Have you ever sabotaged your own sucess?
Steps to Success:
Success’ Believe it or Not.
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”
Last week, we examined beliefs the subconscious rules by which we operate, formed rather haphazardly in our childhoods and then ongoingly supported by biased evidence. These beliefs colour our perception of the world and all we do.
Remembering that whatever we think ‘true’ our subconscious will present, the person who answered last week, ‘life is… a bowl of cherries’ will probably have a very different experience than someone who answered ‘life is… hard.’
Today we’ll be paying particular attention to our limiting beliefs, the rules we adopted that are not serving us now and are holding us back from achieving our highest potential. These limiting beliefs can have detrimental effects that can determine the course of our lives if we’re not aware of them.
Picture, Joe, at an interview for a job he really wants. The panel thinks he’s a really strong applicant but in the back of Joe’s mind he holds a belief that because he didn’t finish college, he hasn’t got enough education. Even though the panel is considering giving Joe the job, and he is really keen for it, it is likely he will do something (even uncharacteristic): say something, or act in such a way as to create doubt in the employers’ minds so they end up choosing someone else.
Not getting the job confirms and reinforces Joe’s belief.
Even if he had been offered the job, his underlying belief may have manifested in anxiety or stress about his performance and he may not have accepted, or if he’d taken the job, his nagging doubt may have stymied him from excelling.
Self-sabotage like this can occur when the outside world (the employers wanting Joe for the job) is incongruent with our subconscious beliefs (Joe doesn’t believe he has enough education to get a great job). We will change our behaviour in order to get the outside world to match our inner perception of it so although we may want something consciously, if our subconscious is not programmed to agree, we won’t allow ourselves to get it. We consider these ingrained beliefs as ‘true’ for us, and our faithful subconscious will do all it can to preserve that ‘truth’.
Are there times in your life when you may have sabotaged your own success?
What beliefs were at play?
For interest’s sake, complete the following sentences with what comes to mind:
Rich people are…
To get money you need to…
If I have money then…
If I won the lottery I would…
Many of us have conflicted beliefs around money. Do you notice any contradictions or possible limitations in your answers here? How does your current bank balance reflect these beliefs you hold?
What do you believe that isn’t helpful? About your health? Relationships? Your work? Your worth?
It can be difficult to recognise our limiting beliefs because we often see them as ‘facts’ ‘this is the way it is’. But surely it is worth questioning our ‘facts’ to be very clear which rules we are living by. And wouldn’t it be great to have the choice of what they are?
It is possible to change a belief. For a moment, look back at some of the things you used to believe but now don’t. Some will be almost laughable. What about that old guy in red who visits around the end of December? Or that teenage feeling ‘that you can actually die of embarrassment?’
So real at the time but something happened in these situations that changed that truth…
Just saying ‘I don’t believe that anymore’ is not enough to alter beliefs rooted in our subconscious with neural pathways reinforced by years of biased evidence. Kathleen Taylor, a neuroscientist at Oxford University says about changing beliefs, “If you challenge them by contradiction, or just by cutting them off from the stimuli that make you think about them, then they are going to weaken slightly. If that is combined with very strong reinforcement of new beliefs, then you’re going to get a shift in emphasis from one to the other.” In other words, not only do we have to shake the belief, discredit it, and agree that you don’t believe it… you also have to replace it with a new belief and build its neural pathways with concrete evidence.
Anthony Robbins has a great analogy, describing a belief as like a table. The conjecture is the table top and the evidence we see, the legs that support it. Weaken those legs with evidence to the contrary, then kick them out from underneath and the table will crack. Replace the top with a new empowering belief and keep building the evidence to strengthen those legs until you have a tree trunk supporting your positive new perception.
As a coach I use questions to challenge a limiting belief. Insert your limiting belief here and test it. I’m going to use Joe’s example of: ‘Because I didn’t finish college I’m not educated enough to get a great job’.
l Who says? (Who says a college degree is the only form of education?) This will question how the belief was formed, what or who may have informed it and whether that is still a reliable/credible source whose opinion is worth living by.
l What would happen if you did/didn’t do that or believe that? (What would happen if you believed you had all the education you needed to get a great job?) This helps us start to see possible alternatives to our current thinking.
l Do you think it’s possible that a person has ever done this/achieved this with similar circumstances? (Has anyone else in the world ever gotten a great job without finishing college?) How is that different from you doing it? This presents hard evidence that the alternative is possible.
l Is this (the belief) true for all people? Do you think that about your mother/child/friend/boss? Why is it true for you? (Your friend gets promoted to manager, should he not take the position because he didn’t attend college?) When we can recognise the harmful effects of such a belief on others, we start to see its effects on us, and the need for change.
l What would be more helpful to believe about this? (‘I believe my skills and experience qualify me for a great job’) We have now loosened the grip of the limiting belief which allows us to build and reinforce a new, positive belief that will better serve us in its place.
It is within your power to choose the beliefs you want to live by. Decide what doesn’t serve you, discredit it with real evidence, create an empowering belief and reinforce it until it becomes your new truth. The only limit to your success is what you believe it to be. Believe better!
Next week… the language of success.
Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner.
For further information telephone 705-7488 or visit www.juliapittcoaching.com.
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