Is Your Second Act Stagnant? Examine Your Limiting Beliefs

Limiting beliefs keep large dog trapped behind small gateMy daughter recently purchased a pure-breed Newfoundland puppy. It was an adorable bundle of black fur, and now at 7 months old, it is a huge, energetic, and still-growing bundle of black fur. The dog rapidly outgrew the kitchen space it spends a portion of the day in, blocked only by toddler gates. The dog can easily leap up and drape its massive front legs over either gate, but never jumps the gate. Why? Because as a puppy, the gates prevented escape. Now, 7 months later, the dog still believes it cannot escape.

Do you have a business idea you’d like to pursue? Are you itching to try something new in your life? Are you bursting at the seams to break free of your boundaries but feel something isn’t right? Maybe it’s time to examine your mental gates. Just as my daughter’s puppy believes it cannot escape its kitchen confines, we are blocked by limiting beliefs. What’s worse is we may not be aware of these beliefs. Some imprint on us at an early age. Some are as easy to overcome as stepping over a barrier, but it’s our beliefs that keep us trapped. Here are a few exercises to help you explore your past to identify and remove the beliefs that are holding you back.

What challenges did you have as a child?

Did you struggle in school? Were you bullied? Did you have a learning disability? These situations can influence us early in life which leads to early limiting beliefs. As you explore your childhood, review your memories to discover events that may have contributed to your current beliefs.

What was home life like?

What elements of family life crept into your subconscious? Did your family struggle with money? Were you raised by a single-parent? Did your parents work long hours? How our parents or guardians handled these situations plus overheard conversations can impact our beliefs. For instance, I was the quiet child who preferred to stay home, read, and be by myself. Meanwhile, all my cousins excelled in school, sports, and extracurricular activities. I overheard my uncle ask my dad what activities I enjoyed. My dad’s answer: “Kristen marches to the beat of a different drummer.” There was no disappointment or animosity in his tone, however, I knew I was different and for a long time, believed I was too different to make a difference. Thirty years later, I was able to release that limiting belief and pursue my own interests.

What experiences did you have that influenced your life?Large dog believes he can't jump gate

Did death touch your family unexpectedly? Or a natural disaster? Did you move a lot? If you were always the new kid at school, you may have a belief that you won’t fit in, which may translate to your business idea won’t fit in. Were you unemployed or laid-off? This may translate into the limiting belief that you are unemployable.

Give yourself time to review your memories and experiences, then list the ideas that stand out most. Next, reshape those thoughts through meditation, writing, and repetition. For instance, if you moved a lot, reshape a limiting belief to, “I have regional and cultural experience that will be helpful to my business.”

Make each mantra a new habit. Repetition and persistence—especially when you feel blocked by the thought—will help release that limiting belief.

I recently attended a series of webinars on career reinvention for Boomers and GenXers in which confidence was a top issue. The common thread was how to rebuild following our outdated beliefs:

Beliefs => thoughts => actions => results

How are your beliefs influencing your results? If you find your progress less than satisfactory and the results you seek are still out of reach, then you’re overdue to reexamine your beliefs. Some of them will be easy to overcome, like a dog jumping over a gate, while others will take longer to redirect. Explore the exercises above, weed them out, and then reframe them with newer, positive and productive beliefs.

And step over your gate!

Kristen Edens
Making Midlife Better

Opportunity or Despair: How Do You Respond to Change?

One moment, I’m doing F.A.I.R. with business and then the next moment, my two biggest clients lose funding and cannot extend my contract.

These things happen, I tell myself. It’s a normal cycle as a freelancer. Just buckle down, regroup, and reach out. I’m good at what I do and there are plenty of opportunities out there.

That’s what I told myself—repeatedly—as the weeks flew by and no new clients accepted my proposals.

By July, half my client income was missing. The bills were more painful to pay. I reexamined my expenses and cut the fat from a budget that was already anorexic. The fears and doubts seeped into my brain, but I believed in myself.

Besides, what else was there to do? Cuss? Cry? Quit? I’m 53 and seeking employment elsewhere is more challenging.

Then on July 26th, I got the word that a third client had to postpone our contract until further notice.

