When I started writing this blog article, I had a whole different context in mind. It was the start of a new year and we were looking ahead to see what could be achieved.
In the last couple of weeks everything has changed!
Now, with the reality of Covid-19, people are worried and concerned about what lies ahead. With that in mind my original planned topic of Beliefs seems even more appropriate than when I first started to put pen to paper. For example, if your belief is founded in scarcity – that shops will run short of supplies – the resulting behaviour is panic buying. Contrast that with a belief founded in abundance – that there will be enough to go around and everyone will get their share – the resulting behaviour is only buying what’s needed.
Beliefs influence our decisions and our decisions determine our behaviours. This newsletter will help you understand how to manage your beliefs and mindset, particularly when you’re in challenging times. If you need someone to talk to, please just pick up the phone. Isolation does not need to be isolating.
We all have a unique set of beliefs, accumulated over time through our lives and experiences.
Many people have limiting beliefs about themselves. This is often because of something they were told years before that stuck in their minds, replaying at times of uncertainty. That phrase keeps reminding you that they were right – you can’t do that thing.
Often it was a teacher or family member who said something flippantly, like: “You’re just not good with numbers,” or “You’ll never be a success because you’re always late”. Little did they know the negative impact their words made.
Since then, that’s become your belief – you’re not good with numbers, or your tardiness prevents you from running a business, even though you’ve not been late for the past ten years.
Your own negative inner dialogue gets in the way when you’re goal setting, too. I’ve noticed this with my clients already this year; we’re only a couple of months into 2020 and people are putting pressure on themselves, saying what they ‘should’ be doing, ‘ought’ to be doing, making it sound as though they don’t have a choice.
My clients tell me that they believe they should be setting goals for the year ahead. They had good intentions to ‘reset’ themselves at the start of the year and then those negative beliefs started to creep in, and the pressures grew. Does that sound like you too?
Helpful and Unhelpful Beliefs
Some beliefs are good; they support our values and help us move forwards in life. It’s the limiting beliefs that are unhelpful, because they constrain us almost as a protective measure.
A good example of how limiting beliefs can be protective is when you’re doing something in front of others, like public speaking. If you believe you’re no good at public speaking, you tell people you’re not good at it so that no-one asks you to go on stage. Great! Now you don’t have to worry about what people think of you. On the other hand, if you decide to face your fears and do what you’ve been asked, you worry that you’ll be asked to do it again.
All this perpetuates the problem, and that can prevent you from moving on in your career or progressing your goals.
Thankfully, beliefs can be changed.
Filtering Out the Limiting Belief
When you’re asked to do something, your answer is filtered through your beliefs. As a coach, I am listening out for those filters in your responses. If I were to ask the same question to ten different people, I would get ten different answers – all filtered through their individual beliefs.
A coach will help you work out which beliefs are helpful and which are hindering. We ask a specific question and clients will answer, “Yes, but … I can’t do that because …” I can then hear that limiting belief loud and clear, usually about capability – having the skills to work on that project or fulfil that request. Other limiting beliefs I frequently hear include not having enough time, or not having permission to do that thing. Sound familiar?
Henry Ford is famously attributed for saying:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
In other words, you determine your own success or failure. If you believe you can do something, you’ll see what’s needed to get you there. You’ll find the tools within yourself, often with help from a coach. And if you think you can’t do a thing, you’ll find all the ways to stop yourself from doing it.
Your brain, or rather your subconscious, is designed to prove your belief is right by corroborating whatever you believe to be true. If you’re telling yourself you cannot do something, your subconscious will be looking for ways to confirm that. So, if you always tell yourself that there’s never anywhere to sit in your favourite café, the next time you’re there you won’t notice the people about to leave; you’ll leave and miss out on enjoying your favourite lunch, coffee or cake.
Limiting beliefs are often wild generalisations. We all know someone who often says, “It’ll never work, something will go wrong.” Right? That’s when we need to have discussions on alternative scenarios, exploring options that will make things work.
Another limiting belief is about the behaviour of others: “My boss always criticises me.” Your subconscious has forgotten the times when you were thanked for a job well done. Instead, you treat the limiting belief as a truth and avoid doing something thinking that you’ll be criticised.
Identifying Limiting Beliefs
Breaking past and unlearning those limiting beliefs takes work, which is where coaching helps. Coaches ask empowering questions to help you learn to do the same for yourself in the future. Questions like this one from the Goal Mapping workshop: “What have you always wanted to achieve and been afraid to attempt?”
Once you’ve identified those limiting beliefs, such as: “I don’t do numbers,” then you’ll be able to look at your cash flow with a clearer mind. Especially if you arrange to sit down with someone who can explain it clearly to you, negating that message from your teacher all those years ago that destroyed your confidence.
Managing your Mental Resilience over the Next Few Months
Recently I have had calls with clients who have really valued having someone with whom they can work though their concerns and worries and to help them get their confidence back. Especially whilst working from home, where they may only have a partner or spouse to talk to, they don’t want to burden them so I can provide an objective, safe space in which to work through all their “What ifs?”
Now more than ever is the time to work with a coach. Coaching will help to strengthen your mental resilience for you to manage the uncertainty in the coming few months, to manage resources in fast changing circumstances and to know that there’s a friendly ally you can turn to for confidential and objective decision making. This is especially important for my executive coaching clients and business owners and leaders. Indeed, for anyone in a position of responsibility for others.
Self-isolation or social distancing are opportunities for personal development. That is far more valuable than binge watching box sets to pass the time! So if you’re struggling with a sense of isolation in the coming weeks or want something meaningful to add into your day, click here to access my online diary and book a chat or phone call.
If you’d like a reminder of how to cope with change, you might like to refer back to the previous article “C is for Change”. The link will take you directly to the blog.
Online Coaching and Training
All my coaching and training work, including group workshops, is being delivered online. If you would like a one to one session, that can also be carried out over the phone if you prefer. I’ve been using online platforms and phone sessions for 11 years with great results for long distance clients, so make the best of your isolation time!
As always, do get in touch if you’d like any assistance, advice or simply a catch up. I’d love to hear from you. Call 07766 004964 or click here to email me.