One day when our family was headed on a road trip, the kids requested a movie
So I pushed the play button on the car’s DVD, just to see what would come up. The movie that had been loaded since the last time we drove a long distance a few years ago was a Disney cartoon.
“Eewww. This is for little kids!” I heard from the back seat. “We want to watch a REAL movie, Mom!”
As soon as I got over my shock that my kids no longer enjoyed Disney cartoons, it hit me that we all have a tendency to have old movies playing in one way or another.
The movies we play over and over are not in our cars, but in our minds
These movies are beliefs and assumptions about ourselves, others, and life in general. And they influence not only what we see, but how we act, what we believe is possible, the results we get (or lack thereof), and the level of satisfaction we have in our careers and in our lives altogether.
Often, we recognize we don’t like the movie without realizing where it is coming from
You might be living in a movie that has you hitting walls repeatedly or experiencing short lived success (or no success for that matter). Perhaps your relationships are strained. Or maybe you are feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, resentful or burned out. Maybe there is something you are yearning to do but every time you start, things just fall apart. Or you can’t even get yourself to take that first step.
The movie that you are living is a product of the mind that is projecting it. And you can’t experience a different movie until you change out the old one.
Some of the movies playing in our minds are movies that served us well in the past
When you were an individual contributor, the movie that had you acting operationally was fitting. But when you became a leader (or a leader of leaders), that movie no longer served you. In fact, it would keep you from seeing the big picture, delegating tasks that would be better done by others, and strategically blazing new trails.
You can go to all the classes you want on delegation and strategic thinking, but if that old movie is playing you’ll have a really hard time implementing what you learned. Because your old thoughts and assumptions will keep you locked into old habits and patterns of behavior.
Some of the movies playing in our minds are other people’s movies
Movies that we don’t really enjoy all that much. Expectations of who we should be or how we should act that are incongruent with our passions, interests, strengths and energy. And yet, when those old DVDs are running, we strive to live up to them even when they make us miserable. And when we try to make changes that are more aligned with what we really want, we find there is something stopping us.
We find other movies we didn’t even realize were playing at all
Knee jerk reactions are the product of movies that are operating at a subconscious level. When tension runs high, they have us springing into action before we have really thought about what kind of action is required. And they often have us saying or doing things we’ll later regret. In some cases they keep us from saying or doing things that are important.
When you can’t get yourself to do something, stick to an improvement plan, go out of your comfort zone, or take necessary action, chances are there is an old limiting belief on the DVD in your mind that is keeping you from tapping and unleashing your true potential. And when you are having trouble inspiring and motivating others to achieve their potential, you may have limiting beliefs about them as well.
Limiting beliefs and assumptions have organizational implications as well as personal ones
Leaders set the tone for their followers. When leaders are playing old DVDs in their minds that keep them tethered to the status quo, underestimating what is possible, and second guessing themselves and/or others, performance will be stunted. And so will profitability, customer satisfaction, growth, and the ability to attract and engage high performers that may have the ability to turn it all around.
So how do you change your movie?
It takes self awareness, willingness and discipline. Once you recognize the movie playing in your mind isn’t serving you, you can not only change it out, but completely rewrite it. Though it isn’t as simple as pressing the eject button, numerous studies have shown that the neuroplasticity of the brain allows each of us to consciously rewire the neural networks that determine our behavior and thought patterns in ways that are aligned with our desired results.
Below are some steps you can take and resources you can utilize to begin aligning your internal movies with the personal and professional experiences you want to have in your life and your organization.
Check out these articles
- How to Uplevel Your Game By Upgrading Your Internal Programming
- How You Can Use Frustration to Improve Your Effectiveness
- How Your Mindset Can Keep You From Recovering from a Setback
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