Over the past four years of coaching folks, I've lost track of how many times I've heard someone begin a sentence with the phrase, "I'm bad at."
It pains me to think of how quick these fantastically capable people are to draw negative and super limiting conclusions about their personalities and abilities. And then to think of how they carry those negative assessments forward into their lives, into their general beliefs about what is and isn't possible for them.
Lately I've worked with several folks who have, in their pasts, experienced some difficulty when it comes to finishing projects they've started. This is a sore subject for them; they've made their historical lack of finishing mean something about their current ability to see anything all the way through to completion.
When I ask more questions, I learn that they've been pretty committed to a practice of collecting evidence to support their claim that they're bad at finishing. With each bit of supposed proof, they've solidified their belief that there's a shortcoming, some indisputable personal flaw at play.
Here's what I've said to them, and what I'm saying to you, if you're also someone who's quick to declare yourself bad at something:
You’re not categorically “bad at finishing.”
It isn’t a fixed personality trait of yours.
You just haven’t gotten proficient at it yet; you haven’t allowed yourself enough opportunities to practice and cultivate a finishing mindset and skill set.
You’ve carried an old story forward into the present, so that the only thing that’s preventing you from being a finisher now is a belief you have about yourself.
That’s it! Just a belief. Not a fact or a condition, but something you’re playing over and over again in your mind.
You could just as easily choose to believe the opposite.
If what you believe doesn’t make something true or false (after all, that’s what your actions are for), why not believe something about yourself that feels better? Something that encourages you, something that’s uplifting, something that creates an energy of possibility and capability.
And then what if your actions followed suit? On their own? What if you became someone who finishes what she starts simply because you convinced yourself, via your chosen belief, of the possibility?
If that doesn't quite land with you, here are some cheeky alternatives:
Why not decide that what you believe, either way, doesn't actually matter as far as your behaviors are concerned?
What if you don't need to first believe that you're a strong finisher in order to become one?
What if what you believe as far as your finishing capability is irrelevant?
If you’re up to it, share one of your new chosen beliefs—or declare your decision to separate your beliefs from your actions—in the comments below.