Do you find yourself striving upward in life yet making little or no progress?
Are you high on activity but low on achievement?
Very clearly, it's time to stop, look and listen. You're obviously not doing something right.
I'll share with you something that happened to me recently. I believe it will help you understand my point.
I am an "Advanced Learner" driver. By now I shouldn't still be wearing my learner plates, I guess I just love the fact that people clear out of the way when I'm coming, and clamour to help me at the slightest sign of driver-distress. Talk about loving thy neighbour!
Any way, I was driving up a steep hill one bright Sunday morning when I noticed the car making some not-so-funny growling noises. Also, to my alarm, no matter how hard I stepped on the throttle, the car would not accelerate. It continued its belaboured, uphill climb, growling grudgingly as it went.
I made it some how to the top of the hill and pulled over to see what all the fuss was about.
As the smell of burning rubber reached my nose, my teenage son, sitting next to me exclaimed, "Mom, the hand brakes are on!"
I had been striving upward, making very little progress. I was "high on activity, but low on achievement." Thank God it occurred to me to "stop, look and listen."
I had the hand brakes on the whole time; the trouble was entirely my fault! The strange part was that it took some one else to spot the problem. It could have taken me ages, and much further damage, to see it myself.
Albert Einstein is reported to have said, "You can't solve a problem with the same mind that created it." Quite often in life we have the hand brakes on and don't even know it.
When a little effort doesn't give us the results we desire, we apply more of the same effort. We know something is wrong, we can even smell burning rubber.
But sadly, many of us just keep on "screeching on," not taking time out for a re-think, and not asking anyone else for help.
The point I'm making is that when we apply ourselves as best we know how, and still do not get the results we desire, it should be obvious that "the best we know how" just isn't good enough. We need to stop, look and listen. We might need outside help. Any further activity could cause even more damage.
These hand brakes quite often take the form of self-limiting beliefs. We usually don't know we have them.
But if we take the time out, with a trusted friend or coach, our words, actions, inactions and assumptions will quite likely reveal their existence.
A case in point: I have a friend who was not getting enough business contracts. She was qualified, capable and her prospects often gave her audience. She presented her business well and had a sound, desirable service to offer. But somehow, prospect-conversion rate remained low.
We talked, and after a while her problem became evident. I could tell that she had self-doubt.
Because hers was a young, small business she felt intimidated by the older giants.
She felt she wasn't as experienced and didn't have impressive client lists like they did.
As a result, she approached mainly small business owners, who, though impressed, could not afford her fees. Occasionally she serviced larger clients, but that was when "a friend of a friend" gave her a referral.
When made aware of these limiting beliefs she admitted, though surprised, that it was true. It was as if scales had suddenly fallen off her eyes. She had no idea that she had self-doubt. She had re-examined her services, her presentation and everything else she could think of, to no avail.
In the end, I sent her off to a business consultant who helped her repackage her offerings and drew up a new marketing plan for her. I took her through a series of coaching sessions to build self-belief and handle procrastination.
Today my friend has a sizeable, paying client base, and has learnt to stop often to look and listen when things don�t go as planned. She has also learnt to seek help.
Dear reader, is yours a case of struggle without success?
Have you taken time out to examine your case?
Remember, it isn't likely that you will spot the problem yourself. It's probably your thinking that created it in the first place.
A trip to a consultant or coach might be just what you need. He/she is more likely to see that your hand brakes are on than you are. A coach is also better able to determine the nature of your hand brakes, as self-doubt is only one of them.
And with a network of other consultants, a coach can recommend the help you need.
Not being personally and emotionally involved, a coach's opinion will most likely be objective.
He/she will not be critical of you but supportive.
There is no reason why you should continue with high activity and low achievement.
You owe it to yourself to stop, look and listen. People today avail themselves of coaching and consulting for a variety of problems: business strategy, weight-loss, image-making, school work, career management the list could go on.
Wherever progress is slow, or results are undesirable, a coach could save the day.
At the end of my ordeal with the hand brakes, my mechanic presented me with a hair-raising bill. I had burned my clutch plates, but thankfully they could be replaced.
Repairing the damage done to our lives or businesses might not be that easy.
We might never even get the chance.
Before the damage is extensive, stop, look and listen. You just might need a coach to help you.
Copyright 2005 Oma Edoja
Oma Edoja is a published writer, motivational speaker and infopreneur. She speaks to, and works with people seeking more out of life. She would love to answer questions on self-limiting beliefs. Visit her blog omaslounge.blogspot.com (for inspiration and motivation). Contact her (via blog) for a free assessment of your coaching needs.