First a quote: “If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, either way, (you’ve decided) you are correct.” – Henry Ford
Have you ever said, or heard, anything that sounds something like this, “I remember faces, not names?”; or, “I can’t remember names.”? And, if you say, or have said, something similar, how do you know statements like these are true? Could those thoughts simply be false beliefs you assume to be true.
Now, a short interruption for an example of what I mean. Most of my career has been focused on helping leaders, teams, and organizations experience greater levels of success. In my work with aspiring leaders, we often explore the subject of being more effective and influential. During workshops on this topic, I am fond of saying, “While we can manage the hands, backs and behinds of the people we lead, they volunteer their heads, hearts, and spirits.” You can’t manage those things. So, the question becomes, “Are you leading in a manner that people will volunteer what can’t be managed?”
I had been sharing those thoughts with my coaching clients and workshop attendees for more than 25 years when it dawned on me that I had rarely made much of an effort to know participants by name. I said to myself what many of you are thinking at this very moment, “I sometimes remember faces, but can’t remember names.” How caring is it to not even try to remember the names of my participants? Each of those people have hopes, dreams, fears, concerns, and problems, just like the people you lead in your organization. I gave myself an easy excuse, after all, I sometimes meet as many as 200 + people a month. Certainly, people will understand I can’t possibly remember everyone’s name.
About a year ago, I set out to change what I came to realize was a false belief. After much hard work, effort, focus and practice, I can now memorize the first names of almost all individuals in a class of up to around 25 to 30 participants, often before the first coffee break.
Please know several things; 1) I am not smarter than you. (I am not the sharpest Crayon in the box.); 2) I still forget the names of important people, or at least the names of people I see regularly and shouldn’t forget; 3) It does take effort, focus, patience and continuous practice.
I also did not get one iota smarter than I have been in the past. I ran out of smart pills a long time ago. This is not about being smart enough to remember names, it is about caring enough to try. All it takes is effort, focus, practice and a modified belief, “I can be better at remembering names if I try.”
I did not suddenly get smarter in the classroom, I simply changed my beliefs about my ability to remember names. Now, with a different mindset, I’m developing the capability to remember far more names than I ever believed possible. I still need practice. However, I no longer say, “I can’t remember names.” I have replaced that thought with, “I can remember names, and I’m getting better every day.”
What false beliefs (and related self-talk) are you holding to be true in your life:
• I’ll never get the promotion I’ve always wanted.
• Success is for other more talented and smarter people.
• I’m not smart enough to finish my degree.
• I’ll never be ___________ (fill in your own word: thin, happy, loved, loving, wealthy, successful)
• I’ll never be able to launch the business I have been dreaming about.
Your self-talk matters. We all have untapped potential to explore, if we only have the courage to confront our own false beliefs.
How will you lead differently, or better, this week?
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”