Steven is smiling friendly as he tells me that he wakes up at night and ponders. He’s somewhere in snowy Canada. Because he chose to have his own business, he doesn’t feel like it’s right to wake his wife up in the middle of the night. Steven is a dad of two. He has grown his company to the point that he doesn’t have financial concerns anymore. So I ask him what keeps him up at night.

“I’m questioning my own leadership. Am I making the right decisions?”

As we expand on Steven’s concern, we discover that there are layers to him questioning himself. For quite some time he’s been feeling:

  • drained and exhausted
  • a lack of creativity and motivation
  • no time for himself
  • not able to enjoy his family and quality time
  • bad thoughts and emotions when thinking of his work

Steven is not alone. Entrepreneurs and Office Athletes who commit to achieving big goals often feel trapped by their commitments and choices. Steven wants to be an amazing father, a great husband, a reliable friend and an impactful entrepreneur. Being invested in your ambitions and making the most of your capabilities is something I encourage and celebrate. You decide how high you set the bar. What happens next is interesting.

What happens when you don’t perform as good as you want? How do you deal with setbacks? Failed attempts? How do you gather strength to carry on?

Steven and I clarified some limiting beliefs around the expectations he has of himself. His image of strength and being a man did not include him venting his struggles. Because he is the person in charge of his decisions, he can’t complain about the status quo. On paper it looks great. Successful business, nice house, healthy kids. Inside Steven feels alone and stuck inside his own creation.

I recognize having bad associations with expressing negative feelings, doubts and insecurities. Plenty of my clients are raised by baby boomers – this means your parents are older than 60 today. The generation that raised us stimulated the “toughen up” and “don’t complain” mindset. Work hard and be content. That philosophy comes from survival and scarcity. It served a different era. Today it is outdated programming.

Not being able to express your pain, sadness, disgust, or anger, leaves you with those emotions bottled up.

And the thing about not expressing emotions is that it’s just like pressing a ball under water. The more you push it down, the more it wants to float up. Resisting emotions is tiring, can cause a short fuse and leaves you feeling misunderstood.

Steven and I installed a important upgrade in his root programming. He is always happy to listen and help others. But he was afraid of the reactions of him sharing. Being comforted was somewhat scary to him. He does not want to be depending on others. How do you reframe these complex layers of programming inside a human approaching 40?

Steven loved how he felt empowered to take ownership of the update. Powerful leaders, inspirational husbands, relatable fathers – they understand the difference between depending on and relying on others. Depending on is a scarcity mindset, built on feelings of unsafety and survival. Steven refuses to depend on others – that’s why he’s such a rugged individual.

Relying is an abundance mindset – built on feelings of trust and thriving.

Steven loves the idea that you choose who you rely on, for what. The upgrade also changed the way he sees his friends and family: a relationship of people choosing to rely on each other.

Which update improves your personal programming?