Life can be too overwhelming that we forget we have the agency to choose. Because of this, we often feel stuck—be it from our limiting beliefs or the way we think others perceive us. Julia Pimsleur, the author of Million Dollar Women and, more recently, Go Big Now, is back on the show to remind us to Make the Decision, especially as women. She joins host Kim Sutton to share how we can bust our limiting beliefs and make a done decision. Take control of life and make big changes. All it takes is for you to decide to make it. Get your mindset training in this episode!
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Make The Decision: Busting Limiting Beliefs With Julia Pimsleur
I’m so happy that you’re here. We’re going to pick up where episode 713 left off. Julia, why don’t you go ahead and re-introduce yourself?
Readers, I’m going to be saying this the whole episode. You need to go and get Go Big Now because I’ve been reading it. I’m not honestly done yet because there’s so much gold in there that I need to digest and keep on going through, but I need to give it a chance to digest before I jump on. Is that how you want people reading it?
I don’t think it’s power through it kind of book because I spent over two years writing it and about fifteen years researching it. Not literally, but I had been working on mindset for fifteen years with some of the top mindset teachers in the country. I condensed all that down into this book, which I don’t want to scare people. It’s not a hard-dense read, but there are a lot of things in there that can transform your life. Why rush through it?
When we were chatting last, I shared that I was going through some stuff with my husband in full disclosure, but it hasn’t ended. I’m so happy that I’ve done the mindset training, even just elementary mindset training that I have. This is a good day at my house. There’s no fighting. There’s communication. On any other given day, I might have shut down because I wasn’t able to cope and redirect my thoughts around what was going on in my house.
That’s why we do mindset training because you can’t always control what’s happening around you. All you can do is find better ways to react to it.
If somebody tried to pick a fight, what would be your first action to protect yourself and redirect?
The first thing to understand when you do this mindset work is that you’re in charge of your mind. It’s not about what other people are doing. It’s about how you want your mindset to be throughout the day. This is why I meditate and I know a lot of people meditate, but we do it in part because it gives you this very stable foundation so that it is harder to throw you off your game and you can stay focused on, “What’s the big thing I’m trying to get done now? What kind of mood do I want to be in? How do I want to show up for my children, friends, and coworkers?” If somebody tries to throw you off, you’re not as likely to be affected by that. I’m not saying you walk around in a state of bliss and if somebody does something mean or that irritates you, that it doesn’t bug you, but you find yourself less reactionary and getting less triggered when you’ve done some of this work.
I found myself more able to walk away.
We do mindset training because you can’t always control what’s happening around you. All you can do is find better ways to react to it.
Decide, “This is not where I want to go.”
Some people will keep on poking when you walk away, “You’re wrong. You can’t win.” I don’t choose to engage. I don’t need to win and be right. I choose to preserve my mental space. I saw it on social media. I don’t spend as nearly as much time there as I used to, but when people would get not optimal feedback on their posts or haters would come in. I’ve had my own share of haters. There used to be a time when I would engage because I needed to be right or I needed them to not think poorly of me. As part of growing up for me and growing into this better mindset journey, there has got to be a better way of putting it. It’s understanding and being okay that not everybody is going to like me.
Especially as women, we don’t realize how deep the socialization is that you should be liked by everyone as a woman. The fact of that, that could be your Achilles’ heel because wanting to be liked by everyone means that you’re compromising on your values half the time and letting people get under your skin who shouldn’t get under your skin. One of the things I teach in the book is that everybody has their filtering device in their brain. It’s called the RAS, Reticular Activating System. I know you’ve already read that chapter, so you know what I’m talking about. It’s right in the beginning.
When you find out about that, you realize it’s not worth getting too worked up about other people’s impressions of you because they’re running everything through a different filtering device than yours. You’re not even seeing or experiencing the same thing. It’s like fighting with someone who went to see Bambi and you went to see Die Hard 2 and you’re fighting about the end of the movie. You saw two different movies. That is helpful when people learn that. It’s scientific that we’re not having the same experience as other people.
