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In March of this year I brought back Stuff I Learned yesterday after being on hiatus for over 4 years. I had a burning desire to share the story arc that comprised all of last season. For some of you that listened to the original run of Stuff I Learned Yesterday, several of the stories shared last season were familiar because I’d shared them in some capacity on previous episodes of SILY. I shared them again and in more detail because I felt it was important to tell the whole story as an arc.

This season will be taking a similar approach in format. That is, the entire season is one continuous story, with each episode being a story within the larger story. Last season was titled, “The Dream,” and this season is called, “The Car.”

You may recall from previous episodes that I love to make goals and write them down. In fact, I mentioned last season that it was a challenge from my boss to sell a particular software package that helped me learn that I love having a goal to aspire toward. I’ve been a goal getter for so long now, it’s hard for me to remember a time where I didn’t have some sort of goal tied to a stick dangling out in front of me for motivation.

To me, goals are the secret to my success. Over the years I’ve used books from Michael Hyatt, Jim Rohn, Napoleon Hill, Maxwell Maltz, Gay Hendricks, Brian P. Moran, BJ Fogg, John Maxwell and others to help me grow my understanding of the importance of goals and how to properly set them.

A few years ago I reached a spot in life that I never thought I’d be. I found myself struggling to set goals and find motivation.

When I quit the bookstore to pursue my dream of becoming a full-time entrepreneur, I had a very clear vision for what I wanted my company and my future to look like. I wanted to serve my clients well. I wanted to help them fulfill their dreams of making the world better, of impacting people for good, by helping them get their message out to the world. I wanted to set up my company so that it could scale beyond the limits of my time and talents. I wanted to have freedom with my time so that I could attend every event possible with my kids as they grew up. When I started out on this entrepreneurial journey, my daughter was finishing fourth grade and my son was finishing third grade. Flying at the blistering pace that only time can, I’m now somehow the parent of a high school graduate daughter, and a son entering his senior year. I’ve been there for it all, seeing them off to school each morning, welcoming them home each afternoon, attending their events, volunteering at school, and supporting them as best as I know how. But let’s get back to that moment when I found myself without motivation.

The year was 2018 and it had been 5 years since I quit my job to become a full time entrepreneur. Those 5 years were hard, especially the first 3 of them. I’d put in countless hours, worked many late nights, and adapted my business strategies several times. But all that hard work and adaptation had paid off. By the spring of 2018, I’d reached all the goals that I’d originally set for myself. I’d replaced my salary from the bookstore, I was working normal hours, I’d diversified my clientele so that my income wasn’t tied too heavily to one single client, and I’d structured the business to run smoothly even if I was out of the country doing mission work.

What I’d failed to do was adapt my goals. It was like I suddenly looked up and found myself at the top of the hill I’d been climbing. I wanted to keep climbing, that much I knew, but something was off and I wasn’t sure what it was. While at the Podcast Movement conference that year I had lunch with my friend Cliff Ravenscraft. I shared with him how I was feeling and about how confused I was. Cliff was able to quickly identify my problem. Have you identified it? My problem was I lost my why.

Up to that point, my why was easy: I needed to provide stability for my family. I needed to create margin in my life so I could be there for my wife and kids. Having done that, I needed a new why.

Later that year in September of 2018, Cliff was planning his first ever conference called Free the Dream. I’d thought about attending, but wasn’t sure if it was right for me. We talked about what the conference would be focusing on, and I determined that I’d give it a shot. So on the weekend of September 8th, 2018, I hopped on a flight to Nashville.

The Free the Dream conference was amazing. Not only did Cliff deliver on some life-changing workshop sessions, but so did the other speakers like Dan Miller, PJ Jonas, Ray Edwards, Aaron Walker, Jevonnah Ellison, and Ken Davis.

We started the weekend off with a session discussing limiting beliefs. If you’ve never read any books or researched how limiting beliefs play out in your life, you need to. I honestly can’t stress this enough. Two of the books I’ve found the most impactful are Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, and The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. In fact, I’d already read The Big Leap a year or more before I attended Cliff’s conference, but limiting beliefs, at least for me, is not something that is solved by simply reading one book or attending one conference.

What is a limiting belief? A limiting belief is a hidden barrier you place in your life that is based on fear and false belief. In The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks says that every person he’s ever worked with has had at least one of four barriers, sometimes two or three of them. He says that you must “begin by considering the possibility that you have at least one hidden barrier that is keeping you from being completely successful.” So what are these limiting beliefs? One is that you believe you can’t reach your full potential because something is fundamentally wrong with you. Two is you can’t find your full success because it would cause you to end up all alone, be disloyal, or leave people behind. Three is a belief that if you achieve more success, you’ll bring a bigger burden on yourself. Four is a fear that if you achieve a certain level of success, you will outshine someone else, and make that person look bad or feel bad.

Now there is MUCH more to each of these, and if I’ve just piqued your interest, then you should go grab a copy of The Big Leap.

For me, I identified the fourth one as my limiting belief. I was afraid to outshine my brother. Growing up, I was always more nerdy and less popular than either of my brothers, but I’d typically done better academically. Now that we were adults, I’d excelled in my career, while my oldest brother had struggled to find his footing. This was especially true when we were younger adults in our twenties and thirties. As I read the book and thought about my own feelings, I realized that I’d been limiting my success because I didn’t want to outshine my brother by too much. But even as I realized I had this limiting belief, I also realized how absurd it was because my brother has always been a supporter of me and proud of my success. He’s never once displayed jealousy or animosity. In fact, he’s been there cheering me on and patting me on the back every step of the way.

But now there I was at the Free the Dream Conference listening to Cliff talk about limiting beliefs and realizing I still had work to do to free myself from the bondage of those false beliefs.

Cliff gave us steps to break free from our limiting beliefs, and I’ll share them with you here.

Awareness: Be aware of the limiting beliefs in your life.
Discover the source: Where does the belief come from?
Condition an empowering alternative belief: Combat the false belief with a true belief.

Some ways to break the bondage of limiting beliefs is with daily affirmations, connecting with peers who are living out the beliefs you want in your own life, and for you to put your new beliefs into action so you can test them and see them at work in your life.

Here’s what I’ve learned about goals and limiting beliefs.

Both goals and limiting beliefs are things that you have to be mindful of. We’re going to talk a lot about goals in this season, and starting next week we’re going to see a goal go from words on a page, to roaring to life in my garage. Over the last 25 years I’ve achieved a lot of goals, and I’ve put a lot of limits on myself. In fact, I still have limiting beliefs that I battle. But I’m also confident that the only thing keeping me from achieving anything is myself. I’m just as confident that the same is true for you.

So do me this favor; no, do yourself this favor. Grab a piece of paper and make a numbered list of 1 through 20 down the left side. At the top, write “Where Do I Want My Life to Be 5-10 Years from Now.” Give yourself at least 15 minutes and just start writing. Don’t limit yourself, don’t judge yourself, don’t erase or scratch through an idea. Just write down whatever comes to mind. I’ll share my list with you next week.

I’m Darrell Darnell, and this has been Stuff I Learned Yesterday episode 574, “No Limits.” Next week I go shopping and learn that objects on the internet may be different than they appear. Stuff I Learned Yesterday is part of the Golden Spiral Media podcast network. Join me on Twitter at GSMPodcasts, Facebook, or our feedback page.

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