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Published:March 22nd, 2007 12:27 EST
Break Your Crutches

Break Your Crutches

By Simon Bailey (Mentor/Columnist)

It’s 4:00 a.m. and I couldn’t sleep. You were heavy on my mind, and I just had to get up and invite you to do one very important thing: break your crutches before they break you!

I’m too old. No one will ever marry me. I talk funny. It can’t be done. I have no support. No one believes in me. I’m stuck. It’s never been done before. Who would purchase my product or service? I will forgive, but never forget. Why does this always happen to me? I guess this is the way it’s supposed to be. I can’t afford the life I want. I’m going to play it safe and not rock the boat. I can’t make enough money doing what I love.

All of these beliefs are crutches – excuses for you to stay small, stay in your comfort zone and refrain from pursuing your heart’s desires. I am writing to someone right now who needs to hear these words. Could it be you?

A few days ago, during a layover in the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, I observed a woman on crutches with her left foot in a cast. Her total focus was on what was directly in front of her as she attempted to navigate the quickly moving crowds of people. The look on her face was one of distress, anxiousness and helplessness. It occurred to me that one day soon, her foot would be healed, the cast would come off, the crutches would be put away in some back closet, and her life would return to normal.

Then it hit me: What happens when we become dependent upon mental and emotional crutches?

Initially, a crutch – whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual – is a good thing. It supports us, props us up during times of trauma, tragedy or turmoil. We adopt a certain belief to help us through a major life event, disappointment or setback. We rely on a family member during a difficult time.

What happens to a leg that’s in a cast for an extended period of time, its work done by crutches? The leg and its muscles atrophy. They become small and weak. In fact, if you were to use crutches even without a cast, your muscles would simply waste away from lack of use.

When you come to rely on your mental or emotional crutches permanently, your spirit, your courage, your passion and your zest for life atrophy. They waste away from lack of use. These kinds of crutches keep you from moving on with the business of life – your Universal Assignment, that which you were put on Earth to be and do.

The crutches of self-doubt, low self-esteem, wavering confidence, hopelessness, purposelessness and sheer frustration have crippled you and rendered your spirit weak. You’ve hobbled around long enough using those same old tired excuses as to why you can’t seem to get on a good foot. It’s time to break your crutches and get back to your life.

Break Your Relationship Crutches

There are people who depend on others all of their lives and never have the courage to get out and fend for themselves. Take, for instance, a young man very close to me. He is 31 years of age and still lives at home with his parents. He graduated from college, has a car and works a job. His parents have become a crutch that has enabled him to play it safe.

Why am I airing personal business? Because I want to provoke him to step up and be a man. What does that mean? Get an apartment and be personally accountable for yourself. Discover what it means to have more month than money. Stop mooching off your parents. Get out and make something of your life.

I can hear some of you right now as you gasp, “I don’t believe he just went there.” Well, I did. Tough love must first begin at home.

How about you? Do you have some relationship crutches in your life that need to be broken and cast off? If so, then when are you going to do it? People are waiting for you to wake up and realize that you’ve stayed put long enough and it’s time to do something different.

  • Are you in a relationship simply because you’re afraid of being alone or afraid you won’t find someone better? Break the crutch! Get out! You won’t find Mr. or Ms. Right while you’re involved with someone else.

  • Are you in a needy relationship? Break the crutch! Put the phone down – don’t dial that number. Give yourself some space. Release the need to be needed and stop being a people pleaser.

Break Your Career Crutches

Some people stick with a job because the pay is good, the work is enjoyable and they like the people. However, some people stay in a job because of tenure or money or fear of change, despite losing their spark long ago. These people have the ability to convincingly say the things the right people want to hear, even though it’s the opposite of what’s in their hearts. Their jobs have become a crutch that keeps them from pursuing their true passions in life.

I recently learned that one of my clients told a prospective client that they should brace themselves if they had me in to speak to their employees. He said, “The last time we had Simon speak, five percent of our workforce quit within six months. If you have him, be prepared for the fallout!”

If you’ve been a member of the Brilliance Community for any length of time, you know me by now and you know that I simply laughed and said, “Brilliant!”

I go into organizations and flush their systems. Some people will stay; some will go. It’s a major paradigm shift for people: when disengaged employees quit, it’s a good thing for everyone! Those who are already engaged or who want to be engaged will fire themselves up and stay with the organization. Those who realize they will never be engaged will fire themselves from the organization and release their brilliance elsewhere. The organization wins because the truth is that the employees who quit were disengaged, even if they were A-Level Players. They were dragging the company down. Their leaving opens up spots for other A-Level Players who want to be engaged and release their brilliance with that organization. Cleaning the system increases flow directly to the bottom line.

How about you? Are you disengaged? Are you using your job and your company as a crutch?

  • Do you want to reignite the fire within you and release your brilliance in your job? Then break the crutch of disengagement! Identify the real meaning and purpose behind what you do. Shift your mindset. Decide once and for all that you will go beyond your job description, that you will give the organization more than they could ever pay you. Own what you do and do more of it because you love it.

  • Are you permanently disengaged, without any hope of satisfaction from your job? Then break the crutch! Look for other areas of your organization where you can leverage your brilliance and build relationships with the people in those areas. Go to HR and ask if there are other departments or teams that could benefit from your skill set. If, after earnest effort, you realize that you can’t find a home anywhere within your organization, then create an exit strategy to release your brilliance elsewhere.

Break Your Thinking Crutches

I’m reminded of the classic story in which a large pike fish was placed in an aquarium with several dozen minnows. For a time, the pike ate the minnows to his heart’s delight. Then the pike was separated from the minnows by a glass partition. Now the pike could see his meal through the glass but, try as he might, he couldn’t get to it. You’ve probably heard the story, so you know what happened next. When the glass was removed and the minnows allowed to swim freely around the pike, he never once tried to eat them. He starved to death in the midst of a feast.

The pike had become programmed into thinking that the minnows were out of his reach forever. This programming became an assumption that colored the filter through which he viewed the world. It became his reality. The same thing happens when you rely on a mental crutch. It changes your world view, the way you perceive everything in your life. You mentally and emotionally starve to death despite being surrounded by bountiful feasts, there for the taking.

How do you think? What do you think?

  • Have you been programmed to think small and aim small? Break the crutch of limited thinking! It’s time to think big, be big and go for it. Stretch your thinking; feature on the movie screen of your mind pictures of coming attractions. In order for your capacity to receive to expand, you must first give in to something that is larger than you. My life changed the day I finally understood and applied this principle.

  • Is fear the program that is running your life? Break the crutch! Don’t succumb to the fear of being uncomfortable or the fear of failure. The moment you start to doubt yourself or have a negative thought, ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” Identify your fears and then walk straight through them. When you take action despite your fears, you’ll discover they were nothing but smoke.

There comes a point when you have to say enough is enough and decide to break the crutches that have left you crippled without you even knowing it. Don’t just put your crutches away in the back of your mental closet, secretly knowing they’ll be there if you need them. Break them for good and throw them away so that you can never fall back on them again.

Take your two hands, hold your crutches up high in the air and then break them like a two-by-four over your knee. Learn to walk – and then run – again on your own two feet. Rebuild your mental, emotional and spiritual muscles and get on with your life.

Simon Believes…Break your crutches and you will never be crippled again!

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