The story you tell yourself about why you are not where you want to be – often, unwittingly day in and day out – becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Scary thought, isn’t it?
As much as you probably don’t want to answer the question, I’d urge you to:
1. List out your responses in detail: I’m not where I want to be in my life because… You’ve got to be totally honest with yourself. Were there experiences you had as a child that have limited who you think you can become and what you see yourself capable of doing?
It’s no new revelation that our parents were flawed human beings who did their best with the skills they had. But you don’t want to give anyone the power now to determine who you are going to become.
We’ve all had hardship, problems and setbacks. Some people have been through real trauma. And this is all relative. Just because your past may not sound as challenging now as someone else’s, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t cramped your true style.
Conclude your story by writing: “I’ll never achieve the success I want because…”
You want to look at the story you’ve been telling yourself and feel disgust: see it dripping with excuses and the lack of ownership since you turned 18.
Next, read the story aloud. Better, pretend that God (however you define this) or someone you respect enormously just walked into the room and tell them your story.
Please, experience this versus just reading this.
If you don’t change your story, your outcomes will generally be the same for the rest of your life.
2. Journal on this: How do I feel about letting this old story dictate the rest of my life?
The only way you will change your current trajectory is based on:
a) Shifting the type of person you want to be – an ‘identity’ shift – how you see yourself
b) The actions you take to prove to your brain that you’re becoming this type of person
And how long that takes depends on how hard-wired these things are. Either way, you want to dig into the emotion of your excuse story.
3. List out your limiting beliefs
One of the most telling exercises I know of is to write out five things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t and then write three reasons beside each thing. Avoid putting time and money as reasons you’ve not done them because these diminish you. Err towards writing ‘lack of resourcefulness’ or ‘yet to manage my time effectively enough’.
Another useful exercise is to write out ‘10 empowering beliefs I have about myself and 10 negative beliefs”.
The reason to be clear on these things is to call them out in your new story…
4. Write your new story
The easiest place to start this is by reversing what you wrote about yourself in your old story. If you lacked confidence, then you write about becoming increasingly confident. If you’ve been too much of a people pleaser, then you’re someone who sets healthy boundaries and for whom ‘no’ is a complete sentence.
Here’s how mine opens:
“I am a resourceful, confident, young 54-year-old big thinker and role model who is ready to pursue his TRUEST passion in life and focus on the cool and positive things that can happen because of it.”
I’d recommend including these phrases that I got from Dean Graziosi’s Millionaire Success Habits:
“I’m empowered because my childhood circumstances taught me…”
One I came up with is: “My childhood GIFTED me…” – and then list your greatest strengths.
“When I combine …(strengths), my life is limitless.”
5. Read your new story aloud at least twice/day and preferably first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Edit it until you love it.
6. When you do achieve a big life goal of yours, how will that make you feel?
List out these feelings. Then add them to your story now. “Today I intend to feel…”
Why? Because why would not want to feel them now? And it will speed up your trajectory. The truth is you will be more motivated if you feel a certain way. Remember BJ Fogg’s research in Tiny Habits? “I change best when I feel good, not when I feel bad.”
Noah St John makes an interesting point in one of his books when he asks: would you rather earn $1m/year working for someone who treats you like scum and that you hate or would you rather make $100,000/year doing work you love that fulfils your passions?
What we most want is to feel a certain way. And once the sticker shock wears off, you don’t want soul destroying. Nor does it mean you won’t make $1m doing what you love.
We think having a luxury lifestyle will guarantee feeling great, but it’s not true. Affluent neighbourhoods are full of lonely, miserable spouses who gave up their pursuits to marry a very wealthy person. I’ve lived in one of those neighbourhoods for seven years, so this is something I didn’t read in a book (!) and I know someone who coaches spouses like this for a living.
7. Compare the two stories
Graziosi concludes: “See how radically different the outcome of your life will be by not only changing one story or one belief but by changing all the stories that do not serve your higher purpose or your true “why”.”
Give yourself time to see results. See all of your growth as preparing for something fairly challenging like (for most people) running a half-marathon. So don’t drop out at mile four.
I really really hope you do these exercises.
Rewrite your life trajectory and become the person you want to be.
All feedback welcome.
Good luck getting there!
Founder & President
Matt Anderson International
1177 Oak Ridge Drive, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
Phone: +001 (312) 622-3121