In my experience of coaching and counselling, I have found that the number one limiting belief that people hold is that they are not in control of their lives.
People give me their tales of woe, and implore: “but I CAN’T do it”. There is always a compelling reason excuse as to why they are not living their ideal life. Apparently, it’s their genetics; it’s the government; it’s the demands of their job; it’s their wife; it’s the financial climate; it’s their rough childhood. In a nutshell, it’s NOT THEIR FAULT.
Well, I’ve got some rather harsh news for you. Because you ARE in control of your life. Regardless of whether you choose to take the wheel or not, you’re in the driver’s seat.
Let me just let that really sink in, because people often fight this point. It’s a given that shit occasionally happens and we aren’t in control of everything that happens to us. But we are in control of how we respond to our circumstances, and therefore we are in control of the outcome. So we ARE in control of our experience of life. Accept it.
If we choose to believe that we are not in control, and that life happens TO us, then we are buying into a limiting belief. That limiting belief is directly preventing us from success, personal greatness, achieving our goals, getting the results we want, and generally kicking the world’s butt.
The answer to this problem is in a powerful lesson I once learned from a fabulous business coach.
It’s called ‘playing above the line’.
Above the line, in the realm of the victor, we take Ownership, Accountability, and Responsibility.
Below the line, the language of the victim is punctuated with Blame, Excuses and Denial. This concept has been well known in business and personal development circles for many years, but it is such a critical lesson that it is one worth revisiting on a regular basis.
Why Playing Above the Line is important
The reason we need to stop playing below the line is simple. If you don’t believe you are in control of your life, then you cannot change your situation, and it trying is futile. This belief is incorrect, and extremely dangerous.
The way to counter and overcome this is to play above the line.
Playing above the line means choosing to take full ownership of the decisions we make, being accountable for the actions we take, and acknowledging that we are fully responsible for the end results we achieve.
That means donning the big boy boots, and accepting our role in failure. It means throwing out the ‘Why me?’ internal dialogue, and replacing it with ‘What was my role in this situation, and what can I do to change it?’. Yes, it’s hard work and forces us outside of our comfort zones, but this is the path to becoming a VICTOR.
Being accountable and taking ownership and responsibility means that YOU are in control of your life.
When you are in control, you are free: Free to have, do, and be anything you want.
Life is full of unfortunate situations, but you know what? Sh!t happens. No-one on this earth escapes from that, so the sooner we stop whinging and get over it, the better. What separates the victors from the victims in life is the choices they make.
Do we give up and cry that it’s not fair, or do we find a resolution to problems in the face of challenge and adversity? That choice is 100% in your control.
How to Start Playing Above the Line
1. Find out if you are playing above or below the line
Ask yourself whether you have everything they want in life. Are you completely satisfied with your wealth, health, relationships and life situation? Be honest and answer whether you are absolutely 100% satisfied with those areas, or whether there is a gap between where you are and where you would like to be. If you aren’t 100% satisfied with one or more of those areas, ask yourself “WHY NOT?”
Hopefully, after reading the information above, you will be one of the one out of ten people who acknowledge that the gap exists because of the choices you have made. Then ask yourself whether you believe you can start to close this gap with your future choices and actions.
2. Eliminate victim talk and own your choices
Get rid of the ‘I should’, ‘I can’t’, ‘I have to’ statements from your vocabulary. By saying that you can’t or that you have to do a particular thing, you are claiming that you have no control of your situation. This is not true.
Consider these scenarios: “I have to go to work”. No, you choose to go to work. It’s not that enjoyable, but you’d rather be employed than living on the street begging for food. “I can’t lose weight because I have injuries”. No, you can’t do specific activities because of your injuries perhaps, but there are so many other activities and strategies that you could do.
When you eliminate the use of victim phrases you acknowledge that everything is a choice. You take ownership of your choice and take responsibility and accountability for the outcome of your choice.
3. Get solution-focused
Once you accept that a problem is a product of your choices, it opens up the opportunity to realise that the solution can also be a product of your choices.
The questions you can ask yourself are:
‘What am I doing that feeds into this problem?’, and therefore, ‘what can I do now to overcome this problem?’
Write a list of your options. Remember that despite any challenge, setback, or misfortune, you always have the ability to:
“Do what you can, with what you have, from where you are” – Theodore Roosevelt
It’s true that the number one thing that holds people back is themselves. It’s time to start taking life by the reigns and steer it where you want to go. I’m not going to guarantee that there won’t be bumps in the road, but I can assure you that the only way you’ll make progress toward your desires is by putting yourself firmly in the driver’s seat.
So get in there, put your Captain’s hat on, and enjoy the ride.