How Invisible Beliefs Stand In The Way Of Your Real Happiness

On Tuesday I pressed the send button on 42,434 words that make up my next book, Less Is More. I waited with baited breathe … half anxious, half excited, all wondering. On Thursday I received a call from Joel Rickett, my publisher at Penguin; his words: “I Love,Love,Love it!”. I jumped with joy, not just because this was the news I had been longing for, but because he had trusted me … and the fact that both he and my agent Scott Hoffman both loved it blew my crazy limiting belief out of the water (see below). Here’s the back story …and some powerful lessons I learnt along the way.

On Monday, 16 June 2014, I flew to Toronto to join some of, if not most of my favourite people in the world at Jayson Gaignard’s Mastermind Talks. Like all journey’s I needed a book to keep me company, this time Thrive was up and by page 102, I had a whole new perspective. And so did my book. That’s the great thing about books and inspiration; one thing tends to lead to the other.

My mind went into overdrive and I wrote Why Mindfulness Matters: Get More Done … By Doing Less on the plane – it quickly became one of my most shared pieces of content to date. I had struck a chord. I needed to change my book. Not that easy when it was already 3 months overdue! I sent the blog to Joel with the message: “I’m changing the course of the book, but trust me, in fact don’t just trust me, trust the 456 people who have shared the blog. I promise we’re doing the right thing.” Fortunately, he trusted me.

In the last 6 weeks, 70% of the book changed. It had taken 9 months to get to that point, but once my instinct really kicked in and screamed  “that’s IT!!!” the rest of the book was written in a fraction of the time. Less is more.

When you listen to your instinct, it’s rarely wrong.

But here’s the thing. Two weeks ago, I was talking to a friend. She asked how I was getting on with the book.

This was my reply: “ Brilliant, really nearly there – maybe the last 10%. I love it. I’m really, really proud of it. I think it’s going to make a massive difference to anyone who reads it. Or at least that’s what I hope!”

She replied: “Do you enjoy writing?”

“Absolutely” I said, “I love writing. I love creating content. I just want to create content that empowers people to change their lives. Writing, speaking, workshops, seminars. It’s all writing really. It’s all creative.”

My friend: “So why haven’t you ever pursued it as a career full time?”

Me: “Because you can’t make real money being creative.”


Where did that even come from?!?!

For the whole of my adult life, I have truly believed that I had NO limiting beliefs. I argued, there was no way I could have, given things I have been through and how I have fought my way out of or through them. If I had limiting beliefs, they would have held me back and incapacitated me. I couldn’t have any. No way. Not me.

Er … yeah, right.

“You can’t make real money being creative.”

The penny dropped and I realised that belief has held me back in so many ways. It’s made me make choices about my life and my career that I know for sure would have been different it hadn’t existed. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I’ve been blessed with amazing opportunities and experience as a result of the path I chose, but nonetheless, that fundamental, wholly illogical and totally unfounded belief set me on a course that I wouldn’t have chosen without it.

I felt I needed to run a ‘real’ business if I was to be ‘successful’. Nothing wrong with that. Unless that’s not what makes your heart sing.

As my 8 year old told me when he was just 6 years old and being encouraged by his teachers to join the school rugby team “Just because you’re good at it Mummy, doesn’t mean you want to do it”

Out of the mouths of babes …

Now imagine I had grown up with JK Rowling or Steven Spielberg. Do you think I would have had the same belief? Hell NO!

The most dangerous beliefs are the invisible ones, the ones that have crept so deep into your being that you don’t even know they are there. In fact, you would swear they didn’t exist. I have no idea where it even came from. It certainly wasn’t my Mum instilling it into me, she has always encouraged my creativity. Maybe it’s the subliminal things, like my Mum was an incredible English teacher, whilst her brother was the successful businessman. No guessing who made the most money. But who impacted the most lives? In my naivety, maybe that registered that I couldn’t be creative and make ‘real’ money. It was subconscious which is even worse as I had no way of recognising its existence until the words came tumbling out of my mouth. It reminded me of a poem by my favourite poet, Philip Larkin:

NOTE: To me, this not a criticism of parents, but an indictment of all of us. Society, parents, teachers, friends, but most importantly ourselves. 

This Be The Verse

We’re all holding onto some kind of limiting belief. It’s time to let go. It’s time to shine.