Here is another post inspired by Michael Finnegan and his company i2i – The Catalyst for positive change. I spent the other day with Michael learning about this stuff, and was once again blown away by his knowledge and the stories he tells to illustrate what he teaches.
So here is how Michael sets the scene: imagine three concentric circles – The outer circle being the ‘conscious mind’, the inner circle the ‘subconscious mind’, and within that the innermost circle the ‘creative mind’, what Michael calls the minds taxi driver! It’ll make sense in a minute…
So the conscious mind perceives things and these things are fed through to the sub conscious OK? Only some of it gets through, and some of it doesn’t. And obviously, it all depends on the way you think and the way you see things (your perception). Now this is a sales and marketing blog, not a psychology blog (clearly!) and I don’t aim to offer deep analysis of the following concepts – But I hope most people will sense the ‘rightness’ of these ideas.
Basically, the mind requires that there is no conflict between what it perceives and what it believes. What the outside world is telling it, and what the subconscious believes is the way of things. But there are some interesting factors at play here.
1) The subconscious isn’t discerning – it ‘believes’ what you, and others tell it, right or wrong
2) If there is a conflict between what you see, and what the subconscious believes, the creative mind takes over
3) The creative mind (the taxi driver) can ‘create’ or ‘even out’ the conflict, ensuring what you believe is the case is the same as what you perceive.
The example Michael gave is one from when he worked with a famous sports star who had been the victim of a less than stable upbringing and was regarded as a real ‘boy done good’ character.
After a particularly amazing performance his sponsors paid out a huge cash prize to him, making him potentially financially stable over night. It was a real princely sum back then, and would have allowed the sports star to pay off his mortgage and have some money over. A great opportunity to set himself up for life right? Oh no!
The creative mind took over.
This guy believed he was rubbish with money, amongst other things, and suddenly found himself in possession of a fortune. And so he sabotaged himself. He took himself off to the race track and blew the whole lot in one day. In the shortest time he had returned his mind to the status quo.
Belief that he was rubbish with money + suddenly possessing a fortune = the creative mind performs actions designed to get rid of all that money
Now everything is right with the world again.
Apparently Michael talked to him later and asked why he had done it. “I’m an idiot aren’t I?” was the self deprecating reply. More evidence of the conditioning this poor bloke had been through, probably as a kid too.
And there is the lesson. You have to be so careful what you say. AND what you listen to. Your mind does not dimiss the stuff that doesn’t make sense, or isn’t true, it all goes in!
Try to catch yourself using self talk that is negative. Don’t allow yourself to undermine or sabotage your own efforts. I see it and hear it all the time. An example from playing golf with a friend earlier today:
Me: “Good shot!”
My friend: “Thanks! Don’t worry, I’ll mess up the next one to make up for it”
I know it was said in jest, but it can be so harmful!
And careful about the general talk thats going on around you too. “It’s a tough market” is a typical phrase you’ll hear in business. Or “I can’t get appointments” Or “money is tight out there” or whatever. It may very well be that these things are the case, but why sabotage your efforts by convincing yourself you’ll have an even harder job than you need to?
That supremely powerful mind of yours is up to all sorts of tricks to make sure the status quo of the conscious and subconscious mindis maintained.
These ideas also help explain some of the issues involved in managing high performance individuals especially when considering impairment through fear of failure and fear of success.
Fear of failure typically involves the subject becoming so scared that they won’t come up to scratch that their performance is impacted. Its easy to understand, Stage fright, or pre game nerves will clearly undo your best efforts. But fear of success is more complicated.
When it seems clear that you may finally attain the highest of standards, you might well find yourself contemplating a quick visit to a place massively outside your comfort zone! If you perceive this to be that painfully out of your comfort zone, it can make you have serious second thoughts about what you are about to achieve.
In work terms you maybe on for the highest billing month you have ever achieved. You start to think about the commission you’ll earn and the love and respect from your colleagues that you’ll undoubtably revel in.
The mind races ahead.
“If I could bill this level every month, how much will I earn this year?” Big success is suddenly close!
“But what impact will that have on the target managent give me?” You go on. “Its going to go up isn’t it? And what if I start missing some of those huge targets?” Before you know it you’ll be earning less than you would have if you’d just kept your billings the same! At least thats what you’ll convince yourself anyway.
And you’ll note, none of this actually happens. You only have to think about it and it creates the same feelings are if it were happening and creates the desire to do something about it before it happens, to protect yourself from all that stress.
And so you might ‘even out the billings’, make sure some of what could go into this month falls in the next. Reducing the likelihood of the record ever month from ever happening.
There you go, self sabotage! It’s a clever little devil you should be on guard against at all times.
Stand by for more blogs from my sessions with Michael Finnegan, and do check out his website and his books – he is great value, and a great guy!