We empower whatever we fight against… especially if the enemy is intangible, such as “limiting beliefs”, which can multiply based on our rich imagination, and our continued attention on “clearing” them.
I’ve written about this before: Don’t worry about your limiting beliefs.
So, although I don’t believe in limiting beliefs, I do see the evidence of limiting structures, i.e. the systems and processes of someone’s life and behaviors.
You are in charge of the structures of your life. (Unless you’re a child, or you’re in jail!)
Limiting structures include:
Habit: Saying Yes to Too Many Requests/Opptys
When you say Yes to lots of requests and opportunities, they will collide with each other and make you feel frantic, anxious, and disorganized.
This includes responding to messages, comments, emails, etc. You don’t have to respond to anyone. Give yourself that permission to choose which messages (even personal ones) you respond to.
Only respond to messages as part of your own sustainable structure. For example, when it comes to email messages, it’s totally optional whether I respond during my working day. However, I have a daily hour at the end of each working day to respond to, and clear, my email inbox (and FB messages). I respond as part of my sustainable structure.
This is true for messages but also requests and opportunities: say Yes only when it fits into your sustainable structure. The more you practice this, the stronger you grow in being able to say Yes wisely (otherwise, to say a kind No… or to not respond at all. Give yourself that permission.)
The more that your life depends on other people to hand you opportunities or requests, the more you are limited by structures that are outside your control.
In other words, saying Yes to too many requests and opportunities will tend to limit your ability to self-generate structure.
An Unstable Schedule Prevents Consistency
A second limiting structure is an unstable schedule. It’s like being blown about by the wind, here and there, unpredictably, 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.
An important reminder: 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 a conscious and thoughtful 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.
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 frequently 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 possibly 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 really 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.
Now it’s your turn: what would you love to create?
Understand that you, too, will feel like escaping, avoiding creative discomfort. But it you are willing to keep working despite that initial discomfort, you will definitely experience the beautiful feeling of flow.
By experiencing 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 learn more about all this, and to get my full practices of creating the most empowering structures for daily work and business, take a look at my Joyful Productivity online 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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