A couple of weeks ago, in a post called Improve Your Attitude, I noted that several people I work with, or had recently met, were achieving very different results and that their attitudes seemed to be reflected in their results.
Fast-forward to this week and there’s a great book that describes exactly why this happens. Once you get over the rather strange name – it’s called The New Psycho-Cybernetics – you realise that it’s written by a successful plastic surgeon called Maxwell Maltz, who died some time ago. However, it’s been edited and brought bang up to date by Dan Kennedy, probably the biggest name in training for direct marketing for small businesses and somebody who Chris Cardell brought to the UK for his London seminar a couple of years ago.
What distinguishes this from so many “self help” books is that it’s based on his observations of people before and after plastic surgery.
Maltz noticed that when talking to his clients before and after their operations, there was often a transformation in self-confidence, self-esteem and their whole approach to life. Many became more successful after getting rid of ugly scars from accidents and similar physical issues with their appearance.
But sometimes after surgery had transformed them from ugly duckling to beautiful swan, his patient would still complain about being ugly, despite the evidence to the contrary.
It was from watching and documenting similar cases that led Maltz to the conclusion that what really controls us is our self image, which is imagined in our heads, rather than the real world. This is best summed up by a quote from the book,
Human beings always act and feel and perform in accordance with what they imagine to be true about themselves and their environment.
Did you notice that the always and imagine are underlined in that sentence, because we do not act completely out of character – we always act consistent with the way we think we are.
So the person who has a self-image of being reserved will be shy at parties, until the alcohol kicks in and lets the hidden extrovert see the light of day. The person who was told they’re a slow reader as a child will read slowly as an adult, even though they’ve got the same reading apparatus as the rest of us. The person who thinks advertising never works won’t spend the time to understand the art of sales copywriting, because it goes against what they believe, and so on.
The truth is that all of us have some beliefs that limit our potential in one way or another. Many people feel they’re not good enough. Others feel they don’t deserve success. Another may think that earning more money would be immoral. All these things are just concepts inside our heads. If you believe, then in your world, it’s true.
A few years ago I ran a 2 day workshop to help therapists make more money. It was called The Profitable Therapist and the single biggest thing it exposed was the reason that most of the people didn’t make more money was simply what they believed about themselves, their services or money.
One therapist in particular I remember clearly saying that it would be immoral to charge more for what he does. Others felt it was key that they should always have time to give to the needy. When asked “how much time do you want to devote to the needy?”, he replied, “as much as it takes”.
That’s not a business, that’s a charity. Yet he had paid good money to learn how to become more profitable. Despite this, his beliefs about money meant that he spent the whole event doing one of two things – (1) defending his right to treat poor people for free and (2) justifying why it was immoral to charge more than £40 for a session. This was despite his desire to double his income without increasing his hours.
He became quite angry when I pointed out the flaw in his logic, that to earn more without increasing his hours would require him to charge more. The crazy thing was that he was working flat out and most of his customers would have gladly paid an extra £5 or £10 per session. But that’s the power of a limiting belief.
This is not something that’s limited to just one or two people. Most of us have some form of limited beliefs, we just don’t know what they are.
If you think you may be holding back your business with limiting beliefs, get yourself a copy of Maxwell Maltz’s New Psycho-Cybernetics book, a snip for under £10 at Amazon.
On the other hand, if it’s time to really get things moving, why not call now for a chat about my business coaching services.