The first level is if you can acknowledge, “This person is having their own experience and I don’t need to engage with their experience.” The next level is, “What can this teach me?” If you can get to the third level, which is the best level, but it’s hard to get there. I’m not there. It was some of the people who challenged me in my life. It’s, “Can you have empathy?” Someone who is engaging you in a way that doesn’t feel good to you, whether they’re yelling at you, testing your boundaries, or criticizing you, where does that come from for them? Where did they experience that, that they’re now replicating that unhelpful behavior?
I had a coaching client who called me saying, “This new client of mine is driving me nuts. She is calling me all the time. I don’t know what to do. Why doesn’t she understand that she can’t call me on a Saturday?” She wanted empathy. I gave her a little bit of empathy, but then I was like, “This is a gift.” She was like, “What do you mean it’s a gift? This person is driving me crazy.” I said, “This is a gift because it’s going to force you to create better boundaries which you needed anyway. You wouldn’t even be in this situation if you didn’t have good boundaries. None of my coaching clients are calling me on a Saturday morning because I have good boundaries.”
She realized, “You’re right. I didn’t say to her right up front, ‘You can call me at this time and not at that time.'” The first time she overstepped a boundary, she didn’t say to her, “I’ll talk to you this once or you can change the appointment this once, but this is not how I operate.” That is forcing and allowing her, depending on which language you want to use, to create some better boundaries that are going to help her with her next 2, 5, and 500 clients.
It’s hard for me to admit that I went through the first seven years of my business without boundaries for clients. I would sleep with the phone on the table next to my bed which I honestly still do, but it’s on a lower shelf, so it takes effort to get to it. The notifications and ringer were on all the time. I would get text messages from West Coast clients and I’m Eastern time zone. For international readers, this means that they’re three hours behind me. They would text me at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and I felt like I had to respond, so my notifications were on all the time. I made myself available all the time, my value to them was perceived as lower.
That’s the irony. We think we’re being such a great and responsive professional when in fact, it’s sending a very clear message that you don’t value your time, so why should they? How did you stop?
I started by turning off the notifications on my phone. This is going to sound bad, but I was too chicken to say, “Please don’t text me that late.” That came later with a whole different client. At first, because it was the client and then their assistant, “Kim, did you get this?” I set up the expectation for them that they would get immediate responses. I addressed it by saying, “I’ve realized that I need to take better care of myself and I’ve started turning off my notifications.” It became maybe they texted at noon on a Saturday. I’ve already addressed late-night texts and emails, but I didn’t address that I was now working on reclaiming my nights and weekends. It took a whole bunch of baby steps for that client, whereas now I’m addressing it straight from the get-go, “My hours are from 10:00 to 4:00. I work Monday through Friday. I’m available for calls Tuesday through Thursday.”
That’s a mindset thing, too. It’s creating that space for self-care and making sure that you have a good balance between when you work, you’re with your family, and you’re doing things that are for fun. Mindset is like this buzzword now. Nobody knows what it means. It just gets thrown around a lot. Self-care falls under mindset because if you don’t have a powerful and strong mindset, then you’re not going to create those boundaries and value yourself enough.
I used to think that I needed to be at a certain income level to take time off during the week to take care of myself.
You’ve come a long way. Congratulations on that. I would love to hear what’s resonating with you in the book.
I want to share one quick story on that, though. The first kick that I learned that I needed to take care of myself was my whole team, who I love and loved then. We’re not necessarily working together right now. They threatened to walk off if I did not go to the doctor or the hospital immediately because I had 104 fever. I was trying to push right through it. They were like, “Your business isn’t going to be here if you’re not here. Either you go or we go.”
That’s crazy that it took that.
I’m so exceptionally grateful. I hate to say this, but it’s what’s freshest in my mind because I was rereading the first chapter right before here. It’s always fascinating to hear where mindset journeys began. To hear that yours began at such a young age and from such devastating circumstances, the loss of your dad, I appreciate that it came in so early. I wish that for children now, it didn’t have to take something devastating for the mindset exercises to start because my kids aren’t. They learn what I teach them and I’m doing my best to teach them as much as I can. I shared some of that with my son when he thought that he wasn’t getting any financial aid. I told him to keep his chin up and keep on going forward. If you want to read that story, readers, go back to episode 713, which was part one of Julia and my conversation.
That was a great story and such a mindset moment. Our kids can benefit so much from these tools.
