The more I speak to people and clients the more frustrated I get when I hear how many of us feel that we aren’t good enough or that we aren’t deserving of a bloody amazing life! Yet, I used to be there. For years I found myself holding the STRONGEST belief that I was not enough- yes not just good enough, but not enough AT ALL! This belief was so strongly held that in the end I began living as if this were true, waking up everyday to this story I was telling myself and feel absolutely helpless to control any part of it.
What I didn’t realise at the time is just how plastic our brain is and that it has the ability to make up our life story and your character in it. So I began thinking to myself that if our brain is so plastic and malleable, if it is making up this story with the main character being someone who doesn’t feel like she is enough, then why don’t I create a different story with a different character? I took it upon myself that I was not going to leave it to chance as to who I end up believing myself to be, or I could take control and start writing myself as the character I would want to be, in the story I’d have the most fun living.
So where did I start?
I began asking myself the question; “who would I be if i…..?”
This is a very important question; I started to use it whenever I was confronted with any limitation or reluctance to do something. Whenever I thought; “I don’t want to”,I challenged this thought with; “who would be if I did want to?”
Think about this…..
We have the opportunity to be who we want to be every time we wake up. And yet we tend to dress ourselves in our old beliefs each morning as inevitably as we put on our clothes for the day. We really don’t have to.
There is probably no limit to what this simple question could accomplish, which is why we all ignore it as too simple. However here are some of the most common successes my clients have used it for:
“Who would I be if…….. I could resist that chocolate?”
“Who would I be if…… I was the kind of man who did go and speak to that woman?”
“Who would I be if…. I was the type of person who went for that job?”
“Who would I be if….. I did get off my arse and go to the gym?”
“Who would I be if…..I was the type of person who wouldn’t be treated that way?”
Next time you are faced with something where you would normally feel inhibited or have something to do that you consider impossible (but which other people can do), create a version of this question that fits the situation. Ask it of yourself.
Notice what changes within you when you do. Really focus on every and any change of thought, feeling and bodily expression- especially the latter.
When I ask myself “who would be if I did….?”And really pay attention to my response, I change physically- usually something subtle like my posture, sometimes in my breath, probably unnoticeable to anyone else, but I feel it. This physical change is then something I coach my clients in when I teach them this.
Research has found that our brain looks for clues from the body about how it should be feeling and responding. In a way our body is another bit of our environment to be interpreted.
This is also called the ‘physiology of excellence’. The body language that is most likely to produce your outcome in a particular situation. Top athletes are great at it; you can often tell who the winner is going to be just from the vibe they give off- and who isn’t going to win for the same reason.
Your body is a powerful tool in your life-kit, so learn how to use it, listen to the shifts it brings in your thinking and your moods.
The brain follows where the body leads.
The gentle adjustment of my physiology as I become “the person I’d be if…”has an effect on my thoughts. With rehearsal, thus physiology can become the new normality as it acts as the cement for a new behaviour and even a new belief.
What else have I asked myself?
“Just for today…….”
“I’m going to pretend I’m good enough”
“I’m going to assume everything is happening for a good reason”
“I’m going to think everything will be fine”
“I’m going to act like I’m having fun being me”
Giving the change a short time frame makes it feel more manageable. It’s what we call an ‘as if’ frame- an opportunity to just pretend that something is so, and, because we are not committing to it being true, we don’t feel the same if we fail at it.
So just for today, what would you choose to be different?
Asking these questions isn’t a magic wand to life’s challenges. They are simply a tool that encourages you to use your imagination to create a version of you that doesn’t involve you being more of what you don’t want to be.
Make this fun, be creative and allow yourself the room to create the BEST version of yourself every morning you wake up!