For the last 6 months or so, I’ve been knowingly stunting my own growth in business. I knew I was doing it, yet I continued. As stupid as this sounds, I wouldn’t be surprised if most people are doing the same thing… and that’s why I wanted to share.

Being comfortable has been the core of my setbacks. It is very easy to become comfortable with a situation that doesn’t at all resemble what we really want out of life. Our level of comfort is defined by many things, starting with our upbringing. We all have standards that we feel are unacceptable to dip below. It is easy – almost natural to pull ourselves up to this level of comfort.

However, if you’re like many people, you want to move beyond your current perception of “comfort” and this can be a much more difficult task. We know that moving forward involves risk, and once we’ve reached a certain level of comfort, we don’t necessarily want to risk losing it. As a result, we can very easily stagnate at a certain level of achievement.

As I’ve discovered, this point of stagnation can kill your growth. In this state of stagnation, we begin collecting all kinds of things including relationships, values, expectations, beliefs, and “things” that begin to clutter our thinking and block our ability to move forward.

From time to time, it is essential that we evaluate our lives and purge things that aren’t serving their purpose any longer or that are getting in the way of our ability to move forward.

Purging Relationships

What has really gotten me thinking about the importance of purging things that are no longer useful is a recent “break up” with one of my clients. Actually, we more or less redefined our relationship rather than completely breaking up. I guess you could say that were are “dating casually” now rather than involved in a steady (but not exclusive) relationship. I knew that I was kind of bored and that this client relationship was stifling my growth for quite some time – but I continued to stay in the relationship! I was turning down much more lucrative opportunities in order to stay in the steady relationship and setting aside personal projects because of lack of time. Why?!?

It Was Emotionally Comfortable

Even as big of a believer as I am about pushing past your comfort zone, I knew I was staying in this relationship because it was comfortable! In the back of my mind, I was irked at myself for doing this didn’t do anything about it until last week. I disguised my limiting behavior by calling it loyalty. And though I am loyal, I was masking the truth. What are the boundaries of loyalty? Are you stifling yourself just because you have a comfortable relationship with someone?

Whether it’s a client/freelancer relationship, an employee/employer relationship, a marriage, or any other type of relationship, we’ve got to constantly evaluate if the relationship is serving our ultimate goals or if we are simply staying in it to be comfortable.

It Was Financially Comfortable

While this wasn’t my only client, this client sent a big chunk of work my way. The money was something I could count on regularly. Though I could have made more doing other projects, the regularity of the secure “paycheck” coming in was comforting. This is fear taking over.

I’ve talked before about creating a void so that new opportunities can flow in. As metaphysical and potentially unrealistic as this sounds – it seems to work every time. Immediately after creating a void in my life, new opportunities flowed into my email box.

Most People Don’t Want You To Evolve

Most people – even some of your closest friends and family – don’t REALLY want you to change. Though this wasn’t an issue in this “break up,” this natural human phenomenon has certainly stifled my growth and happiness at other times. People need you to stay the way you are because you serve a particular purpose for them. They may be afraid that you won’t need them anymore if you do something to better yourself. If you do better yourself, you also bring into sharp relief the fact that the other person hasn’t. There are plenty of reasons why people don’t want you to change.

Just like your first-grade teacher who may never see you as anyone but a goofy toothless kid, the clients you take on in the early days may not ever see you as the anything more than what you were when you entered into the relationship. Sometimes, if you need to change, you just need to cut ties and start over.

Action Item: Take inventory of your clients, your friends, and the people in your life. Honestly ask yourself if these are people who are helping you to advance or if they are causing you to stagnate or to actually bring you down. Then…. you know what to do from there.

Purging “Stuff”

I absolutely love getting rid of stuff. I’m kind of the opposite of a hoarder. I love to throw things away. I really believe that “stuff” can contain an enormous amount of emotional baggage. When you walk by something in your house, you consciously or subconsciously or remember all of the memories associated with it.

One friend of mine who had a nasty divorce told me a story of how his ex-wife took a really heavy wooden paper towel dowel and clubbed him with it. Then he pulled the paper towels in his kitchen off the dowel and showed me the dowel! He still kept the thing in his house and used it to hold his paper towels – why?!? This wasn’t the only thing like this in the house that he kept. He said that he wanted to move on, but I wondered how he could possibly move on with so many memories embedded in all of the “stuff” around him.

If something is no longer serving a purpose or doesn’t have positive memories surrounding it, why keep it around?

Action Item: Pick a drawer, a filing cabinet, or an entire room in your house to purge. Instead of going through and picking out what you want to keep, take everything out and only put back things that serve a purpose and have positive memories attached to them.

Purging Limiting Beliefs

Here’s the biggie… Here’s the one that I have the most trouble with… the purging of limiting beliefs. Without knowing it, we learned things about money, relationships, power, comfort, happiness – everything just by osmosis. Unlearning those beliefs that were instilled in us is so difficult, and living up to them is so easy.

My mom’s decision to go to college required a massive and courageous mindset shift on her part. Her family was dirt poor and no one in my family had ever gone to college before. But because she went, she expected that I would go and now my kids expect they will go. Her one act of bravery could have very easily created an entirely new way of thinking in our entire family line from that point forward.

Don’t we owe our future lineage a boost in what they can expect from themselves in life? This sounds great in theory, but how do we know which opportunities and mindsets we are blocking out if they are in fact blocked from our perception of reality?

Today, I was watching one of my guilty pleasures on TV, Real Housewives of Orange County, and saw that one of the couples hired a limo to take them shopping. My first reaction was “I can’t believe they took a limo shopping!” (There’s that word “can’t”). When I heard myself say “can’t” I realized that it wasn’t that I “couldn’t” believe they took a limo shopping, it was that I “wouldn’t” believe they would take a limo shopping.

This was a tip-off to me that I was experiencing a limiting belief. I started looking around at limo companies to see what they charged – to see if I could “try on” this belief, make it part of my reality, and pass on the experience to my kids. At $100 per hour, renting a limo is not something I feel comfortable spending my money on right now, but I didn’t want to stop there. Instead, I wrote to one limo company and asked if they would trade services – a new website in exchange for an evening out in a limo.

Action Item: Keep your mind alert to any times when you say “I can’t believe…” This might be a clue about your limiting beliefs.

A Side Note About eBooks!

If you had any limiting beliefs about the potential of ebooks – here’s an antidote! First of all, I want to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who purchased my ebook. I’ve gotten some incredible emails from people who have already put some of the techniques in motion and are already getting business! I’ve also met some great people whose services I will be using.

I’m thrilled to say that this $12 ebook brought in $1,080.00 in 12 days! I had no expectations for sales thrilled with the results. As I mentioned in my last post, you never know when something that has become obvious to you may be very valuable to someone else – so start writing those ebooks!

photo credit: 35392 Oh S__t September 13 2013 via photopin (license)

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