I am a big fan of the year-end review. Yes, we are already into 2014, but it’s not too late. We all need to take an hour or two to evaluate – did you do what you said you wanted to do in 2013?? Did you get the results expected? This year, I suggest you add another review. Do a review of your belief systems. Are they serving you? Or are they holding you back? What do I mean by belief systems? Well, we have belief systems about everything. About what it means to be a good mom or dad; what it means to work hard; about how we should treat people; even what the expected response time is to an email or a text message. These beliefs govern everything we do from the moment we wake up in the morning until the moment we go to sleep at night, and sometimes they inhabit our dreams. So if they are so pervasive, and influence every action we take over the course of a day, shouldn’t we give some thought to whether they are serving us or not?
Don, a former client, believed that in order to be successful, he had to own his own business. His dad and his grandfather had been successful business owners, running a printing company that specialized in large volume printing. They repeatedly pressed Don to come into the family business. Don had spent his life listening to his father and grandfather discuss the business and it had no appeal to him. He wanted to fly planes. He had planned to join the Air Force out of high school and take a job with an international airline afterwards. Then his beliefs got in the way. He believed that the only acceptable path to success was business ownership and if he wanted to feel good about himself and his career, he needed to own a business.
As it often is in families, Don chose not to discuss his career goals with his dad. He knew he’d be shot down, maybe even ridiculed for choosing a ‘loser’ career path. His dad assumed Don wanted to join the family business, though there had been little indication of that. Dad’s beliefs about Don were so strong, they didn’t need ‘evidence’. After high school, Don enrolled in a local Community College, bridging an aviation program with business classes, transferring to a four year school to finish out his degree in Business. Upon graduation, he started in the family business.
Fifteen years later, Don was the Chief Operating Officer for his dad’s company, poised to take over as CEO and owner one day, and he was miserable. Don never wanted to be in the business and now his dad was pushing him to buy him out and run the company. Don felt trapped and was contemplating all kinds of exit strategies. Don’s beliefs about success had gotten in the way, and he realized that he was still living his life in alignment with a set of beliefs that did not serve him. He was not a failure if he took a job flying planes. He was not a failure if he chose to pursue a career that interested him! He was not a failure for believing he had a right to a career that energized and engaged him.
Don’s situation might be very different than yours, but the foundational question about whether your beliefs need a year-end review is still critical. What beliefs are serving you and what beliefs need to be changed because they are holding you back? It’s time to live the life you were meant to live?
Let us know what you discover!