Breaking a limiting belief often starts with dismantling the underlying assumption. Challenge that and new possibilities and options become available.
The look in his eyes changed. He was buzzing. All of a sudden he could see the possibility and how achievable it was. Earlier he’d laughed when I asked the group how much they wanted to earn a week. We’d just finished an exercise about visualising their ideal life and were sharing what they’d written.
Make the Impossible Possible
“£35 million a week,” he said, laughing at how ludicrous it was.
“What makes you smile when you say that number?”
“Well, it’s just stupid. No one earns that amount of money.”
“Don’t they?” I ask them to google and find someone who does. I certainly didn’t know anyone who did earn that money.
One of the boys looks up from his phone and says, “I’ve found 10 people who earn over a million dollars… an hour”.
That’s when all their smiles changed. In a moment they have realised that this crazy figure wasn’t so impossible.
Once they’d seen that it wasn’t impossible their belief system made a shift.
Certainly we didn’t know how he was going to make that kind of money. But the knowing that someone else did or could earn that amount captivated them and made possibility real.
As they sat there, taking in this new bit of information, I shared the story about Sir Roger Bannister, the man who broke the 4 minute mile. No one had ever run a mile in 4 minutes, but once he broke it, three other runners ran sub-4 minutes in the next 13 months. Once they’d seen that it wasn’t impossible their belief system made a shift that compelled them to achieve and beat what he’d done.
Turn Your Dream into Smaller Chunks
I now had fully captured his and the class’s attention.
As we talked about what he wanted to achieve in his life, how he wanted to work, who he wanted to work with, we began to understand some of the basics of a plan. Yes, we’d not identified what specific role or job, but he had worked out how he wanted to feel, what some of the key components would be. He had a handle, a hook on what it might look and feel like. It was a start.
We ended by looking at this daunting £35 million a week. It’s a big, scary number. We broke it down into a smaller chunks. Just looking at the raw numbers, we discussed how it might happen.
Put simply, he’d need to sell something for £35,000 to a 1000 people a week. Or £3,500 to 10,000 people per week. Or something worth £350,000 to 100 people. What if he didn’t think locally, but globally? Two minutes ago he was laughing at the stupidity of earning that kind of money. Now he was thinking to himself about what he could sell for those figures. He was buzzing. He could see the possibility become even more real and how achievable this really was.
Defining a Future
How many times have you asked or remember being asked as a teenager what you wanted to do as a career and you replied, ‘I don’t know’? Yes. We didn’t have a product or a job role to nail all this to. But you could now ask him the same question and he’d reel off a whole list of qualities he wanted. Who cares if there wasn’t a specific job title. He knew what he wanted his future to look like and what he wanted to feel. He had a roadmap.
Surprisingly there was a cherry on the cake of the session: Another boy said he wanted to earn £1 million a day. Smiling I said, “We’ve just cracked £35 million! A million should be easy!”. How real was earning a million having just broken through the belief of £35 million?
We repeated the exercise. This time the boy knew what he wanted to make and sell, which was to design football boots. We spent some time working out how many shoes; what he needed to do along each stage; where to go; who to ask. We mapped it out enough that we soon realised that by lunchtime he could take one step toward earning the money he wanted. Within 45 minutes, he could take his first step closer making his dream a reality.
Now that’s how you break a limiting belief.