How I could run and play the guitar after all – Fulfill your dreams
On this picture you see me after I had just run 10km: One happy camper!
6-7 Years ago I started running. Evi (a run coach app) coached me patiently to running 5 kms by talking patiently in my ears: “Yes, you are doing great!”. After running for 2 minutes in a row I was exhausted and was wondering how I could ever run a full 30 minutes. Slowly but surely the breaks between the running parts of my training were decreasing and I started running for longer periods. After 10 weeks or so, I could run 5 kms in a row in about 30 minutes. And now I even managed to run for 1 hour!
The picture on the right shows me practicing for my guitar lessons. This specific training was meant to teach me to move my fingers in ways that I had never done before (even although am used to playing the piano). When I turned 50, my wife gave me a guitar and I took some lessons. Wow, I didn’t realize it would be so hard to press the right string with the right finger and then change everything again into a new position. Altough my fingers were quite used to playing an instrument since I played the piano since I was 10 or so, it was very hard to make my fingers do the right thing on the guitar. Again I thought it would never be possible to play a song. Now, 1 year later, I can already play quite some chords and my fingers are actually used to these impossible positions.
Why we think that we can’t do it
These two examples show that I could do something that I first thought would be impossible. Of course it didn’t happen overnight, but it wasn’t that I practiced every day for a few hours, either. Our self image can be quite rigid and rusted. We just assume that if we can’t do it now, we never will; simply because we can’t imagine how, from the current siutation we are in.
I couldn’t imagine that I would long for a few minutes of just running instead of sprinting during my interval trainings. What a difference with my self image of 7 years ago where I tought I could never run longer than 10 minutes. The same goes for playing the guitar. I now play the D-chord without a problem, which I couldn’t have foreseen when I was wrestling with my fingers and the strings during my first lessons.
It is the same with running a business. We are often limited by the possibilities we see using our current self image and the ideas we have about the world. I see many clients of mine that can’t imagine having more customers without being exhausted because of the time and energy that it would take. Or they just can’t imagine how to double or triple their profit, because they are thinking using the context of their current hourly rate, their current market, and their current services.
Fulfill your dreams with a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset
Carol Dweck has definied the growth and fixed mindset when talking about this issue. With a fixed mindset causes you think that your capacities are fixed and can’t change. Making a mistake is a failure and you give up when something negative happens. This mindset causes you to believe that you can’t achieve something new. You will keep on doing the same thing and want to become better at that. Perfectionism lies around the corner. You blame yourself for the mistakes you make, which causes you to even become more hesitant to learn new things.
On the other hand, a growth mindset makes you belief in developing yourself and that you can learn new things. Making mistakes is a learning experience and if negative things happen you persist or find another way to deal with it. This mindset helps you to start new things and you are more open to new ways of doing things. Of course you will stumble and fall, but you will get up. By reflecting on what happened, you will learn how to do things differently in the future.
Everyone can access both mindsets, but one of the two is more present. The good thing is that you can choose which mindset you are going to use to run your business. By reflecting on your own thoughts and actions, you can see where you are blocking yourself and what is needed to act from a growth mindset. You might fall in the fixed mindset trap again, but you can choose to step out of it. If this happens too often, or if you find it too difficult to step out, it might be necessary to ask a coach to help you. There can be many deeper causes of you getting trapped in a fixed mindset.
How my first workshops became a failure
The first workshop I gave was a disaster. Still, after almost 15 years, I am a bit ashamed of it. The second workshop wasn’t a great success either and I wasn’t happy. That could have made me believe that I couldn’t give workshops and that I should only focus on coaching. I decided to continue. Something inside of me pushed me towards working with groups. Slowly I found a way of giving workshops that suited me and I found my own style. I chose work forms that were just made for me and discovered topics that suited what I believed in. Now I give many workshops to 6, 12, 25 or even 80 people; online or in-person. I feel confident enough to not fully prepare them, but to follow the flow of the group.
My international adventure
In 2016 I didn’t have a clue how to grow my business internationally. Deep inside I knew that I needed to expand my business acrosse the Dutch borders, but didn’t know how. Fortunately I knew now how to follow the process and to let go off my ideas of what it should look like or what I should do. That is why now, in just 5 years, I have created a big international network, give trainings in Paris, Bucarest, Budapest, and soon Dubai, I give online trainings with participants from India, the United States, Ukraine, Australia, and Finland among others, and am I part of several European projects to develop tools for trainers, coaches, youth workers and teachers. 5 Years ago, I wouldn’t have believed this if you had told me.
Led by a bigger flow
One important aspect that these examples have in common, is that something bigger, a mission, an inner voice, or a calling, pushed me to continue. Because, even with a growth mindset, you sometimes have to stop something, because it is not what you have to do; because it is not your path. That is why I always advise to only persist if a clear, intuitive knowing tells you that this is the way to go. I don’t believe in persisting just because you have to persist.
