Are Mixed Messages Blocking Your Success?…John Page Burton

Are mixed messages blocking your success? All of us send mixed messages and most of us are unaware of how much time we spend contradicting ourselves. Sending mixed messages means that our actions are not in alignment with what we “say” we desire. Each time we send a mixed message we are effectively blocking the receptive energy necessary to achieve what it is we say we want. In other words, we are sabotaging our success one contradiction at a time. Mixed messages almost always include the word BUT. The word BUT usually precludes an EXCUSE or a JUSTIFICATION. Here are some examples of the types of mixed messages many of us send. ” I really want to lose 30 pounds BUT with my schedule fast food is my only option”. “I can’t seem to find a suitable life partner” BUT I’m just not ready to leave the friendly confines of my one bedroom apartment”. “I don’t have enough money left to pay all my bills BUT who could pass up a sale like that”. Mixed messages show up in our relationships. “I think we should just be friends BUT I will still call you everyday”. “We shouldn’t live together until we get married BUT it would be great if we could sleep together seven nights a week”. “I hate you” BUT It’s only because I really love you”. “I want you to pack up your things and leave BUT your welcome to stay for dinner”. Mixed messages show up in our career and business. “I will do whatever it takes to get this company up and running BUT don’t ask me to give up my hobby”. “I sure would like to get that promotion at work BUT I’ll be darned if I’m coming in on a Saturday”. We do it in our spiritual practice. “I know that God won’t deliver more than I can handle BUT this seems to go above and beyond what a person should have to endure”. “I have faith that things will work out BUT it sure would be nice to see a positive sign every once in awhile”. “I love going to church BUT it really doesn’t fit into my schedule during football season”.

Mixed messages have the potential to unleash damaging emotions such as jealousy, anger, frustration and guilt. We can avoid a great deal of heartache by being more mindful of the mixed messages we may be sending to others as well as the ones we may be receiving.

Below are three strategies to help us become more aware of and breakthrough our “habit” of sending mixed messages.

1. Take ACTION. Do our actions support or reject what we say we desire? For example, if we desire to lose weight it is important to examine our current habits. With few exceptions, overweight people tend to consume more calories than they burn. Talking about losing weight and actively designing and sticking to a food and exercise plan are two different things. When we become a person of ACTION we leave little room for contradictions that show up in the form of excuses and justification.

2. Practice EXPLICIT communication. It is important to say what we mean and mean what we say. This is one of the most fundamental ways to eliminate mixed messaging. People who routinely send mixed messages tend to LACK CONVICTION. They don’t want to “hurt someones feelings” or “rock the boat”. The hallmark of “explicit” communication is CLARITY. Everyone involved in the conversation knows where we stand. On the other hand “implicit” communication leads to a never ending “guessing game”. Implicit communicators expect everyone around them to instinctively know why they are unhappy or frustrated. Their operating principle is that “they shouldn’t have to say anything” because “if you really cared, you would get it”. They routinely say one thing while acting in an entirely different manner. Welcome to the “super bowl” of mixed messaging!

3. Eliminating the word “BUT” from our vocabulary. Every time we use the word “BUT” we are running for our “chicken exit”. “I would love to learn more about your opportunity BUT”, (here comes the excuse) “that sounds great BUT”, “I would love to join you BUT”, “I would love to go out with you BUT”, “that sounds fabulous BUT”…blah,blah,blah. When we begin monitoring our use of the word “BUT” we will be able to see how readily we have used “BUT” to justify our lack of conviction. Many of us have been on BUT “auto pilot”. Explicit communicators rarely use the word “BUT”.

My hope is that you will find these strategies helpful as you move forward. Most of us will find that as we send fewer and fewer mixed messages our success receptors open up more and more. Before we know it we are playing our biggest game ever!!!

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

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