So on Monday I worked with this amazing bunch helping them achieve their dream of taking a business idea to market.

At the start of the session I asked them a very specific question: what is the one thing can I help you with?

I went round the room with each offering something. I put their answers on a board and what came next was very alarming.

Each of them wanted to know how to have more belief in themselves and how to hold that belief when family members and those who should be encouraging them tell them: they can’t, they shouldn’t, that their intentions are stupid.

My first reaction was: “Who specifically said you can’t. Let’s go together and tell them what’s what”. But of course we can’t resort to playground tactics, even though in this case it sounds fitting.

When I was young I went to the circus and saw a giant elephant with a rope around its neck which was attached to a stake in the ground. I asked my mum: “How can that big elephant be controlled by that little rope and stake?”. The question is an important one, because you and I know that if it really wanted to the elephant could break free and trample the entire circus.

But it doesn’t. Why?

Because when that big elephant was a baby elephant someone told it no, you have to stay in your place, and reinforced this with a firm whip of a cane. This happened day after day until the elephant accepted its fate, and believed that his future was fixed. “This is my destiny”, the elephant cried.

What we are told and exposed to shapes the contents of our mind and influences our ability to progress.

The sad thing is that it’s often those closest to us that fill our heads with these limiting beliefs, sometimes directly, sometimes without knowing. Either way it can taint our potential.

Everyone of us: myself, you, these young entrepreneurs, has been and will be exposed to limiting beliefs. But no longer do we need to accept them. Because 99% of them are accepted without any logical evidence. The next time you find yourself in doubt thinking: I can’t do this, I’m crap, I’m not intelligent enough, I’m from this area (insert deprived or underachieving location), check yourself. Ask, what conclusive evidence is there that what I’m saying is true? You will find there is none.

I’ll tell you what I told that amazing bunch of young entrepreneurs on Monday.

Beliefs can motivate, they can inspire your soul, They can move you forward toward a goal 

They can help you rise from the deepest depths, They can keep you going when you’ve nothing left

They can limit your greatness and box it away, They can strangle your potential and ruin your day

They can keep you unlaunched, blind to your force, They can drown you deep and veer you of course 

Beliefs can be both friend and foe, They can lift you high or keep you low

Ultimately though, you decide, which to keep or cast aside, A conscious mind you must maintain, for it could be the difference between growth and pain. 

Believe in you.