Are you feeling ‘stuck’ in your work? Do you find yourself saying things like…
“I want to make that move… but…”
“I can’t change… because…”
“If it weren’t for… I would…”
“I have to… because…”
These types of statements point to beliefs that we hold about ourselves. Beliefs influence our behaviour. When we believe something, we act as if it is true. This makes it difficult to disprove as beliefs act as perceptual filters on our world. Events are interpreted through the belief. They are not maps of what has happened, but blueprints for future actions.
Beliefs can be limiting, or they can enable us to take positive steps. Positive beliefs give us permission to turn on our capabilities. These are beliefs that create results. There is an old saying, attributed to Henry Ford: “Whether you believe you can or you can’t do something… You’re right!”
A helpful analogy for understanding the effects of limiting beliefs is the way a frog’s eyes work. A frog will see most things in its immediate environment, but it only interprets things that move as food. This is a very efficient way of providing the frog with food such as flies. Yet, a frog will starve to death in a box of dead flies because they don’t appear as food. Perceptual filters that are too narrow can starve us of good experiences. This is true when we are surrounded by career possibilities, because they are not recognized as such.
It is important to understand that career beliefs can be a matter of choice. You can build beliefs that will make your work more interesting and successful. Positive beliefs allow you to find out what could be true and how capable you are. What beliefs will support you in your goals? Think of some of the beliefs you have about yourself. Are they useful? Are they permissions or barriers? An essential part of being successful is having beliefs that allow you to be successful.
Think for a moment about a belief that has limited you in your work. Write it down. Are there any words such as: ‘but’, ‘can’t’, ‘won’t’ or ‘have to’? Notice what happens if you re-write your phrases as follows:
- Change ‘but’ to ‘and’”
- Change ‘can’t’ to ‘won’t’
- Change ‘have’ to ‘choose’
When you re-write these beliefs with words that imply choice, you begin the process of initiating change. You can then ask yourself whether you need to act on this situation or let it go.
Acting on a career belief can involve:
- Looking for new information
- Getting support
- Confronting a key person
- Clearly stating your needs
- Asking yourself what you are doing that is a problem
- Examining your own commitments
- Changing your behaviour
Letting go of a career belief can involve:
- Asking if the situation is the way it is for a reason
- Asking what you can learn from the situation
- Listening more to others
- Practicing serenity
- Identifying what good can come from this
What now do you choose?
“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.
“Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”
“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did if for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
Need Career Help?
I provide innovative solutions to help people make effective career moves. I welcome you to be a part of the growing body of men and women who are determined to take control of their lives. You are invited to contact me for a “Career Action Plan” session to help you make your next move.
Image of ‘Alice stepping through the looking-glass’ courtesy of Wikimedia