We often tell ourselves we’re missing clarity, when it’s really fear & anxiety blocking our path forward. There is a key to rejecting limiting beliefs.
Action is the foundational key to all success.Pablo Picasso
Maggie, an entrepreneur in a nearby town, hired me to help her map out a strategic plan for the next six months.
“I want to get a jump on 2024, and I know that if I can really get clear on what it is I want to do, I’m gonna nail Q4 and have a metric ton of momentum going into the new year,” she said.
We spread out big pieces of paper, markers, and note cards on top of a table in a café, and settled in to work. I asked her lots of probing questions about what she was most passionate about creating in both her business and personal life. We dug into her “whys” as well as what was fueling her desire.
Maggie’s arms moved like a symphony conductor when she spoke. Bangles clanked and spun on her wrists and knocked the table top when she brought them to rest in front of her. She was supremely clear as to what she wanted and why.
Over the course of nearly three hours, we captured her ideas and goals and established the plan for making it all happen. With a detailed, strategic map in front of her, she could hardly contain her excitement.
“I’ve wanted to do this for so long!” she said, “and now I’m finally going to do it!”
“Well, let’s talk about that for a second,” I said. “Why is it do you think you haven’t taken action on this before?”
Maggie kept her gaze down at the papers and markers and said, “Ah, well, I just wasn’t clear before. Now I am!”
She scooped up all the note cards and papers and drew them toward her like poker chips after a winning hand. She shuffled the items into orderly piles, tucked them into her bag, and pushed her chair back.
“This has been great,” she said. “I cannot thank you enough.”
Maggie nearly bolted from the café. I watched her weave through the tables toward the door and knew she was avoiding something.
Looking Further Than Your Plan
A month later, my phone rang. It was Maggie.
“I now know why you asked me that question in the café,” she said. “I’m stuck, and it’s the same old damn thing. How is it that I know exactly what to do, but I’m not taking action? Honestly, I’m furious with myself.”
Moving Past “Mad”
We chatted for a while, and I spotted the primary limiting belief she held that had her in a mental prison, the origins in fear & anxiety. We worked through the painful thought and dissolved it. Maggie was elated and had a renewed sense of optimism and conviction.
“Maggie,” I said, “I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news here, but limiting beliefs are just a part of how our brains work. They are related to fear & anxiety. Your brain will crank out another one on the way home today. And again tomorrow morning when you are brushing your teeth. And once more when you are driving across town.”
I continued, “I have a handy tool to help you spot them, track them, and turn them around. I’m emailing it to you right now.”
Mapping Fear & Anxiety
Like Maggie, we can know precisely what to do and how to do it. We can be filled with the desire to finally take action and get going. And, we can find ourselves frozen in place, mad and resentful, stuck in loops of fear & anxiety.
We can mistakenly believe the source of our ire is our situation. We aren’t mad at our situation. We are mad because we know the truth, and we still aren’t taking action.
The culprit is our brain, and its fantastic ability to crank out lies. We are just experiencing fear, believing those lies.
How to Turn These Thoughts Around
Take a look at the Fear & Anxiety Map below. Notice that there are several key steps. The first is to identify the thoughts that are causing us pain. Next is to notice what you did and did not do as a result of thinking that thought. Finally, there is a call to find better-feeling thoughts and actions.
Simple, straightforward, and positively deadly to limiting beliefs.
How to Build A Mapping Habit
Print out a copy of this Fear & Anxiety map and keep it handy. Over time, you will become an expert at spotting the thoughts that are holding you back. While you may not fear less, or experience less anxiety, your limiting beliefs won’t have the power to stop you in your tracks. You will refuse to believe the lies your brain cranks out and will be able to return to calm and clarity.
Let your resentment and frustration be your signal to stop and investigate. Stay in a compassionate, observer-of-self mode. Probe around gently. Don’t get distracted by believing your circumstances are the issue.
Focus on your thoughts instead and dismantle them, brick by brick.