Why do we believe what we believe? That’s a question that we don’t often reflect on, but it has so much power over our lives.
From the moment we are born, we are given a clean slate. We have no beliefs. No strong opinions. No thoughts on what should be or what could be. We just are.
But as we live and learn and grow, our beliefs change. Our view of the world and what is right, true, wrong, wise, or foolish, does too.
All of this leads us to who we are and why we do what we do. As business owners, this is critical to understand. Here’s why:
We all have a story.
There was a young boy who grew up in a small town in America. He had a great family who loved him. He was safe, loved, and secure. One day, this young boy was walking to school when he heard the sound of older kids talking and joking and approaching him from behind. As they approached, an older kid – a neighbor of the young boy and one that he looked up to as a sports star in their community – came up to him and made a comment about his ears. “I hope the wind doesn’t pick you up and carry you away with those big dumbo ears!” Everyone laughed. It was just a flippant sentence to the older kid. He never thought twice of it.
But not the young boy.
It hurt him deeply.
From that day forward, he began to see himself (and his world) differently. He wondered if everyone saw him the same way. He imagined that they did. He began to believe that he had big ears and he began to do whatever he could to try to hide them and protect himself from being embarrassed by them ever again.
What’s your story?
You see, we all have a story to tell that helps explain why we do what we do. Why we believe life to be like it is. And it has a tremendous impact on us still to this day.
If you were the boy in the story, how would this experience affect your business today? It shouldn’t, right? But it does.
Here’s a few ways it may impact him still:
- He doesn’t take chances because he doesn’t want to be embarrassed
- He believes he will get hurt if he’s not sure what to do as a business owner so he decides it would be safer to not try than to fail
- He is desperate to fit in and believes it is better to not go out on a limb and risk ending up alone
- He is constantly afraid of what others think about him
On and on it goes for him and for us, too. Our lives are like a live version of connect the dots. The problem is, we can’t always make the picture clear. We don’t like living in fear of rejection, but we just can’t fight the feeling inside. We’ve felt it for so long! We want to push forward, but we wonder if people will approve. We desperately want to believe it is possible, but we’re just not sure.
So we conform to lives we don’t really love. But it feels safe. After all, we don’t want to get embarrassed or get hurt again.
For many people, we are the boy in the story. We have a story that, if everyone knew it, would help explain why we respond to life and challenges like we do. But most don’t understand it. We don’t dare share those things with others, right? Why? It’s not safe. We don’t want to risk it.
Taking control of our story
Here’s the thing: you are in control of your story from this day forward! You don’t have to be afraid. You are not alone. In fact, do you know what you and most of today’s business leaders have in common? They have stories to tell, too! The reason that so many of them are so successful, in fact, is BECAUSE of those stories! Rather than letting the experiences of their past keep them down, they used it as fuel to grow and change and propel them forward. This, too, is a part of their story. A story of changing what they believe about what is true and possible for them.
My hope, is that it will also be a part of yours! Change your story. Grab courage from those who have overcome the voices that have controlled so much of their lives. Become a story that others can hang on to as well.
How does this resonate with you? What is your story and how has it affected what you believe is possible or not possible? Please share what you have done to change it.