What would make you ridiculously proud of yourself?

 
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A few months ago, I went to lunch with a friend who wanted coaching on her career path. As we talked over poke bowls, she described her current job. She liked what she was doing but wanted more. She was struggling to find ways to challenge herself. While performing well in her current job and feeling valued, she found herself wondering if it was enough. 

She mentioned that she had previously started courses to become an actuary. As she talked about this, she became more animated. Her eyes lit up when she described the work. You couldn’t deny her enthusiasm. She was always excited to start the coursework, but she would drop out before completion. She listed challenge after challenge that was holding her back. All limiting beliefs. We all have them. The things we either tell ourselves for not feeling ready to do something or things that we truly believe prevent us from being able to do something.

I asked her: “How would it feel if you were to become an actuary?” 

I would be ridiculously proud of myself! she replied.

I raised an eyebrow and asked “Why wouldn’t you want to give yourself that? What if each of those reasons you said were preventing you from this weren’t true? What are the steps you need to take to make this happen?”

We spent a few minutes listing out the steps she needs to take to work towards becoming an actuary. Then we discussed some alternatives if she starts down the path and again feels she should give up. Sometimes the key to limiting beliefs is not just defining a path but defining an alternate path if you aren’t able to achieve the first path or face a setback.

As we left that conversation, she was excited. She realized that she could pursue becoming an actuary, and more importantly, she should. That the things holding her back were truly limiting beliefs and there were ways to make this happen. She also walked away with the realization of how proud of herself she would be for this achievement.

I left the conversation thinking “What would make me feel ridiculously proud of myself?” We often think of goals or resolutions for things we want to start or stop. But how often do we think about the things that would make us ridiculously proud? It is an interesting question to ponder. For me, the answer wasn’t hard. It was something I have been pondering doing for some time. But never decided to tackle because I felt it was too hard, I wasn’t good enough, and it was going to take a loooooong time. I even played the game of thinking “I will be 50 before I achieve this.”  Until I realized if I didn’t pursue it, I would eventually be 50 without having achieved it. Once I admitted to myself what would make me feel ridiculously proud, I then asked myself the same things I asked her. What if each of those reasons you believed that you couldn’t do this weren’t true?

We all have limiting beliefs. Reasons why we can’t or won’t do something. Because we don’t have the skills, knowledge, experience, time, resources, energy, or money. When you begin to explore them from a different angle, you realize there are options you haven’t considered. Sometimes the goal feels too large and needs to be broken into smaller pieces. Sometimes it involves the help of others. Until you examine these and have someone challenge your thinking, you will continue to define yourself by beliefs that may not be true. In work, in life, and in relationships.

Think through what would make you ridiculously proud of yourself. Perhaps it is learning a new skill, earning a degree, learning a language or instrument. Perhaps it is fitness related. Perhaps it is starting or improving a relationship. Perhaps it is creating something or tackling that nagging to do that you have put off for years. Once you come up with the item, write a list of the reasons why you can’t achieve this. Then for each item, list out one action you could take to achieve it. What would it look like if you did the opposite? What help would you need?

For me, once I admitted my goal, I had to enlist help. From family to give me support and cheering as I work through the process. From a coach to help make sure I am approaching things the right way. From friends who will tackle similar goals along with me. And creating milestones so I can feel progress towards my desired outcome. I began to build my support network towards this – with a backup plan in case things don’t go as planned. I already feel ridiculously proud of myself for admitting I can try this and working towards it. Like everything in life, the journey is often as or more important than the outcome.

What would make you ridiculously proud of yourself? What is holding you back from starting today?