I recently made a big decision that many people would call crazy. I often told myself I would never, and could never, do it. After spending the first half of my career working in Corporate America, I left an amazing boss, a dream team of co-workers, and a nice steady salary to start back at zero. I finally busted through enough fears to start my own business.
I won’t lie — it wasn’t, and isn’t, easy. Many people think the hard part of starting your own business are the logistics and decisions about what you’ll sell, marketing your product, and setting up the proper financial and legal processes. Like many others before me, I found that the difficult and scariest part is actually not in those details. Scroll Facebook or search Google long enough, and you’ll see ads or tutorials on how to do that part.
The part that held me back for so long is busting the fears and limiting beliefs about why I couldn’t or shouldn’t do something like this.
Nearly every day for months, I woke up or struggled to fall asleep trying to battle one of these fearful beliefs:
- I might be a big failure at this.
- Who am I to do something like this?
- What will people think?
- What if nobody cares?
- I feel totally unqualified. I need to have it all perfect before I begin.
- I can’t leave corporate America – who would I be without my title or affiliation?
- Are my services worth buying? What if I’m “found out” that my business isn’t worth it?
Do any of these sound familiar to you? What if the things standing in your way aren’t “things” at all? What if it’s the tangled web of thoughts and fears you’ve built up in your head that’s keeping you stuck?
There is a well known psychological framework of how our thoughts and feelings drive our actions, and it’s not what many people believe. For so long, I believed that if I could just get the conditions right to take a big leap, then I would do so. Counterintuitively, the opposite is true. My thoughts generate the actions that create my outcomes and conditions.
Thoughts —> Feelings —> Actions —> Outcomes
Our thoughts and beliefs generate feelings of anxiety and fear. Those feelings and fears aren’t real, but they really do keep us from taking action on those big, wild dreams that could bring us total joy.
Our circumstances don’t hold us back. The prison that keeps us stuck is built upon our own beliefs. We built it — and that’s the good news! This means we have the power to dismantle it.
How to Break Free
To break the prisons that held me back, I turned to two places. First, I turned to my faith. I had to trust that the same God that called me to it will help me through it. Sometimes I wonder if God has a comedy club in heaven, filled with love and laughter as He proves me wrong. I will say to myself, “I could never do that.” I’m often right about that part. What I really mean is that I can’t do it, but I believe that God can.
Second, I had to focus on the truth. There is a four-question framework by a thought leader, Byron Katie, that helps us debunk our stressful thoughts so we can clearly see our truth. I’ve paraphrased it below:
- Are my fearful or stressful thoughts true?
- In all circumstances, can I be absolutely certain that this thought is true? (If it is helpful to you, ask yourself, would God say this is true?)
- How do I act when I believe my fearful thoughts?
- Who would I be, and what would I do, if I could no longer believe these fearful thoughts?
This last question can open up a whole new world of freedom and confidence for us to act on our true joys and calling.
Thoughts That Sparked Freedom:
- I can begin without having everything perfect.
- I have no idea what I’m doing some days – and that’s okay!
- I don’t need to be perfectly qualified because I believe that God qualifies me.
- I can take huge steps of faith, not because I am able, but because I believe that God gives me all the strength, ideas, love, and creativity I need.
- I care about helping others, and that’s what matters today.
I’ve noticed four things about myself, and about other happy people who busted past their prisons. We don’t have to have it all together, we don’t believe we need to “be more” of anything, we can question our fearful thoughts and find the truth, and we have faith that we can trust our higher calling.
To sum it all up with a big spoiler: YOU are already IT.
You don’t need to “be more” of anything to begin confidently today.Kelli Thompson
What to Do Next
You are already brilliant; you just need to wipe away what’s dimming your light. Starting with one little belief at a time, you can remove the prison you’ve built that’s keeping you from “it.” You can do that starting today by changing the thoughts you choose to believe.
What’s your big limiting, fearful belief?
If you woke up tomorrow, unable to believe your fearful thought was true, what are three microsteps you might take toward your goal?
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