Are You Trapped In This Imaginary Cage?

Mohini was a regal white tiger who was the first of her species to come to the United States. This being pre-Siegfried and Roy times, her striking snowy white coat with black and dark brown stripes was unlike anything people in the U.S. had ever seen.

And she was feisty beast too. While being presented to President Eisenhower in 1960 she roared and lunged toward him (while in her travel cage) making the President noticeably recoil at her fierce display.

After all the pomp and circumstance, Mohini went to live at the National Zoo in Washington DC. Despite her celebrity status, for many of her years there her home was the old Lion House where she perpetually paced around her 12 by 12 foot cage with iron bars and a cement floor.

Not happy with the conditions their star attraction was relegated to, the National Zoo built a new enclosure for Mohini. This new expansive space resembled a tiger’s native habitat covering several acres filled with hills, vegetation and a large pond for her to swim in.

When the day arrived for Mohini to be released into the enclosure, a large crowd gathered at the zoo expecting to see her happily bound around her new digs. The crowd, however, went home disappointed.

Because upon release into her new habitat Mohini headed straight for a perimeter wall at the edge of the enclosure. And there she remained for most of her life perpetually pacing – eventually wearing down a 12 by 12 foot patch in the grass.

Now if you think this post is about our own limiting beliefs which hold us back… you’re wrong. While that is a battle we all fight, this post is about something even worse.

What is it? I’ll give you some examples using things I’ve heard business owners say recently.

I’m not interested in AdWords cuz my brother-in-law who’s “good with computers” says it doesn’t work.

I see all my competitors on Facebook and Twitter so I guess that means I need to focus my efforts there.

“Everyone” knows direct mail doesn’t work anymore. You should only invest in marketing on the Internet.

So did you guess what’s worse than letting your own limiting beliefs hold you back?

It’s when you let the limiting beliefs of OTHERS box you in and limit what you do to move your business forward.

What assumptions about marketing (or any aspect of your life for that matter) are you making based on the uninformed, untested, or unproven thought patterns of others?

Now I’m not telling you to never listen or follow the lead of others. But when you do, go in with your eyes wide open and make sure they are someone truly worth listening to or following.

I recently heard a highly successful marketer give some advice to a young pup trying to start his first online business… “Imitate, then innovate.”

So yes… if you see someone who is successful (and you KNOW they truly are successful… not just someone blowing hot air up your shorts or trapped by their own biases, lack of knowledge or misery) then by all means study what they’re doing and incorporate as much as you can into your own marketing.

But even if you find those people worth imitating, don’t just stop there. Don’t limit yourself.

Because that’s just a starting point. Once you get some traction based off of imitating them it’s time to INNOVATE. Test new ideas, concepts and strategies to break out and through so you can move on to bigger and better things.

We handicap ourselves enough battling (or being oblivious to) our own limiting beliefs. Don’t let the limiting beliefs of others lock you in an imaginary cage and further limit what you are capable of accomplishing!