Give of yourself where you know intuitively it is best to. And then practise the art of saying no, with love and compassion, to anything takes you off-course and away from your true needs and goals/dreams. Once you understand why you say yes to everything and everyone, it allows you the first step of reclaiming your power to turn things around – because awareness is the #1 ingredient for transformation. With that awareness of why you do what you do, you can begin to make new conscious choices.
2. Stop Being in Reaction Mode
There are two ways of operating in your daily life, and this holds true for your personal life and your professional life. The two modes are proactive and reactive.
Many people are living with a vision in their heads of what they think their life could be, of what they most desire, and then they don’t behave in alignment with that vision in order to create it. The vision is useless without you to bring it into reality. To do that takes the right paradigm, but it also takes the right action.
Life is incredibly busy for us all. We have things we want to create, achieve, be and do. Then we have things that unexpectedly arise and come into our path constantly throughout each day, calling for our attention – the phone rings, the children need something, emails flood the inbox, a client asks new questions, a friend wants you to help them with something, the car breaks down…
Problems arise when you live predominantly in reactionary mode. Your vision in your head doesn’t in any way translate to your daily routine and how you manage your energy and time. You are called a fire-fighter, turning your attention to whatever calls the loudest to you, from one thing to the next, from one phone call to the next, from one email to the next, from one crisis to the next… you are constantly at the demanding call of whatever is happening around you. There are times when it is 100% appropriate, good and to your benefit to be in reactionary mode, both at work and at home. However, if you remain in that mode constantly you will never achieve what you most desire. You have to learn:
- how to operate in proactive mode
- when to act in response to an incoming situation/trigger/opportunity (by prioritising with a big picture perspective)
- when to delay your response and focus on the task at hand, and
- HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME AND ENERGY each day.
If you are prone to being pushed around by what is going on around you, never quite finding the time do what you intended to do, here’s a mantra to start each day…
3. Stop Operating in Black & White
Life is not black and white, though most people wish it was. Black and white feels like you know where you stand, and it gives you a sense of certainty. People crave certainty. It makes them feel assured, confident, safe and on target.
The reality is that life is not that way, and there are varying degrees of gray. People who understand the grayness of life, are able to be more open minded, open hearted and conscious in how they live personally and how they operate professionally. This means:
- They are an open door for opportunity (because they spot things that live in the gray area, that others wouldn’t notice when their eyes and ears only tune into black and white certainty),
- They are magnetic to others (great for relationship building) because they are adaptable, flexible and have dynamic energy, and
- They are more agile for creating their success personally and professionally in less time with less expended energy to get there. Why is this point the case for “Gray People” and not “Black & White” People?
Well, people operating in black and white like to hold onto what they believe, what they do and stick to it. They ignore indicators that don’t match their preferred black and white view of reality. They are not agile. They stay on a path and stick to their guns even if it’s not necessarily working, because it’s familiar, it’s what they decided was best and they don’t like the gray area that arises if they consider what other options are available. And most powerfully to note, people addicted to operating in black and white resist change. Change means uncertainty and the gray area they dread. But if one thing is for sure about our world… change is a constant and it’s one of the only things you can rely on! So learn how to flow with it.
Bringing a black and white perspective to your life holds you back in every regard and you can train yourself out of it. You have to be willing and committed but it is totally available for transformation (spoken by a former Black & White Guru!). The first step is to realise that any fear, anxiousness, nervousness or uncertainty you feel when you consider stepping into a gray area (where no clear answers exist) is completely normal, and it is part of the process of entering uncertain territory. If you didn’t know this, you’d be tempted to stick to what you know at all costs, because you could misread your feelings of fear as being ‘bad’. In fact, anyone learning to live in the gray area of life knows that it can be uncomfortable at times, but worth it when you realise that…
4. Stop Doing What You Know Isn’t Good for You
You also know what things you do that make you feel bad, that don’t lift you up, which aren’t good for your health, which lead to negative outcomes personally or professionally, which if you considered closely would be definite “no go” zone for living the life you are truly capable of. You don’t need any coach to tell you what they are – you know, don’t deny it!
