Looking at the World with New Eyeballs

Many years ago when I started my photography business, I believed I was technically awesome. I knew my shit. I just loved taking photos and I was proud of what I captured. I was one kick-ass photographer.

Fast forward to many years later, I was building a portfolio for my website. I went through all of my old “awesome” work, and guess what? It was shit technically‚Ķa humbling and eye-opening realization. ha! How did I not know? How did I use to look at these photos and not see the areas I needed to improve? It wasn’t until I shoved my annoying ego to the side and invested in learning that I gained a new set of eyeballs. ūüėČ These new eyeballs are quite the opposite, I see areas needing of improvement with every shoot‚Ķwhich in the end will allow me to grow within my work.

That same principle has been proven within many areas of my life. My faith and spirit has evolved as I’ve invested in growing and learning. ¬†Life is an evolving journey of continual growth, wisdom and knowledge. The stagnant areas settle within ego‚Ķbelieving there is nothing else to learn or understand about a certain area.

One of the main reasons why I held onto the extra weight for so many years lies within the¬†theory of low self-efficacy.¬†Psychologist¬†Albert Bandura¬†(fellow Albertan!) has defined self-efficacy as one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations. I truly didn’t believe I could do it. I constructed a difficult labyrinth within my mind that prevented even the slightest bit of progress. I quit before I even started. Those old eyeballs saw nothing but obstacles. I had resigned myself to living within a frame that I had difficulty moving physically.

I try to think back to the moment when I gained new eyeballs in this area‚ĶI really can’t pinpoint it. Just as I can’t pinpoint when I realized I was lacking technical knowledge within photography. I do know I dropped my ego and committed to learning. Research. Reading. Asking questions from others who had undergone a similar journey. And I used a healthy dose of imagination…I visualized reaching my goals. I shifted focus from the labyrinth of difficulty to seeing a new me. A better version of me who believed in herself.

The mind is our most powerful tool.

If you are reading this thinking about the areas you wish you can change, stop wishing and start doing. You absolutely can¬†accomplish your goals, but do you believe you can? Before you know it, you just may look at life, circumstances, your past, relationships, and your goals with a brand new set of eyeballs. ūüėČ

Here’s a great article about improving your self-efficacy:¬†http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/self_efficacy.htm

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From my heart to yours,

Christine

Self-Efficacy: The Power of Beliefs

I went for an outside run the other day, my first outside run of Spring. We’ve had an extremely long winter here in Alberta, and I just couldn’t will myself to dodge ice and puddles so I opted for a winter of stationary cycling to nowhere. As I was running, the banter within my head started taking over with each stride. “I’ve taken too much time off, my pace is much slower now.” and “I bet I look like Phoebe from Friends when I run.”

As my unproductive self talk skipped like a broken record in my head, I found myself wanting to turn around and go home. I recognized this pattern of discouraging thinking from years of practice. These are the thoughts that give me an excuse to slip back into old behaviours that produce little action. The old version of me who was happy to sit on the sidelines of life and¬†doubted I could be an active person, so I didn’t even try.

I realized this “not trying” thing, is something I’ve done for a large part of my adult life. Dreams are just dreams, because of my fear of failure.

And then out of nowhere, one powerful confident thought popped into my head. “You don’t live there anymore.”

It took me off guard…where did that come from?!

“Those old beliefs no longer serve you. Let them go. Keep calm and run. No matter how slow your pace is now, ¬†you are trying. You’re doing.”

And with that, I kept on running further than I have every ran before. I had some time to think about it when my run was over, and I realized there is always a payoff when living within behaviours that are destructive. So what exactly is the payoff to living a complacent life void of action? ¬†It’s safe within my comfort zone. There’s no failure there, because there’s no trying. Hmmmmm, interesting. And then I thought about the payoff within active living. There’s so many positives, it makes me feel ridiculous for comparing the two.

I don’t live there anymore.

Recently, I decided to pursue a 10 yr dream of getting my Personal Training Certification. I’m half way there. Out of all the information I’ve read through in the text-book, the one term¬†that has stuck with me most is this: “Self-Efficacy

Wikipedia’s definition: “Self-efficacy¬†is the extent or strength of one’s belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.”

The strength within a personal belief ¬†in one’s ability is a key factor to successfully reaching a goal.

There is both power and destruction within our beliefs.

Self-Efficacy is so interesting to me, as I realized I have the power to mould my actions through my beliefs. I thought back to where I was at the start of this journey, and I truly believed I couldn’t do it. The end goal was too big. How was I going to lose close to 100 pounds?! I believed I was weak, void of will-power, with little motivation. At some point, you just have to dive into a goal and push the negative beliefs to the side. What made me dive in? One tiny little positive thought: “Start small”

I will never forget my first attempt at jogging. I drove to the Vermilion Provincial Park, put on a brand new pair of Nikes, and started walking. I told myself I would walk for 20 minutes, and jog for part of it. I jogged for increments of 20 seconds. I felt both freedom and discouragement within that first walk/jog.

Do it again.

And so that began my journey with exercise. As I successfully reached each small goal, my beliefs turned from “I can’t” to “I think I can” to “I know I can” to “what goal is next?”.

I realized the importance of music to set pace and cope with feelings that I didn’t want to deal with. I ran to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” when I coped with a miscarriage.

And I ran to Metallica’s “Don’t Tread on Me” when I was frustrated…

And a whole lot of Stevie Nicks when I was feeling¬†nostalgic…

Over the years, my music choices have¬†changed as I’ve grown and learned to embrace life with a lot more positivity.¬†ūüėČ I’m more apt to choose Top 40 now, as long as it pushes me on. ¬†I love the 8tracks app on my iPhone. Check it out:¬†http://8tracks.com

I know I have the ability to shape my actions now. I just need to believe I can do it. And just so you know, you can do it too. Your beliefs hold the power.

Here’s an interesting read on enhancing self-efficacy: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/flourish/201002/if-you-think-you-can-t-think-again-the-sway-self-efficacy¬†

From my heart to yours,

Christine