Growing up, I was always a chubby kid.
I was bigger than most of the kids my age and certainly more physical. The result of having two athletic brothers who were 7 and 10 years my elder, yet encouraged me to compete at a high level.
I excelled in sports and played all day every day – but I was also a fat kid.
I was also, and still am, pasty white. Although I spend my youth in Southern California, I couldn’t get a tan to save my life. I had two skin tones: white and red.
Older kids made fun of me – I beat the kids my age up if they tried.
My yearbooks were always filled with “Have a great summer. Hope to see you. Get a tan.” Every year.
Crazy how those things can affect you as a child.
The summer before high school, the weight melted off like butter put into the microwave. Overnight it seemed to disappear magically.
Just this week, I was assembling exercises along with a friend and high-level coach, for a program we’re putting together on mindset.
For some reason, one exercise called to me. It was an exercise on limiting beliefs. For a brief moment, I thought, “I’ve done all these already. Let’s move on.” But I didn’t. I chose to stop and actually go through the steps as they had been taught to me and how I now teach them to others.
The result stunned me.
The question goes something like this (I tailor it for each person, so it’s always a bit different):
What belief do you have about yourself, or the world in general, that has limited the quality of your life and your results and has stopped you from pursuing your dreams?
Nothing right? I’ve done work like this for over two decades. Surely, I’m perfect.
Immediately, my that little voice that sturs the back of my head shouted out: You’re pasty white and fat! Once you get a tan, get down to 8% body fat, then you’ll be ready to start sharing what you’ve learned with others.
It might sound silly, but this touched me in a very profound way. The emotion swept through me like a tsunami of hurt, shame, and regret.
I was instantly brought back to times when I was rejected – cut from the soccer team the last day of tryouts because the last test was how fast you could run 200 yards despite being one of the best players. Why? I was too fat. And then to countless times trying to “get a tan” at the beach, in my back yard, and even with chemical sprays… all to simply get severe burns… sometimes 3rd degree burns on my body.
Now, I realize that these are very much 1st world problems, but to me as a child, these were my very real problems.
As a man in my 40’s, I didn’t think these still affected me, but clearly, they did.
The reason I share this will you is because we all have these stories lurking in the back of our minds.
Yes, there are stories. Stories written long ago and stories that deserve to be rewritten.
Your story will be different than mine, but until you examine it, it won’t be a story, but rather subconscious programming… a filter through which you view your world.
So I ask you, what belief do you have about yourself, or the world in general, that has limited the quality of your life and your results and has stopped you from pursuing your dreams?
Is it true? If you were to stand in front of a judge and jury, could you prove this belief without anyone questioning it?
I’ll give you the cheat sheet. The answer is always no. It’s a story. You might fight to keep your story, but it’s still a story.
The next step is to write one that empowers you. Write a story that allows you to live your best life…now.
I’m too old … becomes, I have wisdom and experience.
I’m too fat … becomes, I am perfect just the way I am right now.
I’m too dumb … becomes, I solve problems quickly and effectively.
Step #3: Become the world’s best defense attorney and defend your new statement with evidence of it being true.
I’ll use myself as the example here (gulp):
I am fat and pasty … becomes I am a leader.
I have always taken care of others.
I run many successful companies.
I mentor and coach business owners from all over the world.
I take the high road.
I grow so that I may teach and help others along their journey.
I have always stepped up when needed or called upon.
You get the idea.
? Bonus Points: Share yours. Share it with me. Share it with a trusted friend. By sharing it, you release the story. It will most likely sound stupid to someone else, but that’s because it’s a disempowering story. That’s ok. It’s just a story – the difference is you’ve built evidence to prove to yourself that your disempowering story is true. It’s not. And trust me when I say that the person you share this with, they have a story that isn’t serving them too, so you give them permission to step out of their story when you share yours.