I have often talked about self limiting beliefs and have read lots of articles about their importance, but it wasn’t until a read a quote that it really came home to me, just how important these things are. Of course I kind of new it, but this quote really crystallised it for me.
That quote is “You can never out perform your own self image!” – Iyanla Vanzant.
As I read it I thought wow, thats so true. Because my self image is really my view of my own potential, and if I can’t see myself as being successful, healthy, and happy, then deep down I am never going to believe those things are possible, and if I don’t believe those things are possible, why would I even try to achieve them.
If I can’t picture myself on a manager, then I would apply for a mangers job. I have already determined it’s not possible and I stop to try.
As I thought about this and the implication of it, I reflected on my own career and its true that many of the positions I worked in, I never actually applied for them, I either was offered them, or I just ended up in them out of chance.
At one company I went for an interview for a departmental manager, running a $10m department something I could see myself doing, and during the interview the manager said “you know I actually think you would be better suited to running a $100m project we’re having trouble with“.
I was so happy to leave my previous company I just accepted, but if that had been the job that had been advertised I would never have applied. Because I couldn’t see myself, at that point in my career, running a $100m project.
Fortunately for me, someone saw more in me that I did.
Once I had done that job successfully I felt comfortable at that level, I had proved I could do it, and now I could see myself doing it, and maybe even things a bit bigger.
We cannot be the judges of our own potential, because we look up from the bottom of the mountain, and things always look more difficult from there. We need to have someone else look for us, this is why we need to have coaches, and mentors, and also why as leaders we need to help our teams see themselves as we them, or as they could be.
We need to create a self image for them where they are successful, delivering the project or achieving the goals we have for them, if we cannot do that then it will be difficult for them to succeed.
For ourselves we need to create an image of who we want to be, the more detail in which we do that the more believable that image will be.
That image might not guarantee that we will be successful, but it will guarantee that we will be more likely to try for our goals are dreams, rather than pre-determine that they are not possible.
So create a song self image, share it with your coach and mentor and then go for it, don’t let your own poor self image be the limit to what you try and achieve.