Recently, when coaching with a client frustrated with her perceived lack of success, I was struck by an abundance of negative verbiage. It wasn’t her verbiage around life or others, it was her self-descriptive verbiage. As I listened to her describe what she wanted from her business and who she thought she was, it became apparent that there was a huge disconnect. The person she self identified as simply wasn’t capable of that level of success. I doubted that woman was capable of tying her shoes.
After a few minutes in this vein, I asked for her permission to repeated back to her how she described herself. Her shock at her own words was palpable. I then asked her what she thought that disorganized, sleep deprived, half crazed mother of three drowning in laundry was capable of in a business capacity. She quietly murmured, “Probably not much”.
Of course, the reality is that isn’t who she is. It is what she is currently reinforcing for herself and each time she does she feels more and more worthless. Those feelings of worthlessness and failure erode personal confidence. Of course she doesn’t have the energy to pick up the phone. Of course she hides out, insulated from rejection, in electronic media. As women we are so incredibly hard on ourselves…nitpicking…criticizing…destroying ourselves. The simple act of self evaluation becomes self sabotage.
To help get her back on track, what was her homework for the week? Was it to fake it until she makes it? Was it to get on the phone or boot strap it? No, it was to start talking to herself better… to reinforce her positive skills and abilities and to get a handle on the clutter so she could think.
The answer to a business limitation is rarely a business answer. Lasting success comes from personal growth. That is why nothing replaces the power of personal coaching. None of us have the ability to step outside our own heads and be objective about what is holding us back, me included. Our actions are more knee-jerk reactions. Our perceptions are colored by our fears, prejudices and our programming. Very rarely do we stop to question the validity of a single thought or a conclusion. It takes a third party to help us see where we are holding ourselves back… to question that which we do not.