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Are you getting in your own way?

2016 had a lot of us very distracted, and I certainly found myself feeling like I needed to do a real cleanup before I kicked 2017 into full gear. I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to do this and then I came across a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. (This isn't a book review, so I won't get into too much detail, but if this post strikes a chord in you I'd definitely suggest picking up a copy.) The book centers around the philosophy that by clearing out unwanted things from our lives, we make room for things that better suit the person we want to be. We’re constantly changing – or at least we want to be, right?

So with that in mind, I started to purge. I cleaned out my closet and donated about 1/3 of the clothes I had in there. That cute top that doesn’t fit me anymore and reminds me every time I look at it that I’m not as thin as I used to be? GONE! Those books that made me feel guilty every time I looked at them because I was too busy to read them? OUTTA HERE! Books are meant to be read, not stared at, and now someone actually might enjoy them. It was liberating! And now I’m addicted to the purge. I’m only keeping things that serve the person I am today.

The same thing goes for our mindset. I’ve been trying to take notice of any self-defeating or self-limiting thoughts that I have and eliminate them. These are tricky. Sometimes we don’t even know they’re there, but an uncluttered space allows us the capacity to focus on what is going on in our heads. Do you ever sit down to do something that you want to succeed with all your heart, but find that you have resistance to actually completing the task? Most of us are guilty of procrastinating at least some of the time, but there is a difference between putting off doing the dishes and putting off a meeting with a prospective business partner. One is chore that doesn’t sound very exciting, and the other is an activity that could positively impact your life. The resistance comes from totally different places. We need to locate those places.

The next time you find yourself putting something off that you know will help you accomplish your goal, I challenge you to check in with yourself and see where this resistance is coming from. If you’re resistant to making those sales calls, ask yourself WHY. Are you afraid that they’ll say no? If so, go a little deeper and ask yourself where this fear of rejection comes from. Are you uncomfortable with asking people for help? If that’s the case, you’re viewing presenting your business opportunity the wrong way. It’s an opportunity and not a favor you’re asking of someone. Why would you position yourself beneath the person you're approaching? Why would you allow yourself to be defeated before you begin? Because most of the time we don't know we're doing it. It's engrained in us, and we're shadowboxing with ourselves until we acknowledge these toxic thoughts and make a commitment to extinguishing them.

TRY THIS EXERCISE: Find an accountability partner or a friend with similar goals. We all need our champions! Have a weekly call with them to work through your insecurities together. At the end of the meeting take one of those limiting beliefs, flip it around and turn it into an affirmation. For example, if your toxic thought is “my life will never change because this is all I deserve”, turn that around and empower yourself by saying (OUT LOUD) “I have the power to change my life and I deserve success”. Remember that these calls are not excuses to gossip or waste time (that's what we're trying to eliminate)! Keep them to 20 minutes, stay on topic and then get to work!

I get it, this may feel awkward at first. Don’t be distracted by the Kumbaya/new-agey style of this exercise. The bottom line is, thinking negatively about yourself and the things you want to see in your life is just plain bad. Change starts with you. And what are we if not our thoughts, our words, and our actions? So, changing our thoughts is the first step toward changing our lives. Just keep with it and don’t judge. And if it helps at all, know that I’m pulling for you!

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