Motivational lessons from elephants - what holds you back?

What holds you back? Lessons from Elephants – Podcast 011

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What holds you back? Lessons from Elephants – Podcast 011


Once upon a time, when a big granddaddy elephant named Zuberi – which means strong – was just a baby elephant, he was captured from the wild, taken from his family and put into an elephant camp.

Motivational lessons from elephants - what holds you back?

As soon as he arrived into the camp – thrown amid elephants and other strange creatures he didn’t know and had never seen before – a rope was tied around his ankle and secured to a stake.

Zuberi pulled with all his baby elephant strength to free himself from the stake but it was impossible. Both the rope and the stake were too much for him.

It didn’t take long for Zuberi to realise fighting the rope was futile. So one day he stopped pulling. He accepted the rope around his ankle was just the way life would continue to be.

Motivational lessons from elephants - what holds you back?

One day a man was walking through the camp and noticed Zuberi walking with a piece of rope tied around his ankle. The visitor looked further and noticed none of the elephants were kept in cages or held in chains to stop them from escaping.

All that kept the great, mighty and powerful elephants like Zuberi from escaping the confines of the camp, were small pieces of rope around their ankles.

Why was this?

The man asked one of the trainers why the elephants didn’t use their power to break free of the camp. Why did they just stand there and never try to escape?

The trainer replied that when the elephants are young and much smaller they’re tied to a stake with a piece of rope the same size as Zuberi was wearing.

When they’re young, that size of rope is enough to hold them. But as they grow up they’re conditioned to believe the rope can continue to hold them and so they never try to break free.

Thus, Zuberi and elephants like him, didn’t even attempt to break free because they’d started to believe that it just wasn’t possible.

Are there parts of your life that hold you back?

Do you have a metaphorical rope around your ankle you’ve been carrying around, holding you back?

What beliefs or lies do you still believe that stop you from breaking free of old limitations so you can be the person you want to be? To have the business you want to have?

Before you can become successful you first need to believe it’s possible

Do you continue to believe some of the lies and limiting beliefs other people imposed on you … told you about yourself…?

Just because someone else believes something of you, doesn’t mean to say you have to buy into their belief system as well.

What are your lies?

Here are some lies you may have grown up thinking about yourself – which aren’t true.

 Motivational lessons from elephants - what holds you back?

You tell yourself you have no discipline

Really? Where did you first “learn” that was true? You have discipline to get out of bed each morning. Of course you have discipline! Believing otherwise is just a lie!

You tell yourself you’re a procrastinator

How about you make that true for yesterday? That today you’re going to be someone you’re proud of. Starting right now!

You tell yourself you’re easily distracted

Really? Again – make that true for yesterday!

You tell yourself you’re hopeless, fat, lazy, a failure, that life is hard, you’re not deserving, that “people like you don’t deserve”, you’re a dreamer, someone who’ll never amount to much of anything, you’re a coward, not good enough, not an early bird, blah, blah, blah.

None of those need to be true if you don’t want them to be!

By making them true you’re accepting the rope someone else tied around your ankle.

You’ve become comfortable with what was once uncomfortable

You no longer push yourself. You accept mediocrity as part of your behaviour. Mediocrity has become your life (fitness, health, environment, performance).

You fear change

Change is the only constant in life. IF you don’t change you’ll get left behind. The internet and digital marketing is here to stay. Get used to it. The market is constantly changing. Adapt.

Burying your head in the sand won’t stop change.

Whatever you resist will always persist. Learn to go with the flow.

Some of the excuses you might make

You don’t have time

Everyone has the same 86,400 seconds in their time account every day. The only thing that’s different is how each person spends their time. If you squander your time playing Candy Crush or going down Facebook rabbit holes, that’s your choice. But it’s not because you don’t have time – it’s just because you don’t prioritise the time you do have and do what’s important to you.

You’re scared of failing

Nah! Sorry! I don’t buy that! I believe, instead, you’re scared of success. Because being successful means you’ll be different to most other people in the world: those people who accept mediocrity and other shortcomings as “okay”.

Being a success means you’ll stand out. Be different. You’ll become the purple cow in the field of black and white cows. You’ll be noticed.

Most people are comfortable with being bland and the same as everyone else. Sheep!

It’s time to brave up to being scared of success. Once you’ve fronted up to this fear it makes it more manageable to handle.

Action Plan

Start writing!

Either on a blank sheet of paper or an empty Word document head it up “My Beliefs”. Write down everything you’ve ever heard anyone say about you (positive and critical).

For example, I’m originally from the East End of London which was a pretty undesirable place to live until it was gentrified because someone realised it was super-close to the City of London and was on the banks of the beautiful River Thames.

The English class system is pretty ingrained in most Brits: Royalty, Upper Class, Middle Class, Working Class and never the twain shall meet or cross. I was born Working Class. I can remember my dad saying “Working Class people don’t________” [lots of things: don’t think like that… don’t dream like that… can’t do things like that… will never have ….]

These were lies I grew up believing. But they’re no more the truth than Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy are!

Lessons from Elephants

So. You’ve got a list of things it’s possible you may believe about yourself.

Beside each limiting or negative belief write down who that belief belongs to. The person who told you that about yourself. One belief may belong to many people – that’s okay – write all the names beside each belief.

By the way – beliefs can be situational. For example, “it’s a tough market out there”, “telemarketing doesn’t work”.

Write down every negative, destructive and unhelpful belief statement that comes into your head and where you first heard it.

Next – get a fresh piece of paper (a fresh page in your Word document) and write the first lie (belief) down as a heading.

Underneath each lie, write down all the reasons why that lie might not be true for you. I’m not asking you to disbelieve it (it’s ingrained in your subconscious, just like the piece of rope holding the elephant in captivity) – I’m just asking you to think about possibilities as to why – for you – that belief might be a lie.

After you’ve exhausted your list of possible lies; when you’ve got no more lies in you I want you to look over the list again and see it with different eyes.

Truly see that the lies you’ve been believing aren’t your lies – they’re other peoples’ that you’ve taken on as your own!

This process can be as easy or as difficult as you want to make it.

Lessons from Elephants

Remember when you first discovered Father Christmas wasn’t true? Or the Tooth Fairy? Or the Easter Bunny? You may have felt a sense of betrayal (I know I sure did!). You may experience a bit of that when you realise that you’ve been believing a lie all your life when you didn’t need to!

Now that you know, you no longer need to continue believing everyone else’s lies about you.

It’s time to go out there and be your most awesome, magnificent best version of yourself you can be.

You can be the #1 Salesperson in your office (if you want to).

You can be the Top Lister in your office (if you want to).

All you have to do is do the activity and adopt the mindset of the person you want to be like.

Which is probably not wishing life were different while continuing to squander time playing Candy Crush or going down another rabbit hole on Facebook.

You have the power to change. You – and no one else – is in control of the thoughts inside your head. If you believe that someone else “makes” you think or feel a certain way, that’s another lie! Because no one can get inside your head unless you let them!

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