“As soon as things change, Kris, I’ll get right back to you.”

As those words flowed from his lips, I wondered if it was as painful for him to say them as it was for me to hear them. The call ended on a pleasant note, but I’m certain neither of us were in a pleasant mood.

Winners never quit and quitters never win. –Vince Lombardi

While the desire to cuss and cry intensified, I clung to a thin thread of positivity. I KNEW there was light at the other end. I just couldn’t see it. That night, I stepped into the darkness to consult the Universe:

“It’s time for a change. Where am I going next?”

I failed to recognize that change had already occurred.

I stubbornly pursued the status quo. I had two strong leads that were ready to start in August. The time frame was tight, but I reminded myself that I will be fine.

Then within 20 minutes of each other on July 31, I received emails from both leads. The first said their business direction has changed and they needed time to reevaluate their goals. The second said they wanted to shop for similar services.

Funny how that happened on the eve of August. Except I wasn’t laughing. I cussed. I cried. I considered quitting.

I slept poorly. I had bizarre dreams. Then I woke up exhausted yet with a new realization: change pursued me. It was time for me to act rather than react.

Although my emails and calls were expertly crafted, using optimistic words like ‘rebrand opportunity’ and ‘a new direction’, I could read between my own lines. I was still ashamed. And now I’m asking parents, my partner, and my network for help—at my age!

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent. –John Donne

Lesson (reluctantly) learned: accept and be grateful! I had several friends and family remind me of what I had already done for them and they were grateful to return the generosity to me.

Additional lessons learned:

Coping mechanisms

  • Remain positive. This is not the end; it’s a new beginning!
  • Seek the opportunities that arise during the storm.
  • Don’t let the storm stall you—lean in and surge forward.
  • Vent your frustrations. A little cussing and crying is acceptable; avoid letting it deprive you of sleep, nourishment, or self-care.
  • Call on your support team for help, love, & assistance.

Next steps

  • Determine what can be condensed or put on hold. As with the client that had to delay our working together, I had to pass on the same sentiments to my virtual assistant. The trickle-down effect touched at least 3 households.

Results

Although the recent events APPEARED dark, I now have renewed enthusiasm and a positive outlook as I continue to evolve. My support group and recent discoveries helped create a better, stronger plan.

Insights

Change changed me. While I fought for the status quo, I emerged with the knowledge that I have the creative power and energy to generate something better for myself.

I willingly accept!

How will you emerge on the other side of change?

Kristen Edens

There is No Room for Worry in Entrepreneurship

“If I was to worry, would it change the future?”S. Miles fdp.net
David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine in the Kung Fu television series.

Much of what we learn in life begins with our parents’ teachings. My father taught me that I could be anything I wanted as long as I worked hard. My mother taught me the art of worry. Though my dad considered me determined and hard-working, I unconsciously pick up some of my mother’s worry-gene. This certainly wasn’t something I wanted, but as I entered the entrepreneurial world, worry nipped at my heels. Whenever I told mom of my business ideas, progress or goals, she’d wring her hands and follow up with:

“I don’t know about this, Krissy. It seems so uncertain.”

“Aren’t you worried that you’ll never make any money?”

“I’m worried you’ll fail. Wouldn’t it be better if you got a real job?”

“You’re getting a little old for this. Aren’t you worried about your financial future?”

Gee, thanks, Mom.

However, she had her supportive moments:

“Krissy, honey, if you’re having a mid-life crisis, I’ll be happy to pay for professional counseling.”

Building a business comes with plenty of uncertainties and unexpected obstacles, but worrying or quitting is never a viable option. Sure, there may be times we fall into that toxic mind set, but we need to focus on the truths:

  • Each of us is an expert in our chosen industry
  • We deliver a unique approach to our product or service
  • There are plenty of resources available to help us reach our goals
  • We will make mistakes, but we learn from them and improve
  • We believe in what we do

If worry weighs you down or interferes with your productivity, these tips will help ease your mind:

Focus on your accomplishments: The advantage of being ‘a little bit older’ is that we have a larger pool of memories to boost us up. We’ve seen more, done more and experienced more that challenged us every step of the way. You’ve had some down times, but you bounced back.

