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Posted on March 16, 2020

“I wonder if the growth I’ve experienced over the past two years isn’t less about what I needed to learn and more about what I needed to unlearn.”

I received this text from a client last week. In the holiday spirit of Cousin Eddie, “bingo.”

Our life experiences program into us perspectives and behaviors that meet our specific needs along way. Unfortunately, many of the patterns we learn when we’re young won’t lead us to our full potential. Until we unlearn them we reinforce them, limiting our results, relationships and wellbeing. 

Here are five beliefs that must be unlearned to live a life of true success, impact and freedom. They are based on what I call the “5 prevailing P’s.”

THE 5 PREVAILING “P’S” THAT MUST BE UNLEARNED

Your self-worth is defined by your PRODUCTIVITY. 

It isn’t. You’re a human being, not a human doing. When you define yourself based on your production, your need for productivity becomes toxic, often at the expense of other priorities and even your health. Sure, you’re garage is immaculate, but you only feel as good as the next task you complete because the real work needs to happen inside you. Productivity is at it’s best when it’s an outflow of internal peace, not as a means to achieve it.

PLEASING PEOPLE is a requirement. 

You can’t please everyone. Often, as leaders, the work required to make real progress requires that we disappoint people. The same is true in parenting. Also, we can get spread so thin saying yes to all the requests for our time that we aren’t able to add significant value to anybody or make significant progress anywhere.

PRESTIGE is a priority. 

It’s actually a waste of time and resources. It’s been said that if we really understood how little of the time people spent thinking about us we’d care far less about what they actually think about us. Think about what you could do and wouldn’t have to do if if you were willing shake the shackles of the opinions of others. I know a lot of people would have a lot less consumer debt to say the least. You’re time and energy are too valuable to sell them to the opinions of others.

POWER is your path to security.

As humans, we love to be in control. Unfortunately, we have a finite ability to control the outcomes and circumstances of the world we live in, including the people around us. This is a set up for major disappointment. Circumstances are fluid and people do what people do. All we can control is our responses and inputs. Maybe you’ve heard it said, “if you want to change the world draw a circle around yourself and work on everything in the middle of it.” Sometimes, we need to go with the flow even when we don’t want to. We need to trust the power of the process.

PLEASURE is the point. 

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure, when he is really selling himself to it.” Pleasure is a by-product of a life well lived, but when it becomes the goal itself it consistently lets us down. We’re created to make a positive impact on the people around us and in the world we live in. Our purpose goes beyond us while pleasure focuses on us. Also, people who place too high a value on pleasure tend to stay in their comfort zone, but nothing transformative happens there. 

Can you relate to any of these?

Each of the “P’s” can make us feel good, but eventually they will all leave us coming up short. 

Which of the 5 “P’s” would you benefit from turning the volume down on the most?

Luckily, there is a better way.

THE GO-TO “G’S” THAT MUST BE ADOPTED INSTEAD

Here are three go to “G’s” that, if you make them habit, will allow to maximize your success, take you past your limits and fulfill your potential. 

GROWTH

You can produce a lot, please a lot of people, look good, amass control and take fantastic vacations, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be any further along than you were 12 months ago. It doesn’t mean you’ll have grown and be able to make a greater impact next year. The business world, and our families for that matter, are constantly changing. If we aren’t Intentional to grow we may eventually get left out or left behind. Most people grow when they have to. The most successful people grow because they planned to. What will you do to intentionally grow yourself in 2020? Your character? Competency? Compassion?

GIVING

Giving is about adding value to the people and places around us. The focus is outward instead of inward. Subconsciously, we can tend to leverage people and circumstances to fulfill our personal “P’s”. Although we may not realize it, it’s possible to use people and resources to get our own needs met. Alternatively, we can shift our perspective to live out this much better “G” by asking “how will I give my talent, time and treasure to help others get better?” It’s about being a river instead of a reservoir. In the words of Peyton Manning, “the most valuable player is the one who makes the most players valuable.”

GRATITUDE

It’s easy to focus on what we lack instead of on what we have. Taking regular inventory of our resources and blessings sets us up to leverage them to maximize our results, personally and professionally. It also positions our mindset to activate the other two “G’s,” growth and giving. We have to recognize our gifts and strengths to have a place to grow from. We have to recognize what we have to be able to give any of it away. 

If you’re ready to go beyond the prevailing “P’s” and get more intentional about the go to “G’s” take some time to make a plan to live them out in 2020.

We become what we behold. We get what we are focused on. This is why planning your “G’s” out for the year and keeping them in front of you daily will be a decision you won’t regret. I like to ask myself regularly how I’m doing on each of them.

Let me know if you need some help. 

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