Have You Checked Inside the Cup?

by Rob Clark

For me, the golf course is a place where limiting beliefs blossom.  So as I prepared for my uphill, blind shot to the hole, a thousand negative thoughts swirled through my head.  But on the follow through, I made smooth contact with the ball and stroked a feathery shot that floated up toward the green and out of sight.  Where did that come from?  I hustled toward the green eager to see how close I was to the pin.  But as I approached the crest of the hill, my ball was nowhere in sight.  I immediately checked the back side of the green. There was a winding creek that snuck up just on the down slope.  Surely my ball rested in a watery grave.  Sulking and frustrated, I trudged back toward the green. Typical.

My buddy was standing there with his hands in the air.

“I thought you hit a great shot”, he shouted with enthusiasm.  “Have you checked inside the cup?”

Child, please! I was the hard luck golfer.  I wasn’t capable of draining a 90-foot chip.  My ball couldn’t possibly be in the cup.  But just to humor him, I peeked into the abyss.  Do you believe in miracles?  Nestled deep in the bottom hole was my scuffed up Srixon!

Of course it was possible for me to hit that kind of shot.  I had been practicing hard.  I deserved a little luck.  Why not?  But my lack of confidence in my own ability was holding me back.  And how many us let those limiting beliefs hold us back in our work and personal lives?

In our work lives, we face all types of challenges.  But we can’t let our limiting beliefs keep us from reaching our potential:

  • “I’m too old to start a new career”.
  • “I’m too young to lead this team.”
  • “I’m not smart enough learn this new technology”.
  • “I’ll never make enough money to be comfortable”.

Those statements have absolutely no basis in fact.  They are merely negative thoughts inside our own head.  Unless, of course, they dictate our actions.  We won’t try for that job because they will likely give it to someone younger.  We won’t gun for the promotion because we sense they will give it to someone with more experience.  We’ll stick with selling the old technology because that “new” stuff is just too complicated.  We’ll settle for a sub-par performance at work because we’re underpaid anyway.  Now our beliefs have become a self-fulfilling prophesy!  Stop the madness!   We work too hard and face too many other real challenges in our life.  We can’t let these baseless thoughts dictate our actions and impact our careers.

But unfortunately those limiting beliefs can creep into our personal life as well.

  • “I’m too sensitive so I can’t discipline the children.”
  • “I’m not handy so I can’t fix the doorknob.”
  • “She/he would never go out with me so I won’t ask her/him out.”
  • “I’m not great at math so I can’t balance the checkbook.”

Where do these thoughts come from?  More importantly, why do we give them any credence?  We need to discipline our children regardless of our personal constitution.  We can’t hire a handyman for every minor project.  We will never know if someone will go out with us unless we ask.  We can all add and subtract.  There is no magic in paying the bills.  Our limiting beliefs hold us back only when we allow them.  We can’t allow ourselves to get stuck.  Action is the only answer!

Many people are passionate, but because of their limiting beliefs, they never take actions that could make their dream a reality.

–Tony Robbins

But what if we take action on our limiting beliefs and still fail?  We get rejected.  We demonstrate poor leadership.  We lose our job.  The money dries up.  We botch a repair job.  Do we give up and wish we had never tried?  Of course not!  The key to resilience is the unconditional rejection of those limiting beliefs.  Even in the face of a setback or defeat, we must view this as temporary and not typical.  No one “deserves” failure.  No one is “born” to lose.  We all have greatness inside of us.  In difficult moments, it is time to move on to the next challenge.  It is time to dig deep in order to reach our true potential.

We can never entertain those negative thoughts inside our head.  Our limiting beliefs are not grounded in reality.  And even if we have failed in the past, it does not mean we will do so in the future.  We can come back stronger than ever.  We need to keep moving forward!  We need to keep stretching our limits!  We need to keep checking the bottom of the cup!  There is nothing holding us back.  Who deserves success more than us?


October 24, 2016.  Courtsey of Rob Clark.  http://www.resilientworker.net  

Career Transition