The following article is a slight edit of an older one. After I wrote it, I updated my beliefs some ;-) and the result is the above video.
We empower whatever we fight against… especially if the enemy is intangible, such as “limiting beliefs”, which has the danger of multiplying based on our rich imagination, and our continued attention on “clearing” them.
So, although I don’t give a lot of energy to clearing limiting beliefs, I see plenty of evidence of limiting structures – the systems and processes that people allow to continue, that greatly limits their potential.
Examples of limiting structures:
An Unstable Schedule Prevents Consistent Growth
A common limiting structure is an unstable schedule. It’s like being blown about by the wind, here and there, by external demands as well as by internal whims.
External demands are the requests and opportunities by other people. Be careful which ones you say Yes to, as it can constrain your ability to self-generate structure in your life that fits you best.
Internal whims are the desires that pop-up: do you tend to follow them right away? If so, you will have an unstable schedule.
Instead, practice noticing desires and ideas as they come up. Write them down if you don’t want to forget them. Let it marinate in your subconscious overnight or longer if possible, before deciding what to do with it.
Distance provides perspective.
By waiting to act on a desire, you’ll give your subconscious more time to process it, and there will probably be additional information that will help you decide whether it’s a good desire or idea.
Practice a waiting period before making a conscious decision about external demands and internal whims. The more you practice this, the more you’ll be empowered to create a stable schedule and consistency in your business and life.
Habit: Saying Yes to Too Many Requests/Opptys
When you habitually say Yes to requests and opportunities, they eventually collide with each other, and spawn anxiety and disorganization.
This includes responding to messages, comments, and emails. Other than bills to pay, you don’t actually have to respond to anyone. Give yourself that permission: consciously choose which messages you respond to, and which ones to consciously not respond to.
Only respond to messages as part of your sustainable structure. For example, it’s totally optional whether I respond during my working day. However, I have structured an hour at the end of each working day to respond and clear my email inbox (and other private messages). I respond as part of my sustainable structure.
This is also true of requests and opportunities: say “yes” only when it fits into your sustainable structure. Otherwise – and perhaps by default – say a kind “no” or “I will let you know if I am able to do it.” Or, you always have a choice to not respond at all. Give yourself that permission. The more you practice this, the stronger you grow in being able to say “yes” intentionally and wisely.
Saying “yes” to too many requests will limit your ability to self-generate structure. The more that your life depends on other people to hand you opportunities, the more you are limited by structures that are outside your control.
A Habit of Avoiding Creative Discomfort
To successfully create anything: a piece of writing, a video, a course, a book, or a business, you will need to experience the initial discomfort of creating things.
For example, this very piece of writing: I was faced with a blank page, except for a few ideas I had brainstormed. How was it going to turn into an article? I felt discomfort, the potential of anxiety, the possibility of judgment (inner and outer), and therefore, I felt like escaping this task.
I would feel better by checking email, or looking at social media, or playing a video game, or looking busy and feeling productive by doing easier tasks that have no sense of uncertainty.
If I had allowed myself to escape, then you wouldn’t be reading this article right now.
Instead, I practiced staying with the initial discomfort of a blank page, the uncertainty of whether this will be good or not, whether anyone will benefit from this (or even read it), the concern that this may be a waste of time and not move me towards my goals… or worse, that it may even damage how you see me.
What will I write? How can something good come out of a blank page when I’m not yet certain what my ideas are?
And then, I start writing — practicing the imperfection of creating — and just writing whatever I’m thinking. Then, organizing. Then writing more thoughts. Then editing.
I didn’t even notice when discomfort had become flow.
It always happens this way: when I am willing to keep working in spite of the creative comfort, I am always rewarded, eventually, with the experience of flow.
As a result, you now have this article in front of you.
How about you: what would you love to create?
You, too, may feel like escaping, to avoid creative discomfort. But if you are willing to keep working despite that initial feeling, you will eventually experience the beautiful feeling of flow.
By doing it again and again: working through creative discomfort, to reach creative flow, you will build the habit of self-generating your creativity, anytime you wish.
In other words, you will be able to create consistently, on schedule, and thereby, you will build trust in yourself, and also develop your audience’s trust in you.
Since this article is getting long enough, I’ll curtail the discussion of the other limiting structures for now.
To dive more deeply into all this, and to study with me about empowering structures, take a look at my Joyful Productivity course. It’s my favorite topic.
I look forward to seeing you create liberating structures for your work and life!
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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Here's why :)