Reflect on positive feedback: I often deflected my mother’s worry darts, but they were lobbed so frequently that some hit the mark. During the barrage, I often forgot my father’s positive words. Find those positive words in your life. Review client recommendations and testimonials. In their words you won’t find worry or doubt; you’ll find respect, trust and relief. You solved their problem and made life easier for them. You will continue to do so!

Meditate or exercise: Use this venting time to release pent up energy and fill with positive thoughts. Some days may require a little more time than others, but if worry is already affecting your productivity, then fill that wasted time with activity to clear your thoughts.

Treat yourself: with all we have to do, it’s very easy to overlook our own care. The result: our business, our family and our relationships suffer. Make time daily for yourself, by yourself, to recharge your batteries. This may include your favorite tv show, food, drink, activity, but whatever it is, this is your ME time. Let your family know that this is vital to your happiness—and their survival!

Being a grandparent in business is serious business. Do you have suggestions or other best practices to add? Comment below!

Kris the Scribbler
A grandparent in business

(photo credit goes to Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net)

Need a Motivational Boost? These Songs, Books & Movies Will Perk You Up

Stuart Miles from fdp.netNeed a Motivational Boost? These Songs, Books & Movies Will Perk You Up

Last month I shared the favorite coping skills from women I interviewed for The Women’s Journals. Time with friends, exercise, faith and family were most helpful to them.

As business owners (or, simply, human beings) we all encounter the occasional need for a motivational nudge when we have a big meeting coming up, an important interview, or a little extra courage to move us through a rough spot. When those moments hit me, I grab these movies (most of which have been adapted from books). However, these are so good, they are on my most-watched list:

African Queen
Burlesque
Down Periscope
Julie & Julia
King’s Speech
Major League
Memoirs of a Geisha
Radio
Sea Biscuit
Secretariat
Take the Lead

Each has its own distinct message of overcoming odds, internal, or external conflicts—sometimes all three. Depending on the situation, most of us can related with the characters and the situation. These movies always give me a boost of, “You can do it!”

For a musical nudge, the songs below always pick me up. I’ve included snippets of the lyrics for quick reference.

What songs, books or movies give you a boost? Share below. Let’s build our boost list together  🙂

Happy writing!
Kris the Scribbler

(photo credit goes to Stuart Miles of freedigitalphotos.net)

Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) by Styx

You see the world through your cynical eyes
You’re a troubled young man I can tell
You’ve got it all in the palm of your hand
But your hand’s wet with sweat and your head needs a rest

And you’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe it
You’re kidding yourself if you don’t believe it
How can you be such an angry young man
When your future looks quite bright to me
How can there be such a sinister plan
That could hide such a lamb, such a caring young man

You’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe it
You’re kidding yourself if you don’t believe it
Get up, get back on your feet
You’re the one they can’t beat and you know it
Come on, let’s see what you’ve got
Just take your best shot and don’t blow it

You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me by Cher (from the movie Burlesque)

Feeling broken
Barely holding on
But there’s just something so strong
Somewhere inside me
And I am down but I’ll get up again
Don’t count me out just yet

I’ve been brought down to my knees
And I’ve been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I’ll be back
Back on my feet
This is far from over
You haven’t seen the last of me

They can say that
I won’t stay around
But I’m gonna stand my ground
You’re not gonna stop me
You don’t know me
You don’t know who I am
Don’t count me out so fast

Making It by David Naughton (a favorite of mine from 1979…yes, I had a thing for disco, but the message is still great!)

I’m solid gold, I’ve got the goods
They stand when I walk through the neighborhoods
I’m makin’ it, I’ve got the chance, I’m takin’ it no more
No more fakin’ it, this time in life, I’m makin’ it

Hello Uptown, Goodbye poverty
The top of the ladder is waiting for me

Listen everyone here, this coming year’s gonna be my year
I’m as bad as they come, number two to no one, I’ve got looks
I’ve got brains and I’m breakin’ these chains, make some room now
Dig what you see, success is mine ’cause I’ve got the key
I’m makin’ it