So, quite simply, stop doing the things that you know aren’t good for you! Take your knowledge and practise it. Act upon what you know will take you into the life you desire. It’s all right there waiting for you, but you have to create it. And, to create it, you have to WANT IT! Your choices each day are creating your outcomes. Your life is a series of moments, where you can ignore what you know is good for you and suffer the consequences (and eventually people will not want to hear your sad story any more because you took yourself there of your own free will) or you can do what you know is best for yourself and reap the benefits.
You have to get conscious! Consciousness is simply awareness. It is becoming present in your personal and professional life to what you say, what you do, how you behave and making moment-by-moment choices that align to the life you want, to the person you know you are capable of being.
Next time you want to thunder in response to someone who upset you… breathe, bring in present awareness, and make a choice that serves you. Next time you want to eat every chocolate bar in sight because you didn’t get the feeling you wanted in a relationship or experience… breathe, bring in present awareness, and make a choice that serves you. Next time you want to run and hide from an opportunity that triggers fear… breathe, bring in present awareness, and make a choice that serves you.
I am not diminishing the challenges you face or the difficulty of breaking the habits you have, because we all experience these things in life to some degree. But I won’t pander to you, treating you like a victim of yourself and making you feel small by indicating that this shift is any more challenging than a) awareness, b) choices and c) constant practise. Each time you stumble, pick yourself up, and practise again, and again, and again. That is the foundation of all sustainable change. You are bigger and more capable than any habit or challenge you face.
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5. Stop Thinking You Should Be Able to Do it All
The modern world has too long sold a story of superman and superwoman, with people attempting to be everything and do everything, at the expense of their physical, mental or emotional well-being. You are not superman, or superwoman. You are human.
You only have so much energy to expend in this world each day. You can do very powerful things with that energy, if you are conscious about it. You have to get real about what you want to do with it, and what you are capable of, and to surrender the need to appear invincible. It is not weak to live in alignment with your inherent human capacity. No one is going to pin a badge on your chest for running yourself ragged. No one is going to come and save you if you work yourself into the ground in order to keep up an image (for yourself or for others) of being unbreakable, unbeatable or “perfect”.
Perfection is a perpetuated myth. It doesn’t exist. Stop trying to be it all and do it all at the expense of the life you really want to live. Listen to what your body needs and nourish it. Listen to what your intuition tells you and act upon it. Make the life you really want to live MORE IMPORTANT than the image you want to have. (Tweet)
6. Stop Holding Yourself Back from Opportunities
Fear. Self-sabotage. Finding reasons not to grab opportunities. Avoiding stepping up to the next stage of your evolution. This is surprisingly common. We find comfort in what we know. We like that zone of familiarity. The challenge is this: the vision of the life that is possible for you and your goals/dreams personally and professionally – they do not exist in your comfort zone. They are beyond it. They exist in uncertain territory.
You can aspire for a particular goal professionally. You can desire to have a particular relationship personally. You can dream about your product/service reaching the market. You can imagine being a leader in your field. You can see yourself slimmer, healthier, fitter, stronger. But you can also, at the very same time, be stuck in fear:
Fear of what?
- Fear of letting go of what you know
- Fear of walking out to create what you desire without knowing exactly how to do that
- Fear of failure
- Fear of asking too much of yourself, life or others
- Fear of what will be asked of you as you put yourself out there
- Fear that the effort it might take will outweigh the benefits
… and as a result of that fear you consciously or unconsciously sabotage yourself by ignoring, avoiding, delaying or directly hindering opportunities that would invite such change.
