The biggest self-limiting belief that I overcame was my assumption that everyone has a particular calling or passion and we must follow that.
Until almost five years ago, my only desire in life was to become a playback singer who tours the world and sings in movies. The underlying reason for this desire was that singing used to be the only activity in my life that gave me the courage to bring my whole self to what I was doing. Because I brought my entire self to singing, I was appreciated, respected, and trusted by people when I was singing. I experienced total autonomy only when I was singing. All these emotions led me to believe that singing was my only passion and calling.
Then, five years back, I had an opportunity to work on a project with a small team of passionate people led by an amazing lady for a philanthropic organization. This lady, my boss, never missed out an opportunity to encourage me to bring my whole self to work. She trusted me enough to let me lead HR initiatives and bring out my best possible work. Eventually, I started building up my courage and confidence to believe that it’s possible to unleash my creativity and skills and experience total autonomy in what I was doing outside of singing.
This courage-building process happened not just in my professional life but also, in my personal life. Unlike my parents, who always gave me instructions to do things and never encouraged me to fail or make mistakes, my husband, encouraged and provided an environment to fail and make mistakes and helped me see that failures and mistakes are not as fatal as we think. They can help us grow into better, stronger people.
Both at work and at home, I had two amazing leaders who stayed out of my way to let me do things. Sometimes, the best way to offer someone help is not trying to help them at all. And, that’s exactly what they did.
My irrational desire to become a playback singer eventually declined. I realized that it’s not the activity per se but, it’s the qualities and emotions we experience while doing any activity that we must seek. This realization was liberating, and it helped me overcome several fixations I had in my life.
In one of the episodes of the HIMYM series, the character, Ted proposes a toast to The Naked Man that helped him get back to his game. It’s probably one of my favorite lines from the show. The line goes like this:
He may not fit society’s definition of a hero, but he is the hero I needed: the hero who helped me recover from the disaster of my failed almost-marriage and get back into the game.
Similarly, my boss and my husband may not be the best leaders in the world, but they were the leaders I needed who provided me the environment to overcome my self-limiting beliefs.