The top, scientifically proven obstacle to our achievements is limiting beliefs. We may tell ourselves, “I don’t have enough money, time, talent, [fill in the blank] to achieve that.” Those limitations often exist only in our heads and are not consistent with reality. They result when our unconscious mind compares our perceived abilities to someone else’s and concludes that our capabilities fall short. If you take time to examine whether your belief is 100% true, you will likely find that it is not. But, because our unconscious mind is programmed to keep us alive in the face of threats, it chooses the safety of staying where we are, rather than the risky path to achieving something new.
Becoming an Ironman
My case is a perfect example. For 28 years I dreamt of competing in the Ironman World Championships (IMWC) as an amateur athlete. For 28 years I held myself back through the limiting belief that, “The athletes who compete in Kona are elite and I’m only amateur – I couldn’t possibly compete.” It was essentially my unconscious mind talking my conscious mind out of a life-long dream. This pattern repeated annually until 2010 when I learned the power of words and the science of limiting beliefs, and how to conquer and transform them into unlimiting beliefs. I embraced these techniques and two short years later, at the age of 46, I crossed the finish line at the Ironman World Championships! I then went on to compete in 18 of the world’s toughest races in the international, ultra-endurance world.
I was not a naturally gifted athlete, had not completed a triathlon or marathon, nor did I have any advantages. I had not done anything remarkable in my life, apart from being outwardly successful as a corporate leader. And due to events in my life, it was not an ideal time to focus on a major achievement.
But my discovery was a HUGE breakthrough. The opportunity to conquer limiting beliefs and transform them into liberating, empowering beliefs was not only the key to my true capability, but led to discovery of my unique purpose and the difference I can make on the planet. This new way of thinking and communicating with myself permeated every area of my life, not just athletic endeavors. It felt that I had discovered the path to self-actualization and was becoming the person I was meant to be.
The Role of Neurolinguistic Programming
During the two years of preparation for the Ironman World Championships, I discovered Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) which I found to be an expeditious way to pinpoint and alter the limiting behavioral patterns at work behind the scenes. I was so impressed by the effectiveness of this approach that I studied, became certified in NLP, and have incorporated it as the cornerstone methodology used in our coaching program. These techniques re-train the unconscious mind to resist staying safely complacent and instead choose a new, default pattern of expansion and action.
Every leader we have coached – regardless of their stature or level of success – has held limiting beliefs about themselves, their team, their environment, even their market. The unconscious mind has far more power than the conscious. We assume that decisions we make every day are from the conscious mind, yet they emanate from our unconscious. Only 0.8% of everything we do and think in a day is conscious. The rest is unconscious! That’s why tapping into the power of our unconscious mind and knowing how it works enables us to achieve what we desire – and achieve it faster.
Applying Elite Techniques to Help Executives
I would like to share with you, in their own words, some of the achievements of FirstBank executives.
“Prior to Velocity coaching I had used intuition, being readily available, a strong work ethic, and a ‘lead by example’ approach as my leadership style. This approach, while having many positive attributes, resulted in not finding time for strategy, high impact efforts, or proper balance in life. After working with Karen, I realized disciplined power work times and well-defined deliverables were the key to unlocking new leadership skills. Working smarter vs. harder is a much better ‘lead by example’ approach. In addition, Karen helped me appreciate the importance of restful renewal which has translated into improved creativity, goal setting, and increased energy for the team. Karen’s methodical approach of thought-provoking questions, excellent listening skills, regular coaching sessions, and strong follow-through are what sets her apart from other coaches. In addition, Karen encouraged me to share this journey with the team so they could see as a leader I am trying to balance many of the same issues they face each day. This empowered the team to work on themselves, grow as leaders, and opened the door for open conversations concerning our strategy and priorities. In short, thanks to Velocity Coaching the team is working smarter, on the most important things, and at the same time have the time and energy to be creative.” – Jim R, CEO
“It is truly amazing to see how seemingly small changes can yield tremendous results. What Karen excels at is helping you get out of your own way so you can unlock your potential. There is no magic pill, however…you’ll need to be honest and ready to work! When we started working together, I was struggling with team development, effective communication up and down the organizational ladder, and with strategic thinking and actions (vs. doing the small meaningless tasks that clog my email box). Six months later, I feel completely in tune with my career and how to achieve success in what I do, both personally and professionally. Looking back, it’s amazing at what we have been able to accomplish together.” – Adam Snyder, Executive Vice President
“I am hearing a different voice with a different viewpoint. Up to this point in my career, I have been on my own with management/leadership issues. I could, on occasion, ask a peer for their opinion, but in the end, it was my decision and mine alone. Now, having a coach, I have been able to expand my thought processes and entertain viewpoints that I never would have considered if on my own.” – Mark O’Connor, President of Investments
For both your life and business, I encourage you to boldly pursue those dreams that have alluded you in the past. My own journey illustrates that whatever your personal Ironman, you can achieve it – and much more.