We all have them. Most people don’t even know they exist, but one thing is certain about Renegades and the community that we surround ourselves with, is that we will open paths and doors that you haven’t walked down before.

Part of the process is self-awareness.

It’s not necessarily something that we set out to teach, and we don’t run courses on it.

What happens is that this journey that we embark on, forces you to look inwards and see the kind of person you are and what, potentially, is holding you back.

In my case, it was quite an awakening.

The ingrained beliefs that we hold in our sub conscious mind that just surface without any prompting when we don’t even realise, they are there.

I think of it like the little voice that sits in your head and tells you things. . . Most of them negative.

Let’s be fair, when was the last time that little voice said something like. . . .“You look great in that”, “Of course, that’s a great idea”, “No, it won’t be difficult” or “You can do that easily”? The little voice is a pain in the ass. But it’s always there, in the background.

Someone told me once (Dave Dean!), that the more you listen to it, the louder it gets. It’s like a volume switch on a radio. Every time you give it air time, that little voice, it turns one notch on the volume control. Eventually it drowns out the other voice altogether. The voice of positivity. The one that urges you to make that speech, do that thing, wear that tie or run that run.

The fact is, if you keep ignoring someone or something, pretty soon they won’t come back or will just ignore you.

Our self-limiting beliefs are ingrained in us, and the more reading and understanding I have of this part of the brain, I realise that its designed to keep us safe and alive. These are all great things to be, alive and safe, but it stems from our fight or flight instincts when we were chasing sabre tooth tigers for food a few years ago. We don’t get many of those in Wales anymore!!

I set myself a challenge this year of running the Cardiff Half Marathon, and not only did my wife think I was mad, the little voice of negativity started chirping up as well. . . “Come on now Steve, those days are past for you my fat friend”, “Think of your knees”, “You are too old”.  And repeat, and repeat and repeat, over and over again.

Self-limiting beliefs!

It’s funny, I don’t sit here writing from a position of never-ending wisdom. I, like most, succumb to the voice, and for months I put off the training and gave lame excuses that were readily provided by my inner voice of negativity.

What my coach and my Mastermind Group do for me is to get me to challenge those beliefs. They constantly challenge my thought process, and in turn I have to look at any situation in more depth and clarity.

We had a great session where they challenged my thinking.

“Was I really too old?”

“What made me think I was?”

“How would I feel if I was to do it?”

“If I wasn’t too old what training would I do?”

“Could I do some of that now?”

“Help me understand why you think you couldn’t achieve this goal.”

And so it went on…

Pretty soon that voice of negativity was starting to get quieter, I and my group were turning down this volume button.

In fairness to the voice, John Maxwell told me once, nothing worthwhile is ever easy. He also said that nothing worth doing was ever downhill.

Were there days when the old voice raised his head? Those days when it was raining, or your muscles were sore. Yes, but the other voice had its revenge and shut it up pretty quick with a good dressing down!

What voice are you listening to today?

It was June, the race was four months away and I hadn’t done a thing.
It started by printing out a simple little plan called “Couch to 5K in 6 weeks.”

A start I thought, Mr Negative said I was stupid, Mr Positive said shut up, but under his breath.

That first week, I couldn’t run for 2 minutes (the plan said run for 2 mins and walk for 1 min, first two weeks, that sounded easy!) by 1 minute 20 seconds, I was gasping. Mr Negative said, “I told you so”, Mr Positive was too tired to speak!

I had another 9 intervals to do!!! . . . I persevered.

Week 3, I was running for three minutes and walking for one.

Week 4, run for 5 minutes, walk for two, and so it went on.

By week 5, every time it got hard, Mr Negative would pipe up, “I told you, you are too old, what are you doing?” Mr Positive just said, “Why don’t you shut up and f**k off!!”

Thankfully, Mr Negative, pouted and sulked in a corner of my brain somewhere waiting for a new opportunity or a new challenge to re-invigorate himself with.

You see, this is the battle that rages every day, every hour and every minute in our heads.

It may not be about training for a marathon. It may be about making that best man speech, that presentation to a customer, the bank overdraft meeting, the investor pitch, writing the book you have within you, visiting that place, sitting on that beach, climbing that mountain, achieving that goal or realising that dream.

Dependant on how well you know yourself, and who you surround yourself with, will have a huge bearing on what you achieve in your life.

So, my question to you is, what voice are you listening to today?

Are you turning the volume up on your self-limiting beliefs or pressing the mute button on Mr Negative?

Be honest with yourself, which voice is turned up the loudest in your head?

For me, and for anyone interested, the half marathon was completed in 2 hours and 55 minutes. Mr Negative showed his face around mile 8 when my left knee blew, he saw it as an opportunity to think his opinion would mean something, “You should stop fatty”, were his first words.

Not sure who shouted first or loudest, whether it was me or Mr Positive but either way, he knew that it wasn’t a good time for him to be around. He took his boring, painful, miserable self, back to the dark places and thankfully wasn’t around to share the positive glow of achievement when I crossed the finish line.

Turn the volume up on Mr Positive guys.

Banish those self-limiting beliefs for good.