My littles want to have a YouTube channel. They watch kids with YouTube channels all the time. I’ve been sheltering them a little bit because I didn’t feel that they were mature enough. They’re still immature. No other parents want their kids watching channels where all the kids do is make fart noises.
Whatever they put out there is going to follow them around the rest of their lives. Keep that in mind now as parents. You can’t take it back.
I want to prepare them for the fact that not everybody is going to like their videos. They are going to get thumbs down and rude comments. I don’t know that my kids are ready for rejection. Maybe they don’t see it because they’re not going to necessarily be managing their channel. I want to make sure that they’re prepared when they get there. Going back, your dad died and your mindset journey began. You sounded like an amazing person. You’ve done so much since then.
It’s not about what other people are doing. It’s about how you want your mindset to be throughout the day.
It was cathartic writing about it because, in a way, that was always my dark secret. People knew my father had passed away, but I had never written about this very life-changing moment when he didn’t come to pick us up for school. He died suddenly of a heart attack. That was such a shock to the system as an eight-year-old girl that I did have to make a big decision at that moment. It wasn’t a conscious decision. I was too young, but do I go towards the pain or what could take me out of the pain? It’s not about denial because grief is important and I did have a chance to grieve him. At every juncture in our life where things don’t go the way we want or maybe even there’s a huge tragedy, we seldom forget that we have a choice.
That’s why I started with that story because I did make a choice then, even though I didn’t realize I was making it. I’ve since made it over and over again and decided to become a mindset coach to help other people make those choices because that’s one of my main messages in the book. We have so much more agency than we realize. Once we do, it’s empowering and exciting to think that you can choose how to react to things and go through life.
I want to skip forward to key five, bust your limiting beliefs. Do you think that anybody can say that they’ve ever worked through all of their limiting beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are a bit like a Whac-A-Mole game, where if you whack one mole, then another mole pops up. If you don’t know what that is, you can google it. We’re of an age where we know what that is. I conquered a big one that I wrote about in the book, which was, “Can I raise venture capital for my company?” I was running my language teaching company and I wanted to raise money. I believed I couldn’t because I hadn’t gone to business school. I didn’t have a finance background, but that was a limiting belief and I busted through it. Hopefully, you can celebrate that for a little while and enjoy the rewards which I did. I raised $6 million for my company and we got up into the multimillions, but then other ones started popping up on the personal front.
What’s nice is once you have this framework of, “That’s a limiting belief. Here’s how I get rid of it,” it’s not so scary when they pop up because you realize, “I have a system for getting through this.” The other one I shared in the book was getting over the limiting belief of, “I can’t drive.” I grew up in New York. I never drove much growing up. I never had to drive. I married a man from California who loved to drive. For years, I was not behind the wheel. It solidified into this idea that I can’t drive, not just that I wasn’t driving. That was a self-fulfilling prophecy because I would avoid it a little bit.
At one point, I had to face that because we got divorced and go pick up the kids from camp. I didn’t know how to drive and get them there. At first, I was like, “I can’t do this. I’m going to have to hire a driver to drive me three hours into the woods in Massachusetts to get my kids.” Happily, I pulled out my book, Million Dollar Women, and looked at the exercise I had provided there of how to bust through limiting beliefs and busted through that one, too. You can’t ever get them all, but having a method for what to do when they pop up is very comforting and empowering.
I want readers to understand that you busted your limiting beliefs of learning how to drive, not just on any ordinary roads, but in probably what would be some of the scariest roads to drive on anywhere.
Do you mean getting in and out of New York?
I-95, where people are going 95 instead of 60.
Thank you for that acknowledgment. I appreciate it. I did practice a lot before step four of busting your limiting beliefs. I’ll run through it for the readers. Step one is saying it out loud. Step two is writing it down and sharing it with a coach, mentor, or therapist. Not just any random friend because they have their own limiting beliefs and that can affect how they guide you. Do find someone you trust who is experienced to help you with this. The third step is, “What is the positive opposite of that limiting belief?” In my case, it was, “I’m a great driver and I love driving,” which sounded insane when it came out of my mouth because it couldn’t be further from the truth I was living at that time. Step four is what allows you to get there.