If you do not have awareness of yourself (ie. you are not living consciously) then your mind will own you. If your mind owns you, then your fear runs you. That will stop you from grabbing opportunities, from reaching beyond what you currently know and do, from creating the next level you’re capable of. You have to flip the situation and start owning your mind and using it to your advantage. You do this by bringing in awareness and presence to your daily life. You start to watch your thoughts, you start to witness your feelings and notice how they impact your choices. You start to notice your decision making process and rationale. Once you understand how you have been operating, with clarity, you can make better choices, with new tools and start to exercise your courage muscle to go beyond your comfort zone by grabbing opportunities as they arise. There will still be fear as you step forward, but that is an entirely normal feeling response to entering uncertain territory, and the fear doesn’t necessarily dispel until you literally create your vision and then you realise the fear actually had no bite. It was a toothless tiger preying on your mind, and nothing more.
7. Stop Sacrificing Your Rituals for No Good Reason
Rituals are things you do that lift you up. They are anchors in your daily life that keep you centred and grounded, make you feel better, and bring more peace, health and happiness to your experience of life. Their flow on effect is that you feel more connected to what is real and valuable about your life, you are more grateful, and you are able to hold your presence and consciousness more easily in the face of life challenges. Rituals give you inner peace and a sense of freedom and empowerment, which flow on to feed your success in the ‘outer’ world.
Rituals are things like exercise, being in nature, quality time with loved ones, yoga, meditation, affirmations, wellbeing and health activities, “off mode” time (e.g no work, no thinking about work, no planning about work, nothing to do with work, obligations, commitments or problems).
When I see people who are experiencing difficulty in their life, and imbalance has them stuck, 75% of the time they have no well-being rituals (they never did, or they did have but stopped practising them).
Here is the fascinating thing… rituals are not a practise for the bad times when you want to pull yourself out of a tough patch in your life. Rituals are for every day, in good times and in bad times. Rituals are a tool to help you out of a rut, but they are also the reason you stay out of the rut. They are what keeps you up. Here is the even more fascinating and common thing I see… people practise rituals to get their life back on track, and once they feel great and things are going well, they stop practising their rituals and the flow-on effect… gradually over days or perhaps weeks they start to notice the negative impact.
The demands of life mean you have to flex from time to time, adjusting what and when you do things, but never fall into the habit of sacrificing your well-being rituals. Without your wellbeing, you are completely stuck! Learn how to create balance in your life so you thrive from the inside out, and you will notice how much more in control of your life you feel as a result.
8. Stop Beating Up on Yourself
What goes on inside of your mind is within your control. You will be presented with enough challenges and triggers externally over your lifetime, you don’t need to add to that by creating your own inner problems through negative self-talk, beating up on yourself when things don’t go the way you want.
If you want to thrive personally and professionally, and you want healthy relationships, then start treating yourself like you would treat someone you dearly love. How can you expect to soar high in this life if your inner conversation is septic. Your outer world is a reflection of your inner paradigm. Success is an inside out job!
9. Stop Pushing Ahead without Re-evaluating
Sometimes the desire for “success” is so strong that people become focused on their end result with such precision that they block out everything else. Powering ahead with missile like focus on your target means you bring immense precision to what you do and it means you drive toward a goal giving it everything. That can lead to success.
However, it also means you may not be taking the time to stop and re-evaluate if your target is still relevant, if “the goals posts have moved”, if the market has changed, or if new factors/people need to be considered.
Every path we walk down looks “right” at the time we start walking it, but in our dynamic and ever changing world, both personally and professionally, we have to realise that life is a constant process of evolution. We must factor in what goes on around us as we weave our path in life, adjusting our direction and goals as necessary to fit the environment we are operating within. At times, it can even be about stopping and re-evaluating what we really want. For example, if you’re intent on a relationship, career or business and give it everything without stopping to “health check” or “sanity check” or consider how it aligns to your evolving life/vision, you may wake up one day after many years on that path to suddenly realise what you wanted all those years ago is no longer relevant or fulfilling. This is very common.
