"I'm just not this kind of person"
One of the questions I’m often asked is: “How do you wake up early every day to do your morning routine?” It’s often followed by... “I’m just not a morning person” In response I usually ask: “What makes you think that I’m a morning person?” Through asking this question I learned that people have this idea that I jump out of bed wide awake when my alarm goes off. I don’t. Like most people, I have a brain that tells me “5 more minutes” But because I’ve been doing it for over a decade (it’s a habit now) + because I really appreciate this sacred time with myself while the rest of the world is still asleep, I’m able to hear my brain and choose not to take directions from it. This is what makes me a 'morning person'... There’s no gene for being a morning person. There’s also no gene for laziness, for being late, for being organised, for being responsible, for being physically active, etc.
We all have stories that we’ve been telling ourselves for years or even decades about who we are and what we can or cannot do. These are labels we’ve identified ourselves with and accept them as facts. I call them I Am Statements. We talk about ourselves as though we’re just reporting the weather – not realising that the way we do and don’t identify ourselves has a big impact on our actions and, in many cases, is the very thing that stops us from living through our intentions, achieving our goals and fulfilling our desires; or causes us to self-sabotage once we do. That’s the power of self image. Our brain is always searching for information to validate our beliefs. If you believe you’re a certain kind of person, your brain will filter the information around you in a way that proves that to be true. And therefore, your belief will be strengthened and you will continue to act in accordance with that belief. But not only that... As humans, we love being right. It can be really uncomfortable to realise we don’t know who we are so we do everything in our power to make sure that our reality is consistent with our beliefs about ourselves. Even when those beliefs don't serve us. We look for evidence to confirm our beliefs are right, dismiss evidence that goes against them and self-sabotage so we can hold onto our self-image. We crave change in our life, yet we resist actions that don’t match the identity we’ve created for ourselves: “that’s not who I am.” It feels safer for us to maintain our self-image and behave in a way that’s consistent with our self beliefs than to question our identity. These labels are limiting us from stepping into the life we really want. They limit our freedom to become who we truly want to be. When I started my business I didn’t believe I’m an entrepreneur (I thought you need to be Mark Zuckerberg to be one) so I didn’t act as one, which really limited my capacity to grow and evolve as a coach. When I finally started working with my first business coach I learned that I have to believe I’m an entrepreneur before I become one. If you want to start running, you have to see yourself as a runner, even if you “only” run 10 minutes twice a week. If you want to start writing, you have to see yourself as a writer, even if you “only” write one page a day. If you want to have your own business, you have to see yourself as a business owner, even before you earn a penny. Because here’s the thing - It’s one thing to say I want this. It’s another thing to say I’m the type of person who is this. Whenever we try to create change in our lives but we still operate from the same old belief systems, we’ll keep getting the same results and run into the same obstacles. Until you start to see yourself as the kind of person that can achieve your goal, you'll create a struggle so you can be right about yourself. Even if you’re determined to achieve it. If you’ve been trying to wake up early but you believe you’re not a morning person, you’ll snooze the alarm 15 times just so you can be right about yourself. It can feel comfortable to believe or to do what validates your self-image (“I Am”), even if it’s not the truth. Stepping into what you want requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to expand your identity beyond the labels you’ve attached yourself to. Start at the end (your dreams / goals / desires) and work backward from the vision you have to the type of person who lives this vision. As always, I’d love to hear from you - Which labels have you identified that are currently limiting you?