Lets talk about beliefs for a second. As a basic definition, a belief is a thought we keep on thinking, and we’ve thought it so many times that it feels like a fact. If you remember that a fact is something that everyone in the world would agree on, then you will see that a belief is not a fact. A belief is a thought.
In some cases, our beliefs are thoughts that we love and we want to keep (For me, one of these is “It’s important to love your family unconditionally”). This is a beautiful thought that I love. It’s hard for me to believe that not everyone in the world agrees.
In other cases, our beliefs are not as helpful. Just like a bad habit, it’s worth it to notice they exist and get curious about them. If you want to, you can change the ones you don’t like. The first step involves knowing.
I’m not here to tell you you have to change your beliefs. Your beliefs are yours to keep and treasure. I am here to tell you it’s really worth your time to discover your beliefs and decide with intention which ones you want and which ones you don’t.
In my experience coaching people about their work, I have heard a lot of beliefs that are not serving us. In fact, they are holding us back. Lets take a look at some I hear most often.
- I’m just not a technical person.
- I can never keep up with everything on my list.
- I have always been a little slow to learn something new.
- If I want to get to the next level, then I have to work a ton of extra hours.
- If I want to earn a lot of money, I have to compromise on what’s important to me.
- I’m just not good at doing [the thing].
- I’m not a good communicator.
- There isn’t enough time in the day to complete all the work.
- This is all so overwhelming.
- I’m not the kind of person that can let that go.
- I could never change that about my personality.
- I’m not being negative, I’m just telling the truth.
- If I want it done right, I have to do it myself.
- I try to plan ahead but then everything just blows up and I have to change my plans.
- I could never be one of those “executive types”.
- That will never work, we’ve tried it before.
What do you believe about yourself in the context of your work? Take a minute and really think about this. What have you said about yourself to other people? Grab a blank piece of paper and answer those questions. Write down as many thoughts as you can. Fill a page. Included the good and the not so good beliefs. With this exercise you are trying to notice your habits. Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you to finish…….
When you look at the list you just wrote down, how are you feeling? If you’re feeling amazing about your beliefs – that’s fantastic. Most of us that do this exercise don’t feel amazing though. When we take a look at the beliefs we’ve allowed our habitual brains to think, many of us are surprised how negative they are. (It’s just because we are human)
Just a warning: You may not agree with me on this next point. What you just experienced is a wonderful thing. It’s wonderful, because now you recognize that beliefs are thoughts, and when you see what thoughts your mind is offering you, you can use that information to decide what you want to do next and things will start to change for you.
Remember, your thoughts are optional, and a belief is just a thought you keep on thinking.
Take a look at one of the beliefs on the list above. Lets pick it apart. What is the actual fact? Could you consider another option?
Belief: “I’m not a good communicator”.
The fact is: You are a human being that says words.
Consider: What do you WANT to believe about that? Do you want to believe that your words are valuable, important, worth hearing, understandable, clear? If your current thought is “I’m not a good communicator”, and you don’t like that belief, then you’ll have to dig a little deep and find a way to change that habitual thought.
Getting there: You can’t just jump to thinking an affirmation like “I’m an amazing communicator” because your brain won’t believe it and it will argue with you. You have to bridge your way there and it takes some time. Look for evidence to the contrary: “When did I communicate well?”. Get curious about what your future could look like and practice thinking “I am willing to consider that I could be a good communicator some day” Whatever new thought you pick, make sure it’s a step towards the goal, and that your brain believes it. Practice thinking the new thought for a while (weeks), and then take another step. “I’m practicing becoming a good communicator” and “I’m learning about good communication”. Keep going.
Get curious. Why do you currently believe what you believe? What do you want to keep? What do you want to let go of?
No self judgement my friend. Just be curious. You are starting to notice your very human brain that is 100% lovable and worthy. What beliefs does it have? What beliefs do you want to build? Pick one and work on it.
The coaching that I do helps people to see their beliefs and pick them apart. If you want help with this, please reach out. You won’t regret it.
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