We all have beliefs and values. We use them all the time. But how well do we understand what they are and how they can serve us (or not)?
Beliefs are statements about what we believe to be true. They’re not facts. Our beliefs are influenced by the environment we’ve grown up in and the people we surround ourselves with. For example - family, culture, religion, peers, where you live, your job and so on.
We (that’s you and I) create our beliefs. That means if you’ve got a belief that’s not serving you, you can change it.
Let me say that key point again … you create your beliefs and that means if you’ve got a belief that’s not serving you, you can change it.
Here are some examples of beliefs that people I’ve met have wanted to change:
- I can’t learn
- I’m not good with directions
- I can’t remember names
- I always fail tests
- I’m not good enough
Mary dreams of being a nurse. To become a nurse Mary needs to do a course and she’ll have to do many assessments and exams. If Mary believes she can’t learn and always fail tests, how likely is she to follow her dream of being a nurse? Not likely.
In this situation there are two limiting beliefs (1) she can't learn, and (2) she fails tests.
Let’s say Mary has a driver’s licence, I’d ask her about learning to drive. What did she do? Did she get anyone to help them? Was she good at driving right from the start? And so on. These questions are designed to help Mary understand she's learnt before.
“Success leaves clues” (Anthony Robbins)
Mary can learn because she's learnt before. The key is for Mary to understand how she did that and to apply it in this situation.
And by the way, to get a driver’s licence you need to sit a test. As Mary's got a licence she's also passed a test. That’s the two limiting beliefs busted. Remember beliefs aren't facts; they are things we believe to be true.
Beliefs are super powerful. They can work for you or against you. It’s your choice.
Values are our preferences and priorities, they are important to us. We all have them and we use them all the time. They are the purpose and motivation behind our actions, help us filter what we experience, and guide us to make decisions. We have values for life, relationships, work, raising children, our home and in so many other contexts.
Values are intangible. You can’t touch them but have you ever noticed how doing something just didn’t feel right or somebody said something that makes you cringe?
When I’m doing something that’s out of alignment with my values I often get sick. That’s because I feel out of kilter so I don’t sleep well and then I don’t eat or exercise as well as I usually would. The pattern continues and I get sick.
Knowing your values helps you to understand why you