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Barbara Jordan
Jul 20, 2012

A Complicated Life

Because life is complicated, your mind's job is to filter out all information that’s considered irrelevant to the task at hand. Your conscious mind represses, suppresses, ignores, or forgets any irrelevant data. It protects us from change, the unfamiliar, or anything that threatens status quo. For example, some of my clients step back from coaching because they get too close to something that may take them out of their comfort zone. Change is scary. As you know, change and continuous improvement is crucial for us because nothing stays the same. If you avoid change, you will not be successful. You are either green and growing or dead and dying. And, it is impossible to improve unless we change.

Often, I have my coaching clients complete an exercise called a success inventory. This exercise entails identifying any negative beliefs that come up as the person recalls past successes. Sometimes, as a person goes through the Success Inventory, she denies having any self-sabotaging, self-limiting beliefs. But, I encourage my clients to stop and think, look more closely at their self-talk, and take a little more time to think it over.

Do you believe your inner beliefs are a major predictor of success? Most people fail to reach their potential because they operate at a superficial level, looking only at their visible, external behavior and results. They only scratch the surface.

But, picture life as a tree. The roots and seeds are your thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, and attitudes. The roots also represent the conditioning you received growing up. The fruits on that tree are your behaviors, results, and condition. People often ignore the seeds and roots, and focus only on the fruits. They complain that they don't have many fruit or that their fruit are too small (i.e., that they aren't as happy, healthy, wealthy, or successful as they want to be). However, it's often the invisible roots (thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and conditioning) below the surface that determine the visible vegetation (behaviors, results, and condition). The external, physical, and material "stuff" are just a "print out" of your inner world. If your print out is full of fear, worry, anxiety, limitation, or lack, and if you’re sowing doubtful, hopeless, and cynical seeds, then you are reaping more struggle, tension, anxiety, lack, limitation, and frustration in your life. By challenging those negative, self-limiting thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, and attitudes, you can “cut off” your obstacles just like dead branches are pruned from a tree.

If you look closely at nature, you’ll see that a seed deposited in the soil attracts to itself everything necessary for its development. Take a lesson from the seed, and deposit the required ideas in your subconscious mind. Because your deep, inner mind “thinks” in images, feelings, and senses, picture in your mind’s eye, in vivid color, sound, smell, taste, and emotions, whatever it is that you want.

In summary, all the reading, seminars, and audiobooks on whatever skills you want to develop won't make a difference unless you look at your personal success print out. If you are afraid you cannot learn or do this stuff, that it isn't in your DNA, that's exactly the type of fear, doubt, or self-limiting belief you need to challenge. I say, “Who says you can't learn this stuff?” I say you can do it! If you want to change your results caused by your thoughts, emotions and behavior and do so permanently, you must change your inner world. I can help you do that. In my training and coaching, I take a unique approach to behavioral change and professional development. Rather than focus merely on the external, visible indicators of success as other trainers and coaches do, I focus on the invisible or “inner game” of leadership.

Barbara Jordan is a counselor, counselor educator, author, trainer, and leadership coach. For more information go to

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