Step four is coming up with ten action steps of things you can do or what someone who has the empowering belief would be doing. “What does someone who loves driving is good at? What are ten things they would be doing?” You start doing those things. The first few feel awful because they’re things that you’ve been avoiding, in my case, driving for fifteen years. I had to go driving on weekends, volunteer to drive, and make a playlist to play in the car. They were all these things that people who love driving do that I didn’t even know existed. Go to drive-throughs and order food. I had to go interview friends of mine like, “What do you like about driving? Talk to me about this.”
I love using this driving example because it sounds so silly to most people reading, especially if you don’t live in a big city and you have to drive. That’s not even optional. If I who built a multimillion-dollar company could then have the humility to go figure out how to bust through this thing and make it work, then whatever it is you’re stuck on, find the humility to say, “I don’t know how to get through this. I don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like. Let me go interview my friends who are in a loving and healthy relationship and see what kinds of things they’re doing. Let me interview someone who has built their business up to being a $500,000 a year business or $1.5 million business. What kinds of things are they doing, thinking, and believing?” That’s how you can make those big shifts.
My husband and I worked through a limiting belief where anytime we got a larger sum of money, maybe a tax refund. He was in college, so we would get the excess student loans to pay for living expenses. We more than occasionally made stupid spending decisions. We were both raised in households that struggled financially. When money came in, it went right back out again. Both of us probably saw a little bit of this frivolous spending from our parents where they better spend it before somebody else gets it.
What was the limiting belief? Can you articulate it?
We didn’t want to hold on to money because we were afraid that somebody else would get it. It led to financial hardships for my husband and I because sometimes we would go out to eat when we had to pay that utility bill. The utilities would get shut off because we were afraid that something would happen that would take our money and then we wouldn’t have it, but then we would spend it in other ways. One of my early coaches said, “Kim, what’s your zero?” I didn’t understand.
He said, “What is the amount of money that you’re comfortable with having in your bank account?” I said to him at that point, “As long as it’s not red, I’m okay with it.” He said, “Is that a safe place to be living from?” “No.” Our bank accounts haven’t seen red in I don’t know how long. It’s amazing when you stop having to pay an overdraft fee. It’s just a need to put it out there. I’m not saying that we’re swimming in money, but my new limiting belief is, “We’ve got money. Should I be spending it on this or this?”
My nails look less than optimal. As a woman, you might understand, I use gel nail polish, so I don’t have the gel nail polish remover. I’ve almost held myself back from doing videos because I use my hands a lot and I didn’t want anybody to see my crappy nails. “Who cares about the crappy nails if the message is good?” I went ahead with it. I’ve been struggling with, “Do I want to go spend $35 to get my nails done?”
What’s the new limiting belief? The old limiting belief was, “If we don’t spend the money, then it might disappear. We have to spend it even if we’re making bad choices.”
Now, the limiting belief is, “There’s money in the account. Is self-care the best way to spend the money?” I’m going to bash that one right now, yes, it is, even when you have to go broke doing it.
It’s about scarcity versus abundance.
At the end of the day, every big change in our life starts with the decision to make it.
The more that I’m not worried about scarcity, I’m a religious person. I gave it to God as much as I could, but I’ve been working through that more. Not only am I going to get my nails done, but I also signed up for a wardrobe subscription service again. There’s nothing that I detest more than clothes shopping. I just don’t like it.
You’re making videos. You want to look good and feel confident.
How about I have somebody else do it and eliminate that excuse?
This is the result over reasons. Many of us live our lives with so many reasons that we don’t get what we want, we can’t do this thing, or it’s not the right time, but if you flip it and use this mindset key, and the reason we keep saying the word key is that I explored these nine set practices as keys. I presented them as keys, almost like keys to a door that unlocks something in your brain. The result over reasons is when you do the opposite. You start with, “What needs to happen?” In your case, “I need to be making videos. That’s a big part of my business model.” Instead of having all these reasons not to do it, “I don’t have the right clothes. My nails aren’t right,” you say, “The result is what matters.” You reverse-engineer in getting there, which sounds like exactly what you did.
I love that you’re using reasons. I’ve always used excuses.
I like the alliteration.
It sounds a little bit more gentle on ourselves, but I’ve had a long-standing relationship with excuses and I’m breaking up with them.
