I Believe…..

02.05.13 | Posted in UnCommon Leadership

If you’re old enough to know that’s the title and key line from a song written in 1953, then you’re reaching an advanced chronological age number. How’s that for not calling you old?!  This song has been a classic and it’s been recorded by everyone from Elvis, to Lee Ann Rimes, Frank Sinatra, Donny Osmond, Barbara Streisand, just to name a few. Why is that the lead in for this blog?

Because what you believe about anything can determine what you do, what you accomplish, your satisfaction in your life and ultimately what you’re willing to risk to experience growth. It is the “secret sauce” to your success.

If you read the Weekly Intention on the mental dimension then you have a foundation for understanding why this blog is a natural continuation of the subject. I made a brief reference to this when I discussed the “brain – mind” connection. I also referenced Bruce Lipton’s book The Biology of Belief and suggested a more in-depth study of this topic is in order. Today’s writing serves to further inspire you to investigate “the biology of YOUR beliefs!”

Here’s a story from my competitive cycling days. For the record, I was never a pro cycler. A Category 4 rider…..when there were only 4 categories! Nevertheless, we all envisioned ourselves the next Greg Lemond as he was our American cycling hero at that time. My previous best time for a 100 mile bike race had been 4:38 minutes or a 23.5 mph average speed. Not bad, but still room for improvement. My training was all geared toward attempting to keep that average speed as my target and improve. But, I have to admit that I had a “belief” that was my top average speed unless I could find time to train more. There you go. A belief that I knew (or thought I knew) was true. And, it guided my thinking, my focus and my willingness and ability to push myself. You see, it was a “fact” for me. It was true and I was willing to argue with you about it too!

Then one day I had the chance to compete in a race where another of my cycling hero’s Michael Secrest was going to be the featured racer. Michael had competed and won the grueling event RAAM; Race Across America! As I moved up to the front of the pack to talk to Michael right before the start, my cyclometer started malfunctioning and I couldn’t get it to work. Why is this important? My cyclometer was my “feedback mechanism.” It was what I used to train with and to stay in the safe zone of training. If I started training or racing too much faster than what I believed my capabilities, I would pull back.  My belief about my abilities was controlled by a little computer on the handlebars of my bike!

The race started and since I had no feedback of the actual pace, my new goal was to stay next to Michael for as long as I could, as I knew he would be in the lead pack for the entire race.  My new goal was to stay with the lead pace for all 100 kilometers if possible, but truthfully, no belief that I could make it to the end. But, I just put my head down, road my rear end off with my cycling hero never out of sight! There were many times I felt like I couldn’t keep up the pace, but somehow pushed through the pain and kept going. You see, I had no feedback telling me my speeds were too fast! And then, a 90 degree turn by the lead pack, (which I was still in!) the hammer gets dropped (cycling term for the sprinters now ruling the race!) and I looked up and saw the finish line a mere half mile away. I was dropped by the lead cyclists like a lead balloon, but in Tour de France calculations I would have the same time as all of the rest of the guys in the peloton.

Then it hit me as we were crossing the finish line. Time? 2:22. I was stunned. I knew that was fast, but I had to find another lead cyclist whose computer was working and he told me the average speed for us was 27.5 mph. To say I was speechless would be an understatement.

Let’s put this in pure math terms by asking a question. If you wanted to achieve a 17% improvement in your performance in any area of your life, would you want to know how? Of course you would. That is exactly what happened for me by doing two things: changing my focus and dropping the belief that was holding me back. I did nothing else. No increased training. No more hours on the bike. Just my “mind’s eye” focused on the goal of staying with the lead pack.

What limiting beliefs do you have? They are everywhere for most of us if we get honest. And, they are just that; beliefs. And, most are rooted not in reality, but in the virtual reality we allow ourselves to live so we stay in our comfort zones! Your brain doesn’t know fact from fiction. It only knows what you tell it to believe. How about telling your brain nothing is impossible? Try that one for a year and get back to me!

Onward & Upward!

Ed Chaffin

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