If I had a pound for every time someone said to me, “that’s the way I am”, I’d be very rich indeed. My answer is always, no, that’s the way you think you are, and there’s an ocean of difference between the two statements. In fact, when working with clients, I often pick them up on their language, both written and verbal, not to be pedantic but to be helpful, since it’s often quite inaccurate and causes the client grief, which then impacts on their actions.
I’ve had a difficult week
For example, one client wrote on his client focus form, “A difficult week.” I challenged him on this by saying that the week was not difficult, because the week is neutral; it’s just the space in which events happen.
So then of course he said that events were difficult. However, when we explored this further, the reality of the statement was, in fact, that his perception of the events was negative and he labelled them as “difficult”.
By analysing this statement, it’s easier to see that the labelling is done by the mind, which is based on the person’s beliefs which are often ingrained, subconscious and not necessarily true. Your thoughts, both spoken and written, come from your beliefs and then determine your feelings, your actions and your results.
By understanding this, it’s plain to see that if your thoughts are determined by beliefs which aren’t actually true, then the conclusions you come to and the actions you take will not be beneficial.
Our Memories are Merely Interpretations
One of my clients recently told me that she was not sure that her memories could be trusted and as her memories were the only truth she had, she couldn’t get her head around this. So I explained that memories are not actually the truth but merely an interpretation of events. Therefore, if an event is perceived as positive, that is wonderful, because then the memories are positive which feels good.
On the other hand, if the event is seen as negative, then the memories may be harmful and therefore have an adverse impact on the person remembering. This is far-reaching as our memories are stored in the unconscious mind and then used as a reference point when future events occur. I will explain more about this in the next article.
In reality, the event itself has no meaning; its meaning is determined solely by the person or people experiencing it. To summarise this, we can use the following equation:
E + R = O
Which means event + response/reaction = outcome
A Couple of Examples
Here’s a commonplace occurrence which you will no doubt be able to relate to. You are in a room with 9 others attending an event; although the event is the same one, each attendee will have a different experience based on their model of the world, how they feel that day and many other factors too. So perhaps your experience was that it was fantastic; however, it’s quite possible that some thought the exact opposite and others somewhere in between the two.
Let’s look at another incident. Say, for example, that someone has a fear of public speaking. It’s quite likely that they have had a ‘bad’ experience in the past. Often it goes back to childhood. So perhaps the person read out a poem or a story in class, stuttered over a word and some of his classmates laughed. This may then have been interpreted as something which is ‘dangerous’ because there’s the potential for ridicule or rejection. Depending on how sensitive the person is, the emotion felt will be more or less charged.
Charging What You’re Worth
Talking of charged, now let’s relate this to charging what you’re worth. You are at the point in your sales meeting when you are about to discuss fees with your potential client. You don’t feel confident about it and you remember previous occasions when you felt nervous. You start to think that the client won’t like your fees and you say something like:
“I normally charge x but for you, I’ll charge y.” Y of course being less than x. You have discounted your fees for no reason and may well have given the wrong impression to your potential client. You have allowed your beliefs and your past negative experience to dictate the outcome of the new opportunity.
Alternatively, you may be stating the correct fees, but not feeling confident that the client will accept them, so you’re giving mixed messages. In this instance, there is a good chance that they will be rejected which will then lower your confidence further.
So here’s some good news
Conversely, one of my clients says that because of the work we’ve been doing together, that she is now charging top fees to her clients and getting them, whereas before, that wasn’t happening. Even though there are others in the marketplace willing to charge significantly less, (their competence level may or may not be as good as hers) because she now understands her value, both consciously and unconsciously, and has no qualms stating her fees, she is able to charge her true worth.
In the next part of this article, below, I’ll look at how the mind works and give you some guidance in how to increase your awareness which means that you can have greater control in your business and improved revenue.
If you enjoyed this article and found it valuable, please feel free to pass it on.
Are You Blind To Your Mind Part II
Let me ask you a very important question. Are you ready and willing to learn how to charge what you’re worth and get it? If so, that’s an admirable goal. However, in order to do that, you must be able to remove the interference which is getting in the way. The challenge is, do you actually recognise that you:
- have interference
- know when it’s in play and
- understand what it’s costing you?
