This article previously published on Forbes.

When I talk about inheritance, I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about the beliefs, fears, stereotypes, and habits you were led to believe are yours.

The programming starts early (in utero and throughout childhood). It comes as a flood of messages about who you should be, how you should feel, and what you should do. It never stops. Never. (In fact, it is noisier now than it has ever been.)

If we were to try to conform to all of the messages and the shoulds, we would implode; collapsing into a heaping, sobbing mess of self-loathing. In fact, many people do. They surrender to years and cycles of trying to conform because they are led to believe it’s what they are supposed to do. To aspire to become like something or someone. The truth: You don’t have to be like anyone else.

The secret in doing that is that you have to master the first step required in order to have a life and career of success, happiness, and joy. (All of which is by design.) In order to clear space for the life and work you want, you must first Shed Your Inheritance.  

Our inheritance comes from:

  • Family
  • Social and gender norming
  • Stereotypes
  • Biochemistry
  • Advertising
  • Social Media

What we typically inherit that needs shedding:

  • Fear
  • Stories
  • Rules
  • Internal mantras
  • Physical and chemical (physiological) composition
  • Emotional habits
  • Relationships habits
  • Spiritual or religious beliefs
  • Beliefs about money
  • Beliefs about sex
  • Beliefs about power
  • Beliefs about career
  • Definitions of success

Step one on the journey to Shed Your Inheritance is to identify the stories, rules, and beliefs that need rewriting. Here are some examples from my own life and how I have since rewritten them:

“Earning the money I want means I have to kill myself working crazy hours.”

Rewritten: I will attract the money I want with ease by serving my higher calling.

“Success means I’m always moving up.”

Rewritten: Success means I am constantly learning, growing, and serving a higher purpose.

“I will always have to battle anxiety and depression because it runs in my family.”

Rewritten: By consistently practicing self-care, I live a life free of anxiety and depression.

“Marriage is hard work.”

Rewritten: To love is easy.

Taking the first step is important. The juiciest part of the journey is rewiring your neural networks and letting these new stories sink deep into your soul. That takes time, consistency, and a new way of talking to—and believing in—yourself.

What do you want to shed? What will you replace it with? Look at all the areas of your life and identify what you don’t want to carry forward from your inheritance. Then shed it like your life depends on it.

Because it does.

This article previously published on Forbes.

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