I’ve heard it said when an elephant is young they are restrained with a small chain around one leg. The baby elephant will pull on that chain and fight to get loose but it is too small to break away from the chains. At some point the baby elephant stops even trying because it hurts to tug on the chain. The elephant eventually believes it is impossible to break the chains so it stops trying.
The interesting part is the elephant continues to grow. In fact, it grows to become one of the largest and strongest animals on the planet yet the chain that restricts it remains the same. It is the same tiny chain that was used when it was a baby. The elephant now has the strength to break the chain with ease, but it doesn’t. It never attempts to because the elephant has already been conditioned to believe that it can’t.
The tiny chain has become a limiting belief that keeps the elephant from breaking free.
I can’t say for certain that this is totally true or is still how elephants are restrained. It may be a practice that is no longer used. I’m not an elephant expert, but the story is a great illustration for us.
It seems silly to us to think of a giant elephant not pulling on a tiny chain. But that is the power of a limiting belief that we have about ourselves.
What tiny chains do you have around you? Maybe they were put on you by someone else? Maybe you put them on yourself? It doesn’t matter. What matters is breaking free.
I am a huge fan of personal assessments that help us better understand ourselves and others. There are personality assessments. There are natural strengths assessments. There are even spiritual assessments to show us how we naturally worship best.
I’ve been labeled so many letters and words that I have to keep up with all natural strengths and personality traits on a spreadsheet! It is fun to learn and I do believe in personal assessments because I believe the more we understand ourselves the better. I’m sure I’ll take more assessments in the future, but there is a downside.
This is never the intent of any assessment, but if we are not careful we can use them as excuses. People do this all the time. It is easy for us to say things like, “that’s just not my strength area” or “that’s just my personality.”
Assessments have nothing to do with success in life. In fact, no one who succeeds at anything will list their personality or natural strength as the reason for their successs, so we should be very cautious of using them as an excuse as well.
I’ve seen some of the greatest sales people who could have said they didn’t have the natural personality type for it. I’ve seen some of the greatest leaders who could have used their natural personality or strengths as a reason not to lead. The bottom line is personal assessments have almost nothing to do with success, but they can help us better understand people which is extremely valuable.
The first step is understanding ourselves which helps us find our unique style. The next step is learning to understand others around us. This can help us have empathy towards others. When we have a better understanding of others natural traits, we can better understand how they may deal with situations differently than we do. It helps us walk in their shoes and maybe give them more grace. This is what assessments should do. They should help us better understand the people around us.
If we aren’t careful, they can have the opposite effect. We can be so self focused that we say “this is who I am” and expect the world to understand us when they don’t. We can use them as excuse not to succeed because that’s exactly what we need is another excuse to justify our failures.
So assessments are great, but use them wisely. Never use them as an excuse. Have more empathy for others because you better understand them.
Assessments may never help us “succeed” but they can make our journey better along the way.
I have worked with and run sales organizations for my entire adult life. There is a question that always comes up. You can’t escape it. It doesn’t matter the industry. The question will always be asked…
“What does the average person do?” or “What does the average person make?”
I’ve heard it so often that it is difficult to patiently give a reply. Why are we so obsessed with average?
The average person is out of shape.
The average person is broke and in debt up to their eye balls.
The average marriage ends in divorce.
The average sales person struggles and eventually quits.
The average new business won’t even exist in 5 years.
Average is a terrible thing to aim for. If average is our plan, we shouldn’t even do it. I would say I’m an average chess player, but chess isn’t that important to me. It is something I do very rarely for fun. It is better than watching TV even if I’m just average. That’s OK. It doesn’t mean much to me.
For anything important, we should avoid average. The better questions are, “Who is succeeding? What are they doing?” Then let’s aim at that. Sure, we may fail. We may not be at their level YET. But we can aim at it. We can measure and improve a little each day. If we do that, we will rise above the average.
Are you a driven, goal oriented person? Are you a dreamer with huge plans to change the world? Allow me to offer a little advice that may be helpful on your journey to massive success.
There are no shortage of definitions when it comes to success or what it actually takes to be successful.
It is only natural that we want the easiest path to success. It is normal to want the greatest gain with the least amount of effort, but it isn’t the way life works.
Making decisions can be exhausting. Most of us do not like making decisions. It is why when we are finally “off” for the day and it is time to go out to eat, we usually select the same places. It is just easier to not have to make a new decision.
Being an entrepreneur and being in sales can be lonely at times. It comes with big ups and downs.
By far, one of the biggest mistakes that we make in sales is talking too much. I think most of us have been guilty of this at some point. It is true that God must have given us two ears and one mouth for a reason.
Most of us struggle with over analyzing things. We have this desire to try and figure it all out first.