Potentially, there are a number of different interferences and all of these can be overcome; they’re just hurdles which you can go over, around or under. However, the most challenging of these and the one I’m focussing on is the mental variety.
Many years ago, I came across a formula (and despite the fact that I lean far more towards languages than I do maths or science – for example I only scraped a Grade E in chemistry O level, while I gained a double AA grade in French A level ), I really love formulas. It’s as follows:
Performance = Potential – Interference
This immediately made perfect sense to me. Since your potential is always 100%, it means that the determining factor of your performance is the amount of interference which you experience. Taking an extreme example, even if you were in a coma, your potential would still be 100%; however the level of interference would also be 100%, so your performance would be zero.
Luckily for you, if you are reading this, that is not the case. However, unless you are extremely fortunate, it’s probable that you have some level of interference; it’s just a question of degree. Quite clearly the more interference there is, the poorer the performance.
I want to make one thing really clear, though. This has nothing to do with your ability to do your work. In fact, as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I work with very competent professionals who do not lack ability or experience. However, because they’re human, they still have interference.
Recently, on a sunny, summery Sunday, I was happily strolling along the quay in my home town when I bumped into one of my professional services clients. He was so engrossed in his interference, head slightly down and a frown on his face, that I’m pretty sure that if I hadn’t seen him, he would have walked right past me, completely oblivious of my existence.
Within seconds he had appraised me of his “problem” which was professionally-related and clearly causing him great concern. In reality, it was just a situation which is unfolding and as yet, there is no outcome. If you read my last article, “Are You Blind to Your Mind, part I”, you’ll remember I talked about E + R = O, which is event plus reaction/response = outcome. This means that it’s your reaction or response to an event which creates the outcome, rather than the event per se.
Very often, the mind makes up stories and creates catastrophic outcomes the like of which would have the hardiest of men trembling in their boots. The mind is adept at either looking back at the past or looking to the future – what I call futurising (I know the word doesn’t exist, but I like it), and often fearing the worst. It doesn’t know how to stay in the present moment.
In reality, my client was walking along the same stretch of quay as I was, and yet his experience of it was very different from mine. When I brought this to his attention, he became more aware and when I questioned him on whether he had behaved in a similar way in the past when challenges had come his way, he said yes.
So in effect, all that was happening is that he was running a pattern of behaviour which he had run many, many times before, but had not realised. Why would he? He’s a lawyer; it’s not his bag.
The minute you understand that you’re running a pattern, you can claim back your power. You can stop the pattern and take control.
So How Do You Do That?
It’s simple but it’s not easy. So let’s start with a straightforward three step process:
- Recognise that you’re in a pattern. This is easier said than done because if, up until now, you’ve not realised that it was a pattern, you may not recognise it when it’s happening. However, just by setting the intention to recognise it, will help you get there. You can also use post-it notes around your home or office to remind you to stay in the present.
- When you recognise you’re running a pattern, say STOP and put your hand up in the stop position. You are instructing your subconscious mind to stop going down that route.
- Congratulate yourself for having taken the first step.
The key to making changes is in repetition; so you have to be willing to do this as much as you can. The mind is like a muscle and it needs to be exercised (just like the body), otherwise it will be weak and take the path of least resistance, which is the unwanted pattern! This may be sufficient to start you on the journey back to being able to make decisions without interference as the dictator.
However, everyone’s different; some people’s patterns are extremely strong and so more draconian measures may be required. What stories is your mind making up which are not serving you and are not true? And are you believing them?
Can you now see how this interference is impacting on your ability to charge what you’re worth and potentially every key decision which you make in your business and your personal life?
In the next part of this article, below, I’ll continue to explore how the mind works and the impact this has on you.
Are You Blind To Your Mind Part III
Mark Twain wrote: “I’ve experienced many terrible things in my life, a few of which actually happened.” Pause for thought … and if you’ve read my last two articles “Are You Blind to Your Mind Parts I and II,” by now you will have begun to comprehend that everything is not as you think it is. In this article, I want to delve a little deeper into how the mind works – but don’t worry, I’ll keep it as simple as I can – I don’t like to complicate matters!
