Last weekend I saw an amazing stage act. A hypnotist brought a dozen people on stage and before we knew it, hilarity ensued.
What hit me most powerfully was that at one point, he had them thinking they were bodybuilders posing in a competition (which was just downright funny to watch), but then he put a simple aluminum folding chair in the middle of the stage and told them that despite their incredible muscles, they wouldn't be able to lift it.
One by one, they scoffed at the challenge, strode up to the chair… and sure enough, not one person could get it off the floor!
At the end of the show, the hypnotist turned to the audience, looked straight at us and said with no trace of irony:
“Ladies and gentlemen, understand that they couldn't lift the chair because in their minds they believed that they couldn't. Your own success in every area of life is 100% determined by your own beliefs regarding your limitations. You've each hypnotized yourselves with your own limiting beliefs. You are the only thing holding yourself back from greatness.”
That smacked me right between the eyes.
We all tell ourselves stories about
- what we're “just not good at”
- where we feel inadequate
- what we should or shouldn't already be/know/have/do
- why we constantly beat ourselves up over small things, or
- why we are justified in throwing our own “pity-party for one,” acting like an innocent victim of circumstance, certain that someone else is the villain and that we had no hand in creating our own unhappy situation
Any of that sound familiar?
They're ALL stories we tell ourselves that perpetuate our own successes and failures alike by strengthening our own self-hypnosis, literally.
Ironically, we're all fully aware of the power of the art of storytelling when trying to get others on board with our vision. (Heck, even Jesus taught through parables!)
Stories make concepts relatable to people, and a well-told story allows the audience not only to understand your point, but to experience it with you. Effective storytelling is its own form of hypnosis that allows people to be fully present and in mental lock-step with you.
That's why in this week's Speaking to Influence episode, Christopher Mominey, CEO of the West Chester University Foundation, shares the role that storytelling plays in fundraising efforts and ongoing team communication alike, and how he uses it as the core of relationship development.
So with that, let me ask you: What stories do you tell yourself? Where have you hypnotized yourself with a story that reinforces a limiting belief? If you're honest with yourself, I hope you can identify which is the anchor that keeps you from achieving your goals.
What do you think? Is it time for you to tell yourself a NEW story?