It is proven in neuroscience that the beliefs instilled in you as a child can hold you back as an adult. Those things that we were told or experienced (perception being reality, especially for a child) become etched in our brain and established as our lifelong belief system. The brain continues to use those beliefs to protect us from perceived hurt, pain, rejection and failure.
What would happen if you let those go? Who could you become? What dreams did you set aside because someone told you that you couldn’t or shouldn’t do something? What do you feel you’ve been missing out on? What greatness are you stifling because of your false doubts of yourself? Most people settle for content and comfortable. But we are worth and deserve so much more!
I came across many nostalgic items as my sister and I packed up our Mother’s things after she passed. So many memories resurfaced! I loved finding the box of clay art each of us (my brother, sister and I) created as youngsters in school. Of course ashtrays abound along with various other lumpy colorful works. One that fascinated me was the creation I made in fourth grade- a person doing sit-ups. Really, sit-ups? Looking back now, I wouldn’t have thought I even knew what a sit-up was then. It really struck me that I came up with that at such an age. But it had meaning for me now as a late-life entrant into the fitness industry.
Given my recent life transition, I’ve been pondering a lot about dreams I left behind in childhood to follow the path I was “supposed” to follow. The reasonable path set by societal and familial expectations. This is the one that I followed for 16 years; “Successful”? Yes. Fulfilled? No
Holding onto my novice work of art I thought back to how as a child I longed for movement, music, expression and helping others. I dreamed of being a dancer, dancing around the house for hours in our red carpeted basement by myself to my sister’s record albums! But this wasn’t a reasonable career choice. I would struggle financially, my parents wanted more for me than they had. I was too short anyway and we didn’t have enough money for such training. I also recalled how I knew I wanted to help others, simply help the world in some way. In my mind at that time that meant being a doctor or a veterinarian. But, you had to be really smart to do that, have a lot of money for school, and besides, wouldn’t I cry at the death of my first bird let alone puppy or human being? Don’t be silly, I was way to emotional to handle such things.
When we are told something as a child, or see things in action before us, it becomes our solid, unquestioned belief and standard mode of operation for living. We believe what those we look up to tell us; those who care for us and protect us. It usually is done out of love and protection. In other unfortunate cases it may be out of verbal abuse or jealousy. Whatever the source, it CAN be overcome. Don’t ignore your desires or hold back from making great life shifts just because that recording in your head says “you can’t” before even giving it a shot. Stop that voice next time and ask “why not, dammit!” Answer the question as the child you were, and then challenge that child as the powerful, strong adult you are now. The beliefs are so prevalent because it isn’t our common nature to question it. But with the awareness of it and taking the action enough- the adult will win.
It takes a lot of work, coaching, and discipline to change beliefs. It’s a lifelong journey. But, it allowed me to walk away from a stereotypically successful career and attractive salary to start again and follow my dreams. It happened a little bit at a time, but it happened by following my passion, not letting old belief systems stop me, not caring what people think. Becoming transparent to the world because even if thousands laugh but 1 person is inspired to action, I’ve done my job.
Years ago I never would have expected this Technology Exec to be living life as a Dance Fitness Instructor and Certified Personal Transition & Business Coach today. I’m loving life!!
I would never change the experiences I had or years in the corporate world. It gave me the business acumen and technology skills to be the entrepreneur I am today, and continue to become. Little by little, following what I loved (instead of what I thought I was supposed to do), sharing my authentic self and seeing that it inspired people, allowed me to see doors that were in front of me all along.
You can’t see those doors of opportunity with your belief blinders on. What’s holding you back? Challenge those old patterns and let’s start soaring together!