A number of years ago, I had the rather unique experience of being backstage in Madison Square Garden, in New York, during the 1)Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. To say the least, it was a fascinating experience. I was able to walk around looking at the lions, tigers, giraffes and all the other circus animals. As I was passing the elephants, I suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at any time, break away from their 2)bonds but for some reason, they did not. I saw a trainer near by and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.
“Well,” he said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it's enough to hold them. As they grow up, they 3)are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They think the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”
I was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they could not, they were stuck right where they were.
Like the elephants, how many of us go through life 4)hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before? How many of us are being held back by old, outdated beliefs that no longer serve us? Have you avoided trying something new because of a limiting belief? Worse, how many of us are being held back by someone else's limiting beliefs? Do you tell yourself you can't sell because you're not a salesperson?
Particularly in starting or running a business, we are cautioned not to take risks, usually by well intentioned friends and family. How many of us have heard, “You can't do that”? These are the dream stealers who, due to their own limiting beliefs, will attempt to discourage you from living your dreams. You must ignore them at all cost! I am not suggesting that you should not seek advice from qualified individuals and 5)mentors, but that you avoid like the6)plague being 7)swayed by the limiting beliefs of others, especially people who are not 8)in their own business.
Challenge your own limiting beliefs by questioning them. If you begin to question a belief, you 9)automatically weaken it. The more you question your limiting beliefs, the more they are weakened. It's like kicking the legs out from under a stool. Once you weaken one leg, the stool begins to lose its balance and fall. Think back to a time when you “sold” someone on yourself. We are selling all the time. You have to sell your ideas to your spouse, your children, and your employees—even your banker. Maybe, as a child, you sold 10)Girl Scout cookies or magazine 11)subscriptions to raise money for your school team. That was selling too!