This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.
I drew this little picture to make a rather simple, but profound, point: there is an enormous gap between what you believe you are capable of and your actual abilities.
The circle in the middle of the drawing represents what you believe you are capable of, whether this be your sales results, your ability to win your dream client, your ability to generate income, your ability to create value for your dream client, your ability to cook, your ability to dance, physical feats (like running a marathon), and literally anything else you can think of.
That little circle in the middle represents your self-limiting beliefs, your self-imposed limitations. It’s an imaginary circle. It exists only in your mind. Outside of your mind that circle doesn’t exist at all. You are the only one that can see it. That’s why so many people can see that you are capable of so much more (it’s also why so many people who have drawn their own line too small believe you aren’t).
Now look at the bigger circle. The big outer circle represents what you are really capable of. I believe that it’s very reasonable to believe you can do anything. (As one example, there is this)
Who Would You Have to Be?
If you want to be more than you are now, if you want to produce better results in any area of your life than you are presently, the first thing you have to do is to develop a bigger vision of yourself. You have to see yourself as someone capable of producing those results.
Before you doubt me, let me remind you that the only reason the inner circle is the size it is now is because you drew the circle. You can erase the circle and draw a new circle as close to the edge of your real capabilities as you decide.
The most important question you have to answer for yourself is “Who do I have to be?” The words that you use to describe yourself represent who you believe you are, and they also indicate your self-imposed limitations. To change your results, you first have to change your self-image.
What Would That New You Have to Do?
But your new vision of yourself isn’t by itself enough to help you produce the results that you really want. The giant gulf between your self-imposed limits and what you are capable of can only be closed by your willingness to take the actions that will make that bigger vision a reality.
The vision of yourself comes first, because without it you won’t take the actions. Once you draw your new circle, taking the actions that produce the results you want is easier when those actions align with your new vision of who you really are. But to cross that chasm between your results and now and the better results you want, you have to take action. You have to do the work.
You are only stuck in the little circle because you stood in the center and drew the boundaries around yourself. You are free at any time to erase the too-small circle that makes up your self-limiting beliefs and draw a larger circle. Do this a few times and you will realize that the further out you draw that circle that there really isn’t any reason to have any circle of self-imposed limitations at all.
What self-imposed beliefs are holding you back?
Why do some people believe they aren’t capable of what you know them to be capable of? Could this be how other people accurately see you?
Is your vision of yourself big enough? What words do you describe yourself?
What actions do you need to take to break out of your self-imposed limits and become all that you should be?