Inspiring stories, especially the ones that make me feel good instantly, teach me something or motivate me to take action are always welcome. Once in a while, it is nice to be nudged with self improvement exercises, right? Especially if it is about overcoming limiting beliefs.
If there is one thing most of us struggle with, it is this: asking. We have this inherent habit of assuming the consequences of any situation we are about to tackle. Then we hold ourselves back. We do not realize the power of simply asking.
Here’s the thing when you assume, as I learned long ago in my sales career, from one of my bosses.
Assume is = ass | u | me
We hesitate to ask for something because we think we will meet up with refusal. How sad. We should follow the example of children (the best salesmen, incidentally) in being persistent about getting what we want. Unfortunately, as we grow up, we develop limiting beliefs that prevent us from reaching our full potential.
I suffer from limiting beliefs, too
Some years ago, I was out shopping for groceries. The store was slightly far from where we lived and had some great deals going. This was great news. Tight budget, you see.
When I returned home, I realized that the guys had not included the free gifts that were supposed to come with some of the products. Now – I am not a fan of free add-on stuff. But I had a 5-year-old at home eagerly waiting for the freebie after being bombarded with advertisements on TV. I certainly didn’t want to disappoint him. Yet, I hesitated to take action over the missing freebies.
Sure, I felt bad. I was angry and complained to my Mom. She immediately urged me to find the bill and call the store. Now, this store is one of those super busy ones that drive you nuts on the phone making you repeat your problem to five different people times five. I grumbled, saying that those guys wouldn’t do anything about it and it wasn’t worth going all the way there to pick up the stuff, assuming, that is, they even believed me.
Giving the benefit of the doubt
If you knew my Mom, you wouldn’t argue with her. She convinced me to call them. After all, what was there to lose? If they did respond, there was everything to gain.
Reluctantly, I called them. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a courteous voice at the other end and an ear that listened to what I had to say. The voice apologized, asked for my bill number, took my address and told me someone would come by to my house in a couple of hours.
Well, after the call, I smirked, and asked Mom if she would make a bet with me about this. She readily obliged (quite a sweetie, you know) and we made a hilarious one about going for a walk every day. Very clever.
Okay – so a couple of hours later, the doorbell rang, and there was this rather nice looking guy (yes, I always notice!) holding a carry bag from the store. He gave it to me. I looked inside and guess what I found? Not just the freebie toys, but a couple of extras too. I pointed out that we were entitled only to some of the toys and not the extra stuff. To which he pleasantly smiled and said – compliments of the store. He invited me to visit the store again and left.
Oh well, we went on that walk every day. And I continued to do it well past the week. Win-win-ish.
Point is ..
If we don’t ask, we’ll never know what we can get. Limiting beliefs are like that!
I agree there are situations when things don’t go well – and life is often less than ideal…but these situations could probably be fewer and far between if we stopped second-guessing fate and taking the easy way out via negative thought. Assuming that something won’t happen is unfair. It is like saying you hate something without knowing what it is or trying it even once.
Now, I think assumptions tie in closely with limiting beliefs.
When you assume, you think you can’t. That’s a limiting belief, right?
So is it not time to throw your limiting beliefs out of the window?
You know, a couple of decades ago (yeah, I AM a fossil), at the time I worked with a top brand in office automation, I had the pleasure of attending several training sessions – delivered by excellent trainers. The venue for our annual sales training programs was usually a cool resort where there were zero interruptions. The idea was to have the team in a happy frame of mind to “receive” learning points. Some of us made very good use of it, while others – well, they just had fun and experienced extra hangovers from the previous evening’s revelry.
I used to be teased quite a lot (being the only woman on the sales team) for taking the training very seriously. We had several customer-salesman role plays that I diligently worked on. I would answer the questionnaires and make notes to put into action on the field once we were back on the job.
Some of my colleagues found it amusing that I actually followed the blueprint with some customers. They would be sarcastic, cynical – telling me those things were good for theory but would never work in practice.
That was unfair, because the training team was reputed to be one of the best and the trainers put together the material based on solid research of customer behavior. Point is, it is very hard to make believers of some people because they just don’t want to believe. (Horse – water – drink – ring a bell?) Hmm.
The men who knew too much
So every morning, they never tired of telling me I would never make a sale if I practiced what I learned at the training programs. My angle – no harm in trying, was there?
Like my Mom said, nothing to lose, and everything to gain. I did use the blueprint and cutting my autobiography short – let me just wind up this episode by saying I got the maximum sales in the succeeding months. I was also very surprised to learn that some of the best salesmen do. not. ask. for. the. order. Fear of hearing “no”.
Did I learn any lessons along the way? Yes.
- Just because someone tells you something won’t work, that does not mean it wont. Go for it anyway.
- Trust your gut
- Do not allow limiting beliefs to hold you back
- Every one is human. Well, almost
- Everyone has feelings
- Don’t assume someone is unapproachable
- Do not hesitate to ask for what you want. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to get it
- Don’t be afraid of not being taken seriously. If you don’t tell, they’ll never know
- You can be happy in life. You deserve to be!
- Reach for the top. It is accessible, most of the time. The air is fresher there.
- Know when to quit
- Kind actions speak more than words
- A good deed never goes waste
- Don’t think on someone else’s behalf. Let them enjoy the pleasure
- Don’t think small, don’t be mean. What can you get out of that, anyway, except a momentary cheap thrill?
- It is okay to follow the rules sometimes
- Be generous about giving without expecting something back
- We have one life to live (unless you believe in the meow myth about nine lives)
And here’s one for the road (yes, I have the haiku bug!)
Unshackle your fears
Let go of what holds you back
You are good enough
What do you think? Have you allowed an assumption to develop into a limiting belief?
Featured image from Linkedin.com
I published a version of this post here.