The “I Am” Line

There’s an old success killer called “self-limiting beliefs” where our own fears or insecurities or sincere beliefs in our limitations alter our actions and become projected outwardly. This prevents us from taking stands or actions because we anticipate, and thus actualize, the outcome. We may “hope for the best” but belief isn’t easily masked and not just in how a prospect or colleague or family member for that matter, may read our vibe but, more importantly, in what our beliefs may prevent us from doing or saying. Of course we need those self limitations in our “I am…” to keep us from doing truly stupid things that are beyond finite boundaries but we also know that personal performance means those boundaries can be quite flexible.

This is a critical mindset in closing deals, tackling major projects, pursuing ambitions and capturing imaginations but it also can put us squarely up against the arrogance line. Crossing it might be just as destructive as not approaching it. I’d suggest two factors to consider in keeping on the productive side of the “I am” line and making your belief your reality.

First is experience. We know there is no substitute for it and having done something obviously increases our belief we can do it again. Experience is usually incremental and creates a natural depletion of self-limitations. Lacking physical experience one might try Virtual Experience. This can be achieved by methodically thinking and visualizing through events to their success conclusion. Along the way you can interject obstacles and see yourself handling them, calmly anticipating bumps and overcoming. Regardless the temporary sways, seeing yourself right the ship, a Captain atop the bridge boldly going where you may not have gone before. Once seen in the mind it can be a fair substitute for experience in allowing the belief that you can. That defines your “I am” but should also keep your humility meter from going off the arrogance end. Recognizing there is a difference between believing and eventually to be doneĀ  however intertwined belief and action may be will keep it real even when imagined.

The second is the Charisma Factor. Few among us are born so naturally charismatic that we are never restrained by self-limitations but that doesn’t mean charisma can’t be learned or that they are mutually exclusive. One way to look at charisma is not as a projected self trait but rather what belief does your manner, attitude and actions create in others. Getting a positive benefit of the doubt on the unknown is often the mark of charisma. Charismatic people have an “I am” that reads as successful, confident, open, decisive but not easily combative, and just humble enough to keep from tipping toward arrogance. (“Cocky” is when your smile suggests you know it too.) Charisma shows in physical posture, dress, tone, and lacking a need to always be heard, or liked, or right and without burden of constant judgment.

Every experience we have in life and business should help us thwart self-limiting beliefs. Sometimes our missteps do the opposite but as we develop our charismatic traits in combination with experience we can use our mind to create visions of success to instill belief and then more easily project a success presence that will attract opportunities and an upward arc of achievement. Leap with bravery having seen yourself land, if you fall rise with grace and let your belief be not that you couldn’t do it but that you now have experience to learn how to get there however twisting the path. Let your “I am” be “successful” however you choose to define that.

Tom Fox