For many people, believing in themselves can be their biggest challenge. Our beliefs act as an on/off switch in our brains yet they are often largely unconscious in that we may not be aware of them. I call these ‘limiting beliefs’. For example, you may have a goal of starting your own business, so you study hard to develop the skills and abilities to enable you to do it well. You visualise that goal every day. You imagine what it will be like – what you will see, hear and feel inside when you have achieved your goal. Yet, if you also have a little voice in your head telling you that you’ll never be good enough to achieve that dream, you are unlikely to have the confidence to ever to get going. And if you do get started, you may well give up when the going gets tough.
Model for Transformational Change – 8 Attitudes for Success
“I am good enough”
In this Attitude we are going to explore how to change these limiting beliefs or fixed ideas that we have about ourselves. Everyone has them; the good news is that they can be changed! So what are beliefs? Our beliefs are views or ideas we have about ourselves, other people and situations that we hold to be true. Like our values, our beliefs are formed early on in our lives. We collect beliefs from those closest to us at that time, such as parents, teachers, church leaders, close family, and any other important people in our lives. For example, my personal upbringing in the East End of London greatly influenced my beliefs about work and money, and, limited my thinking about what was possible for me and my business for many years. The most important thing to understand about beliefs is that they are generalisations that we create from life experiences. Most of us do not consciously decide what we believe. Furthermore, once we have a belief we forget that it can be changed, and it becomes our reality. Now that’s scary.
Changing our scripts
We can take steps to change our beliefs and I’m going to show you how to do this. We’re going to start by noting both the limiting and empowering beliefs you’ve noticed about yourself. If you’re not sure how to get started, think about areas in your life where you are not yet getting the results you want. I guarantee there will be limiting beliefs that are holding you back. What do you think they are? What are the recurring patterns you’ve noticed in your life so far?
Step 1: My limiting beliefs
Examples of limiting beliefs include:
Negations – I’m not capable, I can’t make money, I’m too old, etc.
Comparatives – I’m not good enough
Generalisations – My partners always let me down
All beliefs – I don’t believe I can do it
Have a go at writing down your own limiting beliefs. If you aren’t sure what they are ask those close to you or keep a journal every day and record when you have any thoughts or negative feelings that hold you back in some way – whatever they are. Sometimes bringing these things into your conscious awareness is actually enough for you to realise that it’s time to let them go.
Step 2 – My Empowering Beliefs
Examples of empowering beliefs include:
I’m good at what I do
People like me
I’m a confident person
Next, consider areas where you are getting the results you want. What empowering beliefs are helping you to achieve that? Have a go at writing down these too.
Step 3: My Three Most Empowering Beliefs
Choose your three most empowering beliefs.
Step 4: My Three Most Limiting Beliefs
Next, circle your three most limiting beliefs and ask yourself the cost of failing to let go of these beliefs, in terms of your goals. In other words, if you don’t let them go, how will your goals be compromised? Write down the answers below and be honest with yourself. That wasn’t pleasant was it? It wasn’t meant to be. If we associate enough pain with a situation it often provides the ‘tipping point’, or impetus, for change. You may find that your limiting beliefs have already begun to be shaken up just by being aware of them and recognising the negative impact they have on your life.
Step 5: Changing your limiting beliefs
We are going to work with each of your limiting beliefs in turn. Take your first limiting belief – e.g., ‘I’ll never have a successful relationship’.
When you hear yourself saying these things to yourself or to others check out the following:
What’s my evidence for this?
- What I mean by this is how do you actually know that it is true for you?
Where does this belief come from?
- What I mean is who could have influenced you to believe this?
- Is it an unhelpful ‘hand-me-down’ from a relative or teacher as you were growing up?
Is it real?
- What I mean is can you think of times when it hasn’t been true, and you have counter evidence that you have not noticed until now?
What’s my first step to fix the nagging voice in my head?
- Now you are aware what do you need to do to change this limiting belief?
- What would you like to believe instead?
Find somewhere quiet to relax. Close your eyes and imagine a point in the future when you totally believe in yourself. What will you look like, feel like and sound like when you truly believe in yourself? Now look back from that point in time to where you are at present. Notice how all the events between then and now can and will re-evaluate them in light of your new beliefs about yourself. It’s totally possible! As soon as you take the first step forwards you will begin to reprogramme your future.
Lindsey Agness is a Master Trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming and author of four books on change. Join Lindsey for a day of self-discovery at the Hythe Imperial Hotel on the 23rd June 2018.
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