For years I believed many falsehoods about my situation at work. When I studied NLP, I realised that the challenges I thought I faced weren’t entirely real. They had come about because of the perceptions and filters I was running at the time.
Our beliefs shape our understanding of why things are possible or impossible for us. They provide us with rationale and drive our actions.
‘Beliefs are emotionally held thoughts about ourselves, others and situations. They are not based on fact, but on our perception of events at the time they were formed.
Your brain is an unknown and largely untapped resource. The connections you make and the way you represent memories, ideas and information are unique to you. When you understand the nature of the representations, you begin to have control over your mind and consequently of your experience. What you think is what you are.’ Sue Knight, NLP at Work.
Limiting Beliefs Exercise
You may like to look through the list of the most common limiting beliefs I’ve come across over the last decade or so since I’ve been a coach. Note any that you identify with and ask yourself: Is this belief the absolute truth? Have I tested it, and know for a fact it is true?
My job provides me with more flexibility than I’ll get anywhere else
I’ll never find a job that will accommodate my role as a carer (children / parents) in the way this one does
I’ll never find a job with as good an income as I get now
I can’t be as creative or innovative as I’d like at work
I’m lucky to have this job, even though it’s meaningless
I’m not capable of changing my direction at work
I’m too old to have a new career
I’ll have to start from the bottom if I change career now
Work is stressful and hard
There is no flexibility in how, where or when I work
The most important thing about my work is the money/pension
My dreams and passions have no space
The business I work for doesn’t value what’s important to me
Nothing works out well for me
I am ‘blocked’ by others from doing what I want
I’m not smart enough to do what I want
My boss/colleagues do not appreciate me
No one understands or appreciates me
I don’t have enough money to do what I want to do
I’m not qualified enough to do what I want to do
This job is so full on, I have no ‘me’ time
I couldn’t do the work I’d love with all my responsibilities at home
I’d never earn enough doing what I love
I couldn’t work part time in this job
I have to work long hours to ensure I’m recognised and rewarded
Now that you’ve opened yourself up to the idea that you have some limiting beliefs, feel free to add some more of your own!
When your beliefs are fear-based, their purpose is to keep you safe. Even though they may also be keeping you stuck, don’t judge yourself for them. It’s a natural response when feeling stressed, threatened or some aspect of life feels out of control.
If want to get unstuck and respond to your world in a new way, you could decide to ‘try on’ some new beliefs. It’s easy enough to do. It’s a bit like going into a shop and trying on a bunch of clothes. If you don’t like how the belief looks or feels, you can take it off and either find one that suits you better, or go back to your original belief. Using the first belief above as an example, you could try:
‘There may be other jobs that provide me with the flexibility I need’.
This new belief opens up possibilities where none were available before. Now you can choose to take some actions that will move you beyond your stuckness.
If you’d like some help working out what new beliefs to try on, or some guidance on the next steps, I’d be very happy to work with you. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org