Building the boundary conditions for our lives

We have just replaced the fences in our back garden. With the fences removed, the view from our kitchen the view is so different, and I gained new perspective from a place I’ve stood so many times before.

Our beliefs are just like fences – they create the boundary conditions within which we live our lives.

Imagine giving a seven-year old child a blank notebook, requesting ‘Write me a list of rules: how I should behave, what I should believe about the world, about myself and what’s possible for me.’ And when that seven-year old gives you back the book, take rules and follow them – religiously!

Would you really do that?

Perhaps you are… Many of the limiting beliefs that we have about the world and ourselves were formed by about age seven. From then on we just accept them, without re-evaluating or updating them. Often we no longer know they are there.

Are you running your life according to rules established by your seven-year old self?

Recently I worked with ‘Alice’ who had a belief that she held to be true deep within her – that she wasn’t confident. Logically Alice could come up evidence to demonstrate that this was not the case, and give examples of times where she did show confidence as a leader. But beliefs cannot be ‘logiced’ away. Beliefs lurk deep within us.

When brought out into the cold light of day, these beliefs can seem silly so we push them back declaring ‘I can’t really believe that!’ And yet Alice did believe that she wasn’t confident.

When we explored her very earliest memory of lacking confidence, Alice was surprised to discover that she had taken herself back to early primary school when some kids laughed at her playing four-square. She made a decision then at the unconscious level, and it stayed at the unconscious level until our work together, that she was lacking in confidence. To protect herself, she decided she would never step forward again in ways that might mean other children would laugh at her. Until two weeks ago, she was still running that rule, despite being a successful leader.

Where might you be living according to the rules set for you by your seven-year old self? How could you live your leadership with more freedom and confidence if you were to let these rules go?

Have an extraordinary day