The Big One and Big Bird.

In leadership, we often practised Situational Leadership, one of the main tenets being that someone's perception is their reality.

So If someone thinks they are great at a task - that is their reality. They perceive they are the best and you need to manage and lead with this understanding.

If you try to manage that person the same way as someone who thinks they are terrible at this same task, you will miss the mark and not effectively lead them to improve.

Or, if someone has a certain impression of you as their leader - you are aloof and difficult to approach for example - this is their reality, even if you feel that you are the epitome of warmth and approachability. They will never approach you for the mere fact that their perception is their reality. And no matter how many times you tell them otherwise, until they see and experience something else first hand, their perception will not change.

What if you apply this to yourself?

Your perception is your reality.

What you decide is true, becomes your truth. And what you believe, even if you tell yourself otherwise, is your truth.

Think of it this way: You have tried to change many times. You just aren't cut out for the gym, for example. This becomes your reality because it is your perception. And so you end up never going to the gym or working out. This perception may even be based on a particular experience that you can remember.

But what about all the experiences you had during your formative childhood years that you don't remember, and how these have contributed to your perceptions. Your older brother always won and got all the candy from the pinata at birthday parties? The first few times you tried your little heart out. But then you knew you wouldn't get any candy unless he decided to share, so you removed yourself from trying. What's the message this told you? Why try hard and wait for someone to give you what you want instead. I mean, this worked when you were 3 and 4 and 5... and became a part of your subconscious that impacted your actions in subsequent situations later in life. Or maybe you were the star baseball player, but your dad was always too busy to practice or play catch or come to your games. You felt you had to be the best, always, never making a mistake, never quitting, in case he did turn up and he could see what a star you were. And, now you never settle for being second best. All these situations that happened when you were a kid have a resounding impact on your subconscious, your way of being, and the actions you take naturally now.

For me, I realised I constantly heard several messages as a kid: 1. Money doesn't grow on trees. This led to me feeling as if there's a limited supply of money, and unless I am the brightest and best I don't deserve it. There's simply not enough to go around. 2. Nothing I did was ever good enough. I mean, my parents would tell me on one hand how amazing I was, and then critique and criticise my actions. Once, I wanted an action figure arts and crafts thing - I had my heart set on Wonder Woman, but when I got to the toy store with my mom, they were out. So I settled for Big Bird. He was the biggest. But, I really wanted Wonder Woman, who was blue, so I decided to paint my Big Bird blue. Rather than figure out why or praise my creativity, my dad painted him yellow. And we've all seen the Ziploc commercials that remind us that Yellow and Blue make Green! So, I ended up with a puke green Big Bird. And the same goes for my mom, who has continued this up until my adulthood. I have recently changed my lifestyle, and that has brought with it fairly significant weight loss. I shared with my mom after I posted a story about how much I love scales now [I mean, really, most of us don't love scales and I have to admit it was the first time in my adult life I was actually excited to step on one.] Her reaction? Wow - that's great! I bet you still have the poochy belly.

Now, the benefit is that she said this as I was going through the realisation of how much of an impact these types of things had on me and my limiting beliefs. So I was able to bring out my superhero new beliefs and let it wash over me as I saw it for what it was: a comment that doesn't define me. And is also untrue, because that belly is gone!

And what I realised is that I had a near constant dialogue from my childhood that I wasn't the best and so I stopped trying. I stopped putting 100% of myself into anything because when I did I just got negative criticism. So, to protect myself, I put out maybe 70%, telling myself I could give more, knowing I wasn't putting my all into it, and subsequently protecting myself. But what ultimately happened is that I didn't live up to my possibility. Outwardly, I showed that I was living a full life, but really I wasn't. I wasn't feeling all the lows or all the subsequent highs, because I quit. I quit at 7 out of 10 reps when I was training. Mentally this was a huge block to get over. And it was due to my subconscious habit of knowing I could do more, but 7 would have to do. Now, however, it doesn’t. I’ve stopped this bargaining with myself.

Remember Spinal Tap and the speakers? “…These go to Eleven.” That's me. I've seen the possibility of living life at 11 on a scale of 1-10.

Your perception is guided and shaped by all your experiences, especially those you may not even remember from your childhood and how you have chosen to react to them. These start to form before you even have memories and are the cornerstone of your subconscious, which guides your subsequent actions. Research shows that the majority of your subconscious beliefs are formed by the age of 6. If you want to change your actions and habits, you can do this easily by taking 1 step and building on the successes you see and feel.

But if you want to change your life? You need to understand what the contributing factors are to your subconscious beliefs and face them head-on, squelch the inner voice that keeps you from living a life unlimited, one that is purpose-filled and with direction.

So, how did I figure this out? I had a moment with my trainer, after a tough workout where he called me out for not being able to remember what was next in my circuit - and that I wasn’t paying attention to him. From my perspective, he expected me to be further along, more of an expert, and I was feeling like I needed more support than he was giving. We were at an impasse and neither of us were happy. But we carried on.

When we left, he reminded me to put my kickstand up before I reversed my bike. And immediately I felt all the hairs on the back of my neck come to attention. I had to remind myself not to over-react. Or react at all, until I figured out what was really pissing me off. My initial reaction was that, yet again, I wasn’t good enough, and I didn’t really want the feedback, thank you very much. I didn’t want to hear that I wasn’t doing something right.

So, when I got home I had a choice to make. Be angry and let my emotions overcome me, or figure them out. So, I reasoned. I drew a diagram. And came up with this:

  • I had a feeling of not being good enough, always hearing “You can do anything, but you don’t do it well”. This resonated all the way from the Big Bird incident when I was maybe 3 years old to my mom’s comment about my poochy belly.

  • This led to me not trying 100%, not showing all of me. Why put everything in to be told I’m not good enough?

    • From here, barriers go up. I get annoyed with feedback which I take as criticism or I discount it altogether. In this case, because I value the opinion of the person commenting, I took it as criticism.

    • I’m THINKING I’m capable, but messages say otherwise, which leads to me only giving 70%.

  • Which, in turn, led to a lack of confidence [which I didn’t demonstrate outwardly] because I haven’t consistently demonstrated success and what success looks like. I’ve thought I could do things, but I didn’t have faith or trust in myself- subconscious belief - that I could.

  • This led to further sensitivity to ‘criticism’ - the previous week, my trainer showed me how to jump-start my bike - and I took this as helpful advice, very different to the same type of comment that I took as criticism.

  • It became clear that I was operating on an old habit loop based on my subconscious. And who was this serving? No one.

The second I figured this out, it was almost like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, when all of a sudden she was in a technicolor world. My world is now technicolor. My life is now unlimited. And, while your subconscious and limiting beliefs may not be exactly the same as mine, I’m willing to bet you’re ready to move beyond them.

Are you ready to step into the life you want and know you deserve? Drop me a line at to let me know what you think, and Book Your Free Call HERE.

These go to 11...

Kristen Franey