Executive Coaching

Letting Go of False Solidity

Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished
-Author Unknown

We crave safety and fear change. Anything that disrupts our sense of safety could be perceived as a threat. When we engage in behaviors that protect our feelings of safety we are essentially putting ourselves in a box. Brendan Bruchard, in “The Charge”  calls this box a cage. Either way, we create four walls or four sets of bars that make it difficult for us to change and to fully engage in life. Burchard shares that the cage represents being mired in others expectations for us no matter how outdated these expectations are. People in cages are not able to let go of yesterday’s results, are challenged to be their true selves, and buy-in to false labels, assumptions and beliefs.

What do your four walls look like? How did they become walls for you? Marshall Goldsmith in “MOJO” tells us that the starting place for these walls may be our identity. We can live in four places of identity or mostly likely a combination of one of these four. The identities are; remembered; reflected; programmed; and created. In our remembered identity we draw upon events that impacted us from our childhood until now. These are moments that have had a major impact on us and depending upon how we interpret these events, they can take us into our future or hold us in our boxes. Our reflected identity is the meeting of our past and other people’s opinions of us. Without realizing it, our parents, teachers, siblings, friends and others have had impacts on how we see ourselves. Feedback is important yet feedback that is not offered with kindness and in the true spirit of giving can not only be damaging but can live on for many years in our lives. Goldsmith advices us that our reflected identity is not predictive of who we can become rather only a point in our past. The third identity, programmed identity, represents messages from others about who we can become. We all know those parents and teachers who told us the “one” role we should become. I was just at an event with a teenager who aspired to be a doctor, engineer, and lawyer. I thought it was amazing and encouraged her to explore all of those possibilities and maybe even consider how two could be combined. Finally, the created identity is where our power is. This is where we have the power to change and to become both the “who” and “what” we want to without limitations from the past or from others. When we are able to remain most of the time in our created identity we feel empowered, energized and ready to take on the world. A quick gut check will tell you where you are spending most of your time.

Our boxes also reinforce creating the same thoughts, behaviors and action on an on-going basis. Jack Canfield in “The

Blocks to Change

Success Principles”  advises us to stop creating the same experiences over an over again. He shares that in living the same experiences over and over again we are stuck in an endless loop of reinforcing behavior. Starting with our thoughts-which are attached to the current event in our life-we create images which govern our behaviors which reinforce the thoughts. When the thoughts are limiting you can see how the process will impede our doing anything different. A solution is to change your thoughts and/or your reaction to the event. I encourage my clients to start with the littlest things first such as what you say to yourself when you are waking in the morning. Are you excited about the day to come or are you living yesterday?

Jim Loehr in “The Power of Story” names these reactions to events stories. We have stories about everything that happen to us and these stories can limit us or help us transcend what is going on around us. Loehr calls the stories that hold us back “old stories”. They are essentially excuses that we use to justify behaviors and actions. These stories limit us because we actually believe them and without challenging them with a “is it true?” statement we continue to live into them.

A question I have used in previous blogs is “who would I be without this excuse or story”? If you have a story about why you cannot do something such as time for exercise, changing careers, or being the best version of you, ask yourself who you would be without that story. You might be surprised by your response. In order to ask this question you have to be willing to let go of false solidity. Even though the ground may feel unsteady when you begin the process, you have the power to steady yourself as you have clarity and willingly let go!

To Your Success!

(1) Brendon Burchard
(2) Marshall Goldsmith
(3) Jack Canfield
(4) Jim Loehr

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