The 3 Most Limiting Words

Young Woman Behind The Bars

 

“That’s just me.”

She said it definitively in that way people dismiss a question.  Tossing her hair with a quick flip, she signaled to the small group that there would be no discussion.

I’m not much of an eavesdropper.  I normally am absorbed in my own work.  But I was sitting in this little café only a few feet away.

I think it was her manager who sat down at the table, motioning to her to sit down.  The discussion was about customer complaints and her abrupt communication style.  Customers felt that she was dismissive and perhaps slightly arrogant.  At the same time, she received high marks for her product knowledge.

“That’s just me,” she said again, before flatly adding, “I get frustrated and impatient.  But I do know what to do.”

That’s Just Me.

For a moment, I bought it.  After all, you can’t really fight it if that is really who you are.

But then I stopped myself as I thought about those words.

Instead of thinking about ways to grow, she had unknowingly slammed the door shut, imprisoning herself in a world much smaller than only a few moments ago.

One of the greatest attributes of people is the ability to grow, to change, to develop.  Who I was five years ago is not who I am today.  That incredible quality, the ability to change who we are defies those three words.

 

Only you have the power to determine whether your future mimics your past. -Skip Prichard

 

Change the Words = Change the Future

Personal responsibility demands more.  Three better words than, “That’s just me,” are, “I can change.”  And where does the power to change begin?  In the mind.

You can determine whether you are the same tomorrow as you are today.

You can decide whether you want to have a future that mimics the present.

I didn’t interrupt or listen to more of the conversation.  I slipped away, but with a lesson.

We are all wired certain ways.  We cannot change everything about ourselves.  But we do have more power than we think to mold the future.

I may not have said those three words that day, but often I have limited myself in the same way.  Instead of shifting blame to others or outside circumstances, how can I take more responsibility for the future and make it happen?

 

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” -Mother Teresa

 

“The future depends on what you do today.” -Gandhi

 

“The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.” Mary Pickford

 

 

 

 

 

Move TO your future not AWAY from your past

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Photo by Fellowship of the Rich on flickr.

People seem to be motivated by one of two forces.  Either toward or against.

Both can be equally powerful motivators, but one seems to last.

Why are you in motion?

When I interview people for a job, I often ask questions about how the individual made career decisions.  Some job changes were motivated by moving AWAY from something—a bad boss, a negative work environment, low pay.  Other people make a change to move TOWARD something—a new opportunity, the ability to make a bigger impact, a better use of talent.

Though it’s not scientific validation, I’ve found that the people moving TOWARD the new opportunity are more successful, happier, and continue on an upward career path.  These people are energized by the future, by what’s to come, by what’s possible.

Contrast that with the people moving AWAY from a job.  It seems that the very same things that they didn’t like about the one job magically seemed to follow them to the next!

Moving TOWARD is more powerful than moving AWAY.

What Three Words Can Shape Your Future?

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Photo by Nico&CO on flickr.

A few years ago, Chris Brogan decided to pick three words to shape his year.  He says that the three words “sum up what you want to work actionably on changing/improving in the coming year.”  In 2006, his words were “Ask. Do. Share.”  This year, he chose “Walt. Ender. Monchu.” I know, not exactly intuitive, but the point is that you select what makes sense to you.

Many others jumped on board and picked three words.  Recently, I was reading Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation and noticed he picked three words (starvation, beyond, student).

MY THREE WORDS

This year, mine are health, love and listen.

1.  Health

True health is not only physical.  Health is something that encompasses the full you:  physical, spiritual, social, mental, and emotional.  It is something you pursue, a state where you keep negative forces at bay.  It’s more than the absence of sickness.  It’s also the presence of well-being.

2.  Love

Commitment: What will you do no matter what?

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Photo by hectorir on flickr.

When you make a commitment, especially one to yourself, you begin to energize your mind in a way that opens new doors of possibility.

A commitment starts the engine of the subconscious mind.  It takes a dream or an idea, and begins the process of turning it into reality.  Mixed with discipline, commitment shapes the future.

Steve Jobs is known for a lot of his attributes, but one of them was his commitment.  He was committed to excellence.  There’s one story about him opening up an Apple computer, looking inside and making the team start over.  You can hear the conversation:

Steve:  That’s ugly.

Engineer:  Who cares what the PC board looks like?  The only thing that’s important is how well that it works.  Nobody is going to see the PC board.

Steve:  I’m gonna see it!  I want it to be as beautiful as possible, even if it’s inside the box.  A great carpenter isn’t going to use lousy wood for the back of the cabinet, even though nobody’s going to see it.

That’s commitment.

5 Steps for Helping You Keep an Open Mind

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Photo by s_falkow on flickr.

You are perched high above a courtroom, wondering how you got into this position.  You pinch yourself thinking, “This is a dream!”

You watch as the prosecutor stands up and addresses the court.  The evidence is overwhelming.  The facts are clear.  The accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and should be locked away for years.  The attorney begins to outline the evidence, building the case block by block.  You watch a videotape of the crime.  You hear the witnesses testifying one by one.  Finally, the prosecution rests its case.

The defense attorney stands up, adjusts her suit and begins to say, “Good afternoon,” when you hear a voice thunder, “Enough!  I’ve heard enough.  Let’s not waste any more time.  Guilty.  Ten years in prison and no parole!”

The courtroom is stunned.  After all, what judge would possibly issue a sentence before hearing both sides of the argument.

Who would do that?!

The answer?  YOU.

And me.  We all do it.  We make judgments before hearing both sides.  And nowhere is that more obvious than in the middle of election season.  Do you: