Are Your Beliefs Serving You? — Lionesses of Africa

by Kathy Mann

My area of expertise is stress management. However, I don’t focus on the typical lifestyle interventions that many others focus on: deep breathing, exercise and meditation. These certainly work and I incorporate them into my own life as part of my stress management strategies, but this is only part of the picture.

My focus is on beliefs and I do this for two reasons. Firstly, research shows that what we believe about stress impacts our health, happiness, wellbeing and even our longevity. Secondly, beliefs drive behaviours, and behaviours drive outcomes. Indirectly, what we believe affects our success, wealth and happiness. Consider the following questions: 

  • What do you believe about yourself?

  • What are you capable of?

  • What do you believe about your ability to succeed?

  • What do you believe about stress?

There are researchers who dedicate their careers to study how our beliefs impact our lives. Dr Alia Crum has done fascinating studies showing that what we believe impacts how our body metabolises food, how depressed we are and how much hope we have. Greg Walton from Stanford University did amazing work around the belief of not belonging. His one-hour intervention impacted the behaviour of students for several years. Not only that, but it affected their outcomes in terms of grades, extra-curricular and class participation. One might think that changing our beliefs is difficult but it is possible and often easier than we expect. With the right mix of openness and new knowledge, we can shift our thinking towards healthier beliefs which serve us better. 

I’ve noticed that my own beliefs about my business have an impact on my outcomes in strange ways. Services that I know come easily to me and that I enjoy, tend to attract clients easier than those where I’m less sure of myself. I’ve offered services for free to test their viability and even with positive feedback, I struggle to sell them. I suspect that deep down, I’m still unsure of whether they are effective. Belief in what we offer and our capability to serve our customers impacts how we sell. On a subconscious level, customers pick up on our doubts that the product is of value or of our belief that we can offer the service effectively. We often focus exclusively on our marketing to acquire new business but it might also serve us to address the beliefs we hold about ourselves, our offerings and our business. 

So how do we fix limiting beliefs? The first step to any meaningful change is awareness. Start listening to your thoughts and picking up on your beliefs. The best time to do this is when you have experienced a loss, a disappointment or when you have made a mistake. This is often the time when our most limiting beliefs emerge. As soon as you uncover one, write it down. Methods of addressing these limiting beliefs include journaling about them while challenging the belief and looking for evidence to dispute it as well as asking a trusted friend or partner about their views on the topic. Business and life coaches are particularly skilled and effective at identifying these limiting beliefs and addressing them. 

What are your limiting beliefs and how are they holding you back from being your best self? 

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