You’re making done decisions because most of us make hopeful decisions like, “I would like to be making more videos or saving more money,” but most of those things are wishful thinking. They don’t happen. We go around saying so many things that don’t come to pass. A done decision is when you make a decision that has the same quality as when someone asks you to do something and you go, “Consider it done.” Those things do get done because you’ve given someone your word. If your husband says, “Can you pick up dinner on the way home?” and you say, “Done,” you’re not going to just not pick up dinner on the way home. That would be breaking your word.
Why don’t we have that same level of responsibility to ourselves for the things that matter? I’m not saying every single thing you do has to be at that level of a done decision. You can decide, “I was going to go out for lunch with my friend, but I don’t have time.” That’s okay. If it’s something about your business, a responsibility to your child or something that’s going to make a big difference in your life, we owe it to ourselves to make a done decision which has these three properties. One, it’s time-bound. Two, it has an emotion attached to it. Three, you know what’s at stake. It’s something where you’ve identified, “I need to do this because, and that matters to me.” Taking that minute to identify those three things, which I teach you to do in the book, will help you to change your hopeful decisions into done decisions.
Personal integrity has become more of a part of my life. I would do anything to keep promises that I made to other people to the extent that I was working 20 to 22 hours a day but keeping integrity to myself.
It’s not good. I don’t want to say amazing like, “Wow,” because we don’t want to celebrate that. I’m sure you got a lot done, but for readers, we want to be like, “There’s a way to work smart, not hard.”
I want to address that I didn’t get a lot done when you’re working yourself to the bone like that, your productivity crashes.
Thank you for admitting that.
I took three times as long on everything as I possibly did.
You’re reminding me of a dear friend who posted to her social media, “I’m pregnant and running my business. I’m trying to figure out how to make more time for myself because eventually, that’s going to be the time I get to spend with my baby. I have to figure out how to carve out more time. How do I do that? Any tips?” I wrote, “Make the decision.” At the end of the day, every big change in our life starts with the decision to make it. That’s where a lot of people go awry is that they want things to be different in their lives, but they’re not willing, ready, or able to make the decision to make that change. It sounds like at some point, you made the decision like, “I don’t want to live like this anymore. This isn’t even working for me.”
You just named this episode, Make the Decision. Readers, you don’t need to only keep promises to other people. The first person that you need to keep promises to is yourself. I want to thank you so much for coming back for part two. This feels like the best bite-sized chunk that if any reader will go out there now and commit to making the decision to say yes to themselves and following through on those things that they promise to themselves, that would be a first huge win for anybody who is starting this journey.
Also, to realize that there are these practices that are not that hard. You learned a couple of them, results over reasons and busting through limiting beliefs. By learning these mindset practices, you can feel more joyful, empowered, and show up as that bigger version of yourself, which is I know why I started learning these mindset practices and why so many people are adopting them. I love the conversation. To your readers, stay brave and go big, as I always like to say.
You are so welcome, Julia. Make sure to leave a comment down below. Let us know what your biggest a-ha was on this episode. Share the episode on your social media platform so that your friends can enjoy it as well. Julia, thank you so much for joining me again. This has been such a pleasure.
Thanks for having me back on, Kim.
- Episode 713 – The Go Big Mindset: Learn How To Stay Positive In Life With Julia Pimsleur
- Million Dollar Women
- Go Big Now
About Julia Pimsleur
Julia Pimsleur is a scaling coach, mindset expert, speaker and best-selling author. She is the founder of Million Dollar Women, a New York City-based social venture, which has helped thousands of women entrepreneurs scale up their businesses. Prior to that, she founded and built Little Pim, language learning for young children, into a multi-million dollar company.
Pimsleur is the author of the best-selling Million Dollar Women (winner of Axiom Business Book Award) and Go Big Now: Eight Essential Mindset Practices to Overcome Any Obstacle and Reach Your Goals, about getting and keeping the go big mindset. She speaks on entrepreneurship, mindset and building mental resilience. See here for more on her talks or to bring her in as a speaker.
Pimsleur interviews guests and shares go big tips on her live show, CEO Check-In (on IGTV) and on the Million Dollar Mind podcast. Pimsleur lives in New York City with her family and is an avid scuba diver. Her mantra is “Fortune Favors the Brave.”