Dealing with Limiting Beliefs & Fear

Confession time… when Kim came up with the idea for the three of us to use our strategic networking connections to try to score tickets to Oprah, my initial reaction was… fear. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that, but it’s the truth.

So, why was I scared? I think it was because when Oprah announced last year that this season would be her last, I’d given up on a dream I’d had for so many years — to go to Chicago and see her show live. I was, simply put, “past it,” and the idea of resuscitating and “getting behind” that dream again, scared me because, well… it might not work… I might be setting myself up for disappointment… my colleagues (and friends) and I might really put a lot of time and effort into this project and there was no guaranteed return on that investment.

At my core, I really have a certain fondness for “sure things,” and this is not a sure thing. It’s a little like jumping without a net. It is, after all, Oprah’s last season, and tickets are pretty tough — dare I say impossible — to come by.

Here’s the thing, though. I have a systematic process for overcoming limiting beliefs, doubts, fears, and stressful thoughts. In fact, I share it with my job-seeker clients on a regular basis, and it works. It was created by Byron Katie (or Katie as she’s known). It’s called The Work, and it’s an inquiry process. Oh yeah, and it’s been featured in Oprah’s “O” magazine, which I think means it’s been Oprah-approved.

Job seekers, pay close attention because I’m talking to you, especially those of you who are scared to death of networking. Here’s Katie’s process:

Write down one limiting thought or belief you have. Even though you may have twenty, it’s important to only tackle one thought at a time, and please be gentle with yourself. For demonstration purposes, I’m going to use this thought, “It might not work,” and then ask the following four questions (my answers are in red):

  1. Is it true? (Hint: the answer is either yes or no and don’t try to explain it either way.) Yes, it really might not work.
  2. Can you absolutely know it’s true? (See hint above.) No, I can’t absolutely know it won’t work.
  3. How do you react when you think that thought? (Where does your mind go? How does it make you feel? What do you do?) I don’t want to try. I feel like making excuses. I see only the possibility of us trying and being disappointed.
  4. Who would you be without the thought? (Pretend it was impossible for you to think that thought.) I’d see what a great example we could be job seekers. I’d see that our project could land us tickets, get us some good publicity, help job seekers learn the secrets of targeted networking, be a lot of fun, and maybe even get us a segment to be on Oprah (hey, it could happen).

When you do The Work, keep in mind that if the answer to number one is “no,” you can skip ahead to question three. If the answer is “yes,” and you absolutely can’t get past any other possibility, that’s okay, keep going anyway. These answers have to be authentic. They are your answers and nobody else’s.

Then, and this is the really exciting part, you turn the original thought around to its polar opposite. So, the thought, “It might not work,” becomes, “It might work.” And then you give yourself three really good reasons why the turned-around thought is as true or more true than the original thought.

Having been a student of The Work now for many years, I quickly realized when I took my scaredy-cat thoughts to inquiry that there were lots of FANTABULOUS reasons why this project might work.

In my case, the turned-around thought is absolutely as true or more true than the original thought. Yes, this might work! Here’s why: As career professionals, we share an advanced knowledge of how to use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for strategic networking purposes. We have a solid understanding of the inspired action we need to take for this to work. We have the synergy and accountability that comes from working together. We know how to write and (hopefully!) capture the attention of Oprah and the media. We have some great connections — in fact, we’re only three connections away from Oprah. Plus, our project is really consistent with Oprah’s mantra, “Live your best life.” What we’re doing aligns well with her brand.

The bottom-line is that I’d rather try and fail than not try. I’m now thoroughly convinced this might work, and as a value-added bonus: it might inspire some job seekers (perhaps you!) to get out of their comfort zone, take some risks, and go for making their dreams (maybe your dreams) come true. Yes, it’s a little scary to be jumping without a net, but it’s also really exciting, downright exhilarating, and I look forward to sharing this journey with my friends and with you.

For more information on The Work, I invite you to go check out Katie’s Web site at TheWork.com and read her book, “Loving What Is.”

In support of your Abundant Success,
Robyn Feldberg
The Abundant Success Coach

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