There is nothing wrong with re-evaluating and assessing whether your current direction serves you. Sometimes people are afraid to stop and do this, in case the answer is no. They fear not knowing what to do next if they find a misalignment. Thriving starts with asking the right questions and being open to the answers, even if that leads to a temporary period of discomfort and adjustment. Clarity is always better than ignorance. Truly, ignorance is not always bliss!
10. Stop Talking About What Isn’t Working
It’s very easy to get focused on a problem with the intent of resolving it, but instead end up in an endless cycle of talking about the problem. You can’t solve a problem by focusing on it. You can’t solve a problem by talking about it over and over again. You can only solve a problem by assessing it and understanding it, through bringing a different thinking, energy and intention to it than the one which created it in the first place. You must bring in solution eyes. Talk about the problem by all means, but for two reasons only… firstly to see what you can learn from it and secondly to devise a solution to it.
I have seen people become addicted to their problems, where habit sees them replay the same problem conversation, and they resist shifting their attention onto the solution. This is unconscious and habitual behaviour, and keeps you in victim mindset. This can be very effectively and promptly resolved with support, to shift you into victor mindset. It is not a difficult shift to make, but an entirely necessary one if you don’t want to live in the midst of, and attached to, things in your life which don’t work for you.
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11. Stop Trading off Well-being for Success
Too many people have been conditioned to believe in a dangerous falsehood, that we must make a choice between well-being and success. This plays out in life in different ways, such as people feeling the need to make a choice between career and family, between success and balance, between living our dreams and meeting our obligations, and on it goes.
There is no need to live in the illusion that you can’t have inner peace, inner freedom, well-being, and success across your personal and professional life. Success at work, for example, does not have to come at the cost of your health, or at the cost of being with the people you love. Habits have people stuck in working particular hours, in spending their downtime in particular ways, in letting go of their well-being rituals and practises, and in convincing themselves that all of this is necessary to “get ahead, achieve, be a success and thrive”. It is an illusion to believe this is the only way to achieve what you want. It is not so.
Everything is perspective, everything is choice. If you are willing to challenge your rationale about how you live your life, you will find there is far more room for a shift in your experience than you might realise. For example, you might realise that you don’t have to forgo well-being, health, inner peace, or relationships in order to achieve the “success” you want professionally. Or you might see that having better boundaries around how you work would in fact allow you to balance up your life, health and relationships in a way that not only improves these things, but also improves your work because of how much more centred and happy you are (thus the more productive and creative you are!)
12. Stop Getting On & Off the Train
The train is going from point A to point B. You want to make it to point B (your desired experience of life). You can stay on the train and you will achieve what you desire in the most effective, efficient and peaceful way. Or, you can get on and off the train all the way along, expending energy every time, creating confusion and delaying the possible.
You are either committed to your life and creating your vision or you are yo-yo’ing. If you are committed then you get on the train and you stay on it. If you are not committed, you get on and off, on and off, on and off. It’s an exhausting yo-yo cycle I’ve noticed many people have gone through before they come to me for coaching. It’s okay, it’s a normal experience to go through. But at some point you have to say enough is enough, and make the commitment (for your own sanity and your own potential) to stay on the train!
It’s easy to set yourself up for success and to stay on the train once you have the support, the insight and the tools you need. Firstly you need to know a) what triggers you to get off the train in the first place and b) why that triggers you specifically/uniquely. Then you are armed with the insight to put in place an effective solution for that root-cause.
13. Stop Playing Small
You are the greatest block you will ever experience in your lifetime. You are also the greatest solution. Life is designed this way. This is the process of personal evolution.
There comes a point in life where you have to make a choice. The choice is this: To stop playing a small game where you diminish your true capability and you hide from what you most desire… and instead you greet every day with a big heart, with awareness, with an open mind and you say “YES!” to life and “YES!” to owning your space here on this planet to be all you can be and to make your own unique contribution.
And I leave with with the timeless words of Marianne Williamson. My mother gave me this quote when I was a child. Every child needs to be given this to read… to know as truth for themselves.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love