“If you don't change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?” ~Dr. Robert Anthony
All of us have a set of beliefs that guides us through this life we live. These beliefs might be something like “theft is bad” or “with hard work I can achieve anything.” There are, unfortunately, a bunch of beliefs that we do not even realize we have, and these unconscious beliefs tend to shape our behavior. If we are responding to events around us without recognizing the forces that are driving us, it is a recipe for disaster.
We were helping one woman who was struggling with her restaurant. Her husband had just lost his job, and she had to keep the restaurant going as it was now their only source of income to care for their ill son. There was just no other viable alternative.
After working with her for months, I could see that she was a business owner who really wanted to be successful, but she just could not put the pieces together no matter how hard I coached her. In my last conversation with her, I tried to get her to see that in order to make a decent income, she would have to go out and sell her catering services. While we both knew this was her best alternative, she just could not break free to put the plan into practice.
As I was talking to her about this paradox—wanting something to happen but being unable to make it happen—she finally admitted the reason she did not go out and sell more is because she was afraid her staff would think less of her if she was not in the restaurant cooking. I replied, “So you are letting the feelings of your staff determine whether you succeed or not?” A light seemed to go on as she came to the realization that this belief—a belief she had not even known she had—was destroying her business and her life.
As she left our meeting, I could tell she was walking lighter because the burden of that belief had been lifted by exposure. While it is too early to tell how successful she will be, at the very least, she has the opportunity to succeed now that she no longer has an unknown anchor dragging her under.
Another entrepreneur has been struggling for more than five years with flat sales and very little forward progress. When I got to talking with this entrepreneur, he discovered that he had an unknown belief that he did not deserve to be successful. On the outside, he has the appearance of someone who is very aggressive and successful, but his belief is keeping him from truly realizing his potential.
In most cases, beliefs form because they served us well at some point in our lives. However, as circumstances change, some beliefs become obsolete and no longer serve us at all. A great way to ascertain whether an unconscious belief is holding you back is to ask a family member or close friend—someone who can be very candid with you. Typically, once these beliefs are recognized, they dissipate and no longer affect behavior.
No go out and make sure that you and your business are not being held back by a belief that is no longer valid.
You can do this.