Recently my coaching group decided to look at ways in which their beliefs were keeping them from having the businesses they want. I said to them, “you have what you believe you can have.” A bold statement, it seemed to me, even as I heard it come out of my mouth. I was reminded of Napolean Hill who a long time ago interviewed the most successful people of his time, and came up with some premises upon which most wealthy business owners operated. One of them was, “If you can believe it and conceive it, you can achieve it.”
Why? We tend to do what we believe we can do. We tend not to even attempt things that we do not believe we can do. If you believe skydiving is fatal, you probably won’t do it. If you believe homeschooling your children would be too much work, you won’t try it. If you believe two dogs could never get along in the same house, you will only have one dog.
There is a useful model called “behavior follows belief.” It is a circular model and it asserts that your behavior will always be in alignment with your beliefs AND that the results of your behavior will typically support your beliefs.
So you see that because we so rarely act outside of our beliefs we continue to make them true. We reinforce them on a daily basis. If I believe I only have energy to work 8 hours in a day, then at the end of 8 hours, I’ll go home. I will not be able to see if I do sometimes have more energy. If I believe it’s hard to get clients, it will be hard for me to get clients, and I will not even see it if it is ever easy. I will also act in ways that make it hard.
Most of what we do in life is designed, though often unconsciously, to show we are right about our beliefs. And as you can see by these examples, our beliefs also limit what we can SEE. You will not look for what you do not believe is there. But always more is there than you are seeing.
So when you are stuck, you can ask, “What belief is driving my behavior right now?” If you are having difficulty bringing in new business, you might ask, “What do I believe is the right or best way to bring in new business?”
If you are having a hard time getting cooperation from your children, you might ask, “What do I believe are the right ways to interact with children?”
A belief is just a thought you think over and over. A belief may be true – the sun rises in the East. Or it may not be. Challenge yours. See what changes.