Excerpt from Living a Five Star Life by Betty Mahalik
I’ve watched the movie Chicken Run at least a half-dozen times. Just beneath the surface of its simplistic look and story line lie a number of wonderful messages told through the eyes of a bunch of Claymation chickens trying to break out of their chicken-wire world to escape their fate at the chopping block. Their freedom leader, a feisty little hen named Ginger, comments profoundly in one scene: “the fences are all in your mind.” She reminds her fellow chickens (and us), that a bigger obstacle than the physical fences they’re surrounded by are the mental fences that hold them captive.
It’s been a good reminder for me on those occasions when I’ve been dealing with my own mental fences…those created by self-doubt, uncertainty, fear. Can you relate? Where have you fenced yourself in mentally in recent days or weeks? Perhaps your mental fence is procrastination, a deadening habit that keeps you stuck. Maybe yours, like mine, is related to self-doubt, and the on-going internal noise it produces that keeps you immobilized. Perhaps yours is the belief that you don’t deserve success, so you sabotage yourself to avoid having to find out how successful you could be. There are a million variations of the theme, but the result is still the same: we stay stuck like the chickens in the movie.
One of the key questions in the Best Year Yet program is: “How do I limit myself and how can I stop?” Those limitations are never external. They always live inside us. The antidote to being trapped by our mental fences is to create a compelling enough vision that, like Ginger and her flock of chicken friends, we’re willing to resort to amazing measures to break out. The formula:
VISION + CONSISTENT ACTION = FREEDOM!
I challenge you to take some bold, even outrageous steps to break free of your mental fences. If it’s procrastination, declare a “freedom day” and take action on everything you’ve been putting off: from cleaning your office to making phone calls or responding to emails you’ve avoided.
If it’s self-doubt, sit down and write out everything you value and why it’s important. Then challenge yourself to eliminate anything that doesn’t absolutely reflect your values, or add something that is a profound statement of who you are.
FREEDOM IS JUST THE OTHER SIDE OF ACTION.
Recognize that your mental fences can only keep you stuck as long as you’re looking at them. They can only contain you as long as you’re not taking actions consistent with your vision. Go ahead, take the action you’ve avoided and leap into a future filled with possibilities. And remember, the fences are all in your mind!
Chicken Run – The (Not So) Great Escape: Ginger tries to escape.