I was wondering what to write about for my first article and then I got to thinking about the relaunch of the Women in Business magazine in April and suddenly I was inspired.
What if I were to write about the re-launch of careers for women whether that is about starting back in the workplace, going for promotion or starting your own business? I have called this article ‘Re-Launching YOU from the Inside Out’ because preparation for something new starts on the inside as the biggest part of our personal success is all about how we feel about ourselves and whether we feel confident and good enough to tackle something new. I am going to be using Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and exploring how it has helped me to grow my business. NLP has often been called an ‘Instruction Manual for the Brain’. This is because it gives us real insight into what can hold us back from achieving our true potential and how to create change in our lives.
I wonder if you have ever considered the power of your thoughts to create what you believe is possible for you. Many of the women I work with are stuck in the place I describe as the Grey Zone. This is a place that is relatively comfortable because it is what we know, yet the danger is that it stifles our creativity and potential. I often get asked ‘what keeps me in the Grey Zone’? Most often it is fear of the unknown and fear of not being good enough to achieve what we really want. This can prevent you from taking control of your life in a way that allows you to flourish. We also know from recent research from Duke University that 40% of our actions are performed on auto-pilot because of our previous experiences. How do these things come together?
If you can imagine for a moment that every second of your life you are bombarded with far more information than your nervous system can cope with. We manage this totally unconsciously by filtering out and deleting much of the information as it comes
in. One of our main filters is our belief system. What we focus on develops our thoughts and our thoughts drive how we feel and our experience of the world or our reality. People often think that their experience creates what they believe about themselves, but it is actually the other way around. Your beliefs shape your destiny. For example, if deep down you believe you are not good enough to accomplish something, then that belief will create the reality for you. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We do this unconsciously through the habits & programming that we have developed since childhood. For example, if as a child, you were told by those close to you that you would never amount to much in your life, this could develop into a belief that you begin to hold to be true about yourself. Over the years, instead of noticing all the possibilities for you out there you could be unconsciously ‘deleting’ them to focus on those times when you can justify that belief to yourself. This belief is not actually true but you unconsciously generalise it to be true, and, as you grow into adulthood this belief has a major impact on your life. So instead of really taking control of your life and going for what you want, you are much more likely to be stuck in the Grey Zone and holding yourself back. Interestingly, a poll commissioned by the Open University earlier this year said that 59.7% of all workers want to overhaul their careers this year but many of them lack the self-confidence to achieve the dream of changing jobs. Just imagine what a difference it would make if this group were assisted to think and feel more positively about themselves thereby helping them to move out of the Grey Zone and into a new role.
I began learning about NLP back in 1997. I was in a corporate job as a consultant for one of the largest professional services companies in the world. I knew that I was in the Grey Zone but I didn’t know how to move outside. As a single parent, I was scared of letting go of my monthly salary. When I started my study of NLP I began to notice lots about my own belief system. I had been brought up in the East End of London in a working class family where no-one had ever gone to university. My parents, though not deliberately holding me back, didn’t know how to inspire me to step out of my own Grey Zone. NLP gave me the tools to do that. I began to challenge my own self-belief and what it was possible for me to achieve. I used the NLP tool-kit on myself to enable me to develop the courage to start my own business. I left my corporate role in 2005 to start The Change Corporation and I have never looked back.
So what can I share with you that will help you to take the first steps towards unleashing your own potential?
The most important piece of advice I can give is for you to start becoming the observer of your thoughts and the language you use. Your words say more than you realise as they are the label that you put onto your thoughts. The way that you share and express your thoughts and beliefs is through language. And the language you use makes a huge difference to how you feel. Notice the thoughts you have and the language you use and
• What does this tell me about the beliefs I hold about myself?
• Where do they come from?
• Do I really need to hold onto them as an adult?
• What would I like to believe instead?
Begin to move your thoughts and your language to a more positive place and notice how you feel about people, events, situations and circumstances in your life begins to change. Take responsibility for what you want and stop the excuses ‘I would have gone for that new role but…’. Take action and learn from the things that don’t go to plan. It may not happen overnight so perseverance is key. This will help you achieve not only a rewarding career, but also a fulfilling life.
Read some of Lindsey’s other articles: