In this blog we consider how deepening our understanding of our beliefs, improves our self-confidence and ability to be successful.
This article combines Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Neuroscience and numerous years of experience helping individuals, teams and organisations to achieve transformational behavioural change.
Having identified our values (our earlier blog, My Personal Values) we now explore how they underpin the impact that we have on others.
The diagram opposite demonstrates how our values drive our beliefs and how they affect our thoughts, emotions and actions. It is important to recognise that our values and beliefs are unique to us. Our life experiences create our own individual map of reality. Everyone else has their own values and beliefs that result in their own unique map of reality. This is often demonstrated in conversations held after a meeting. We filter and interpret what was said and agreed, based on our life experiences and what is important to us. When sharing our reactions and recollections of what was said and agreed, it often appears that we have attended different meetings!
Our beliefs - key principles
1. Our values drive our beliefs:
Please refer to our previous blog, My Personal Values.
2. Our beliefs are based on everything that happens in our life.
Think about something that frightens you, yet you recognise that your fear is irrational. For some this may be a belief that all dogs bite, bees and wasps will sting me, flying is scary…… We know that our belief (fear) is irrational yet we are still terrified. This belief is often rooted in a life experience that we may or may not remember. Or it may be rooted in adults’ reactions that they had to certain events when you were young and you now hold a similar reaction based on their beliefs. Our belief then becomes our reality in our thoughts, emotions and actions and play out unconsciously in how we think, feel and act, in the spur of the moment.
3. Our beliefs keep us safe.
Beliefs keep us safe. We react on impulse, without stopping to consciously think. This can be as simple as walking on a pavement instead of the road. Or not reacting in anger when we receive feedback from a colleague.
4. Our beliefs can help or hinder us.
Beliefs can also become self-limiting beliefs. These hold us back from achieving our true potential. We have developed lifelong habits based on self-limiting beliefs.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right” Henry Ford.
Recall a time when your thoughts, your inner voice, have discouraged you from doing something. It often starts with: I can’t….: I won’t…..; I’ll never….. It’s impossible….
5. Beliefs are our inner voice/ our thoughts that help us to succeed.
Now consider an Olympic athlete and your own approach to competing in sport. Highly successful sportsmen and women not only train to develop their physical body, they consciously focus on their beliefs. They are acutely aware that what they are thinking and saying to them self affects their performance and potential to succeed. To achieve peak performance they bring their thoughts/inner voice into their consciousness and consciously rewrite their script.
So how can I manage myself better to be more confident and successful?
1. You have a choice:
The key to their success is that highly successful sportsmen and women recognise that they have a choice.
You too have a choice:
- to listen to and be influenced by your negative, unhelpful inner voice/thoughts (your beliefs)
× or not.
2: Building confidence and resilience
· Recognise what your inner voice/thoughts (beliefs) are telling you by bringing them into your consciousness
· Reflect on what you are telling yourself/ thinking
· Ask: how helpful is my inner voice/ my thoughts?
o If they are helpful then carry on
o If they are unhelpful, then re write your script with words that are more helpful.
I am preparing to facilitate an Executive Workshop. I am apprehensive and nervous. I consciously stop, listen to myself and reflect on what I am thinking. My inner voice is telling me: “you won’t remember what you’re meant to be saying”; “what possessed you to facilitate this audience”…… and so on. Realising how unhelpful this is I choose to rewrite my script with something much more helpful: “Get a grip. You’ve had great feedback previously, today will be even better”
(This was me many years ago – I am now aware of how destructive my thoughts and inner voice can be. As a result, I am much more resilient and courageous in what I do.)
3. TEA Model: Thoughts, Emotions, Actions
So let’s return to the diagram that highlights how our thoughts, emotions and actions are driven by our values and beliefs.
The TEA model describes how what happens in the inside is directly linked to what happens on the outside.
Thoughts = Our inner voice and pictures we have in our heads
Emotions = Our feelings
Actions = Our behaviours, including body language and tone
In the TEA model we think about a jelly made of three colours. If you wobble one colour in the jelly, the whole jelly shakes. They are all part of a whole. Each colour in the TEA model is linked and when one colour wobbles the other two colours wobble too.
For example, when you’re low in energy and have an important meeting ahead, you realise that you need to be more energised and positive to be your best. You can wobble your jelly by wobbling:
T: Your thoughts/inner voice that are telling you how tired you are – rewrite your script to tell yourself that you are full of energy and raring to go. Notice the changes in your posture (actions) and how more energetic you now feel (emotions).
E: Identify your unhelpful emotion of lethargy and choose to feel more positive. Notice the changes to your facial expression (actions) and thoughts/inner voice.
A: Smile (action) and notice the changes in your thoughts and feelings about the meeting ahead.
If you wobble any part of your jelly and make a change, you’ll get a different result, and that includes a different response from others.
4. Be patient. You are changing beliefs that have been with you for many years. These techniques take at least 6 weeks of persistent practice before you start to change your habits. Don’t give up. Keep practicing and become more aware of how you are reacting and relating to the world around you. YOU HAVE A CHOICE.
Fiona would like to thank her colleague Marian Hubbell for her contribution to this article. Marian is a highly experienced trainer and coach. As a Master Practitioner and accredited Trainer in Neuro Linguistic Programming, communication is her area of expertise, with language patterns being a particular strength. She has trained and coached many professionals, supporting enhanced motivation, confidence and results through improved communication.