Hardship and resistance can also occur because it is not your path; that you are not meant to go into that direction. Even though you keep on pushing, and putting a lot of energy in it, you won’t get the results you are aiming at. You will only get exhausted (burn out) and frustrated. That’s why it is so important to be connected with that larger flow and your intution to determine if this setback means that you have to persist or that it means taking another road.
Fulfill your dreams at four levels
In my book The Effortless Entrepreneur I describe four lenses to look at succes. You can also use these lenses look at your path to sucess or to fulfill your dreams. Of course these lenses are interconnected and interwined. It helps to separate them and to explore if you are congruent on all these aspects concerning your dreams.
This is the plain, earthly aspect. In case of me wanting ot run 5 kms, it is about training my body to be able to run 30 minutes in a row. In case of playing tha guitar it is about rewiring my brains to be able to control my fingers in those weird positions. In case of the workshops it is about all the practical stuff and theoratical background of transferring knowledge and teaching skills.
Through this lense you look at your belief system. This is where the growth or fixed mindset manifest themselves. Here you can fulfill your dreams by believing that you can do it and seeing the opportunities to get there. It is also where you find yourself sabotaging yourself with negative thoughts and a negative self image.
This is where you connect with your emotions. What do you feel when you think about your dream? What do you feel when you think of a failure? Here you can also explore the roots of your emotions and find ways to let go of them. Emotions (positive and negative) trouble your intuition. That’s why I always advise to become neutral in your emotions when taking decisions.
This is about fulfillment, about being connected to a larger whole and acting from that connection. In case of my workshops and my international expansion, I could sense on a very deep layer that this was what I had to do. This is not about you wanting something, but something being wanted through you. You can ask yourself “What wants to be manafisted through me?”
Fulfill your dreams in 6 steps
Do you have a wish, a desire, or dream? Can’t you see it happening yet? Can’t you imagine what it looks like? Do you sense resistance and do you want to give up? Use the following steps to explore this dream and create space to fulfill your dreams. This way you will look at your dream through all the four lenses.
- Are you supposed to do this (spiritual)?
Connect with your inner compass, your intuition, your higer self, or what works best for you. Investigate if that what you want to do is also meant to be done by you. Does it fit you and fit your mission in life? Listen to the answers of your deepest wisdom.
Resistance and setbacks can be a sign of not going further and choosing another direction. They can also be something to overcome and require you to persist and overcome the obstacles in order to become stronger.
Only your pure intuition, your inner compass, can tell you what is the case for you and for this specific situation.
- Investige your assumptions and beliefs (mental and emotional)
Next step is to explore your beliefs and assumptions. What are you telling yourself concerning your dream. Keep a journal of all the things you think about it and about yourself. Are you thinking in possibilities and do you believe you can learn new things? Or do you believe that your capacities are fixed and that it is impossible to walk new paths? Do you have a growth or a fixed mindset if you think about this dream? What are the obstacles you see? What emotions do they trigger? What are you afraid of? Can you disconnect these emotions from your dream?
What positive emotions do you have when you think of this dream already being realised?
- Remember previous experiences of learning something new (mental)
Then look back at your life and everything you have learned and how you did that. Reconnect with the moment before you started learning these new things (like me reconnecting with the moment before I started learning playing the guitar or running 5 kms). Can you see that you are now in a similar position? This might help to tap into the self confidence to face something new, knowing that you will also be able to learn this, because you have done so before.
- Create an affirmation (mental and energetic/spiritual)
Based on your limited beliefs and your past learning experiences, create a powerful short sentence that will help you to focus on seeing possibilities. This could for example be a sentence like “I can learn something new”, “I trust the process”, “I know that I can learn”, or more specific “I know I can learn to play the guitar”. Make the sentence positive, in the present tense, and starting with I.
- Create a playground (physical and mental)
If you have a place to try out, slip, and get up, it will help you to develop yourself and learn. I didn’t get paid for the first international workshop I gave. This created a playground in which I could make mistakes and I didn’t have to focus on creating results. Strangely, this caused the workshop to be a great success. You can also create a playground by calling it an experiment, a pilot (that’s what I should have done with my first workshop) and adjusting the price accordingly. You can also make a deal with your inner critic (we all have him/her) and say that you will do an evaluation in one month, or that you are going to use this new approach twice. This way your inner critic will back up a little and become less dominant, making it easier to try out new things freely.
- Take baby steps towards your dream (physcial)
In the end you also have to do something. Babystep by babystep. You don’t have to have a five year plan. It is all about what you do now to take one (baby) step towards your dream. This is also where your pure intuition can help. Ask her/him what the first next step is and be curious for the answer.
Will my international community become reality?
I have a dream to create an international community of people that want to work with intuition and constellations and that want to work on different layers when doing business, leading others, or teaching and coaching others. Again, I don’t know how I am going to fulfill this dream and what the steps are that I need to take, or how it will be manifested. Fortunately I have become wiser and more experienced in letting go and going with the flow. I let go of my beliefs about myself and the world, I leave my limiting thoughts beside. With an open mind I reach out to the world, curious how my dream will become reality. To be continued …