I keep running into the same adversary in my coaching sessions; it is extremely powerful and its name is "Limited Thinking" Why do we give this adversary it’s due? Maybe it is because as children whenever we started to do something that was potentially harmful a parent would yell "No!" or "Stop!". Or could it be because we've all had experiences where we tried something new or different and failed. And many of us never had someone to help us get back up while pushing us forward with the encouragement to keep on trying.
Whatever the reason, limited thinking has a strange power that keeps our minds in shackles when comes to doing something new and creative and outside of our comfort zone. Here are some ways that I have heard limited thinking in the past few weeks:
- "We've always done it this way, and that's the way we are going to keep on doing it."
- "I'm just not someone who is good at meeting new people."
- "I wish I was an expert at ______ so I could help other people."
- "We are so far down this road, I just don't think we can turn back."
- "People expect me to _____ and I don’t want to disappoint them."
I like to counter this type of thinking with two questions, "Why?" and "What is the worst that could happen if you get beyond that limited thinking?" In coaching, these questions are typically met with a dead silence on the other end of the phone. The first time I challenged limited thinking I was quite certain that the client hung up on me. Eventually, I became comfortable with the silence knowing that my clients were for the first time saying to themselves … "Yeah. Why do I believe that?"
We need to stretch our thinking in all areas of our life if we are going to increase our leadership capacity at home and at work. How is your limited thinking holding you back and limiting the impact you could be having at work, home, or in your community? I challenge you to release the shackles of limited thinking and stretch yourself this week!
Make it a great day!