How the Mind Works
You probably already know that we have a conscious and an unconscious mind. The conscious mind is like the captain of the ship and its function is to make the decisions in your life from the smallest to the largest. It can only hold between 5 and 9 bits of information at any one time so has its limitations.
For example, have you ever attended a business networking event and been introduced to a number of different people who you didn’t previously know? If so, did you remember all their names and what they did for a living afterwards?
The chances are, unless you paid particular attention to them, that you didn’t. That’s because you cannot hold them in your conscious mind, so unless they are actually learnt and therefore transferred to the subconscious mind, they will be quickly and easily forgotten. So next time you’re networking, pay more attention!
On the other hand, the subconscious or unconscious mind, rightly or wrongly, I use the two phrases interchangeably, is like the crew of the ship and it obeys the orders of the conscious mind to the letter. It can and does hold millions of bits of information – in fact, everything that you’ve ever seen, heard, touched, tasted or smelt is stored in your unconscious mind which means that this is where your knowledge and expertise are also contained.
In addition to this, it is so powerful that it takes care of all your bodily functions such as breathing, heart beating, digestion and the myriad other processes which take place in the body.
So it is like a giant computer, with mind-blowing powers which means that you, yes you (and me!) are an amazing being, if you but did know it. However, despite its astounding potency, there is one thing which the unconscious mind cannot do:
It cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is vividly imagined which in effect means that it cannot tell what is right and what is wrong.
This is a vital piece of information to take on board! It simply does not have the reasoning ability of the conscious mind, so it ‘believes’ and acts upon what you tell it and agrees! In essence, whatever you say, it says yes to – good or bad …
Before I go on, I would like you to just pause for a moment and ponder on that last statement………
Did you do that? If so, I feel sure that you are now beginning to appreciate that the unconscious mind has a massive impact on your life and therefore on your business. The real question is, is that impact working for or against you? Is it helping or hindering you in terms of charging what you’re worth?
Well that depends on exactly what you have stored in your subconscious mind. Chances are though, there will be a mixture of good, bad and neutral.
What Happens When It Has a Negative Impact
For instance, one of my clients, a highly qualified and experienced legal professional was spending a lot of time doing legal aid work, which, from a human perspective is laudable. However, let’s be honest, from a business viewpoint, it’s lousy! By the way, he was the only one in an organisation of 45 self-employed fee-earners to undertake this work, so it was his choice – no-one was forcing him to do it. The decision to do this sort of work was taken based on unconscious beliefs, rather than a conscious thought process.
He was brought up to take care of those less fortunate than himself which again is commendable, although it does not mean he has to do this at all costs. Remember though that the subconscious mind cannot say it’s right or wrong in any given situation; that’s the job of the conscious mind. In reality, though, and I alluded to it in Part I, the subconscious mind is in control far too much of the time, simply because the person is unaware.
However, coaching has enabled him to see that this is not working either for his business or for him personally. So he has made a conscious decision to no longer do legal aid work, as the time can be better spent finding the right level of clients where he can use his skills to the maximum and be rewarded accordingly.
This is just one example of how the subconscious mind can hijack or sabotage your results by bringing up thoughts which actually don’t best serve you. You see you have between 50,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day, most of which are thoughts you have had before and have become very comfortable with. You believe them, even though many of them are not actually true or are no longer valid. So you have to be ready to challenge them. How can you do this? Ask yourself the following three questions:
Is this really true?
What is this costing me to think that way?
What would I rather think?
If you’re not used to doing this kind of inner work, it may seem strange at first to ask yourself what you would rather think. However, please do not underestimate the value of doing this. In case you’re not aware, your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions and your actions create your results, so if you want to take the right actions, you must have the right thoughts.
Just try it and see how it works for you. What have you got to lose? Nothing and you’ve everything to gain.
I’m Vanessa Ugatti, author of Amazon Best Seller, True Worth: How to Charge What You’re Worth and Get It. I help accountants, lawyers and consultants to generate more income, have more time and create more freedom without having to get more clients, do more work or compromise value or values.
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For an initial no-obligation chat, call 00-44-1202-743961 or to order your complimentary copy of Amazon Best Seller click here