By: Carter Williams, Director of Xperience Growth Coaching & Consulting
How many times have we heard the old cliche “you are what you eat.” Thousands, right? Many of us believe this to be true. With this belief, we make decisions on what to eat because we’d rather BE an apple as opposed to an apple pie.
What if I also told you that we really are what we believe.
On the surface, a belief is simply a conviction that you trust as being true. It goes much deeper in us than that. Our beliefs influence our thoughts and our feelings and those both influence our behavior and physiology. If our thoughts, feelings and behaviors make us who we are and our beliefs guide those, then we truly are what we believe.
Let’s look at how this works. In school, if you fail a math test, you might believe that you’re no good at math. The flip is, if you ace the math test, you might believe that you’re really good at math. Looking at it logically, is the fact that you fail a test automatically mean you’re bad at it? No. Yet, it’s very natural for us to develop that belief.
Recently, I was doing a group call on this topic and asked the group who is good at math and bad at math. Lot’s of hands went up for the belief that they are bad at math. I then announced we were having a public math quiz on the call. The “bad at math” believers experienced fear and felt stress around answering problems like 14+12. Clearly, their performance of simple math problems was affected. The people on the call that believe they are good at math were okay about doing the math and didn’t experience the same hindrances in solving the problems. The math was the same, the experiences were different!
Why do our beliefs mess with us like that? Master NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Trainer Dr. Matt James says that when something shows up in our world, our unconscious mind runs the play externally that is associated with your belief of that situation. What that means is that if you believe you’re no good at math, then when put in a situation to do math, you will go into a stress response, typically fear or frustration. Fear & frustration hinder you from being at your best, which can lead to results being not as good as they could be.
How do we change a belief that limits us or is working against us? First, we must realize that a belief is only a “conviction we trust as being true.” That does not make it actually true. The first step to belief change is letting go of the old belief.
To do this, we must change how we experience the situation or experience the belief. Ask yourself this question: “how would you know that the belief is not true?” In other words, what evidence would you need to experience that would shatter your trust in the conviction? Decide on that experience and visualize what you look like, sound like and feel like – both emotionally and physically. Create an immersive visualization and practice it constantly until your conviction is gone or your grip on it is loose.
The second step is to do whatever activity that will lead to you achieving the result in your visualization. As an example, if you want to change an old & limiting belief that your database will not lead to business, first you visualize what it would look like, sound like, feel like physically and emotionally to have a phone conversation with someone in you database that was excited to work with you. Once the old belief is no longer ruling you, make calls to your database so you can create a new experience getting wins. This new experience will start to form a new belief in you.
By letting go of old beliefs and creating new ones, we can change the results that we get in business for sure. Our stress levels decrease. And, our lives become much more “Xperiential.” After all, we are what we believe.