Beliefs are powerful mental filters that can have a significant effect on how you make sense of the world, how you behave, how you feel and how you communicate. Beliefs can be the difference between failure and success, happiness and unhappiness, between being stuck or thriving in your endeavours. They can nourish or destroy relationships, they can interfere with or accelerate progress, they can be the difference between simply existing and living your dreams. In short, beliefs affect absolutely everything!
Now consider this question for a moment- Do you see what you believe or believe what you see?
Most people would think they believe what they see but after a healthy discussion they would realise in general they tend to see what they believe. Think about a time when you felt so sure about something that you believed it to be so right and then all of a sudden you realised you were wrong. During that period of time while you believed you were right, you were blinded. There are millions of people who are blinded by their beliefs that allow themselves to think 'I'm not good enough’, 'I’ll get found out’ or ‘I can’t do it’. These are self-limiting beliefs that will get in the way of achieving outcomes and goals.
In the book ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’, Robert Cialdini talks about the ‘The Rule of Consistency” This is how beliefs hold us down or lift us up. He states that If you believe you can’t, you start acting and speaking like someone who can’t, so you actually can’t. This self-fulfilling prophecy also works in reverse and as Henry Ford said ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you're right.
If your beliefs are serving you well then great, keep on believing them but if they are an obstacle and get in the way then remind yourself that we were not born with them. They have just been inherited over a period of time, they are temporary and you do have the power and choice to change them. My advice is to be the boss and stand up to your beliefs! be in control of them rather than letting them control you. I've been there before and had those moments of doubt where those little voices have crept in and said ‘Adam, you can’t do this’ but when this happens you have to stop what you’re doing and train your brain to out-think those beliefs that hold you back.
I was recently certified as a Belief Change Practitioner and trained in the fantastic French-Burgess 6-Step Belief Change System, which has been designed to illustrate how a person’s belief can allow them to experience and express their full potential or get in the way of this happening. In this blog post I'm pleased to introduce you to the first 3 steps-
Step 1- What’s Your Goal?
Firstly you need to focus on what you DO want to achieve. This establishes the purpose and the context for the belief change to happen. Imagine you have an ‘inner-Google' search for what you do want (‘I do want to be more confident as a coach’) and not what you don’t want ('I don’t want to keep messing up’). Here some questions to help you get focused in the direction of your desired outcome-
- What specifically is the outcome, goal or experience that you do want?
- What will you notice (see, hear, feel) that will tell you that you've achieved it?
- When do you want to achieve this by?
- If 10 out of 10 is the position where you have achieved your goal and out of 10 is that you haven’t even got started on the journey to achieving it, what number best describes how close you are to achieving your goal?
Step 2- The Belief Audit
Now think about your desired outcome and simply allow any thoughts, ideas, assumptions, beliefs and ‘things you think are true’ to bubble up to the surface of your mind freely. You should consider if that thought / belief / assumption is something you feel will help you progress to your goal (smooth the way) or get in the way of your progress. As they come up jot them down in two columns- ‘Helpful’ and ‘Unhelpful’ and once you've done this highlight the most unhelpful belief that you would like to change. An example of this could be ‘I feel like always need to know the right answer’.
Step 3- ‘What Iffing’
This step is all about harnessing the power of ‘what iffing’ and challenging it in a positive direction. Rather than thinking ‘What if it all goes horribly wrong...?’ instead give yourself full permission to counter the chosen unhelpful belief from the last step with as many positive ‘what ifs’ as you can. Some examples of ‘what if’...questions that tend to work for lots of people include ‘What If I can...?, ‘What if is easier than I have been telling myself..? ‘What if I am more than good enough’. The trick to this step is tonality! When you are writing the ‘what if’s’ down say them back in a ‘curious excited’ way. Go wild and don’t hold back, it should be a fun free-flowing experience.
Look out for part two of 'Don't Stop Believin' that will feature the final 3 Steps of French-Burgess 6-Step Belief Change System.