By Jay Forte
Discussing a client’s beliefs is frequently a large part of many coaching conversations. After all, beliefs are what direct most of the behaviors we employ in our days.
Our beliefs are developed throughout our lives. They are reflections of our interactions with parents, teachers, neighbors, friends, bosses, fellow employees, churches and organizations. They are also influenced by social media and today’s 24-hour news cycle.
Understanding how our beliefs are developed is important because our beliefs guide us, and they don’t always guide us well. In fact, many of our beliefs are unintentional – we do what we do because we have always done it.
You need to be aware of what you believe, why you believe it and whether or not it improves your life and makes your world better. If so, continue them. If not, assess where your beliefs came from and whether you want to retain them, modify them or discontinue them.
On the morning of the second day of a multiple-day coaching program, I ask my students to reflect on this statement: “When you went to bed last night, the world changed. What worked yesterday but may not be effective today?”
I ask you a similar question. When you went to bed last night, the world changed. Which of your beliefs should you review to see if they no longer serve you?
This question alludes to the existence of limiting beliefs. A limiting belief is something we believe to be true – whether it is or isn’t – that limits our ability to be fully present, effective or able to achieve our potential for our benefit and the benefit of our world.
Here are some examples.
- You may believe that because you are the CEO, you have the right to boss people around – or you can see that old belief is now ineffective in today’s knowledge workplace.
- You may believe that people who drive a specific expensive imported car are snobs, until you meet one who isn’t like that at all.
- You may believe that life has it out for you, until you stop and notice the actual number of great things going on in your life.
- You may believe that all successful people have been to Ivy League colleges, only to see that most of today’s most successful people attended non-Ivy League colleges, if they attended college at all.
Now, what if you examined your beliefs to better understand them and to choose those that both serve to connect you more fully to your potential, while also advancing and supporting others in achieving their potential? Which beliefs would you retain and which would you release? A good belief review and editing session is an important and recurring part of all effective self-awareness.
Nothing stays the same. Life is about change. That means to accommodate and use change well, check in regularly on the things that guide you. Be flexible and resilient to live life fully, kindly, successfully and with great intention. Commit to developing beliefs that allow you to be who you really are so you can bring to the world those very things you are capable or called to do.
Don’t be afraid to challenge or release beliefs that no longer serve you. Believe what you believe on purpose, not out of intimidation, fear or compliance. Own what you believe so you live as your true self. Don’t let anyone tell you or fill in your beliefs for you. Consider what you hear from your world then choose and own what is right for you.
This is the key to living an authentic, impactful and world-improving life. You can’t make your impact in life if you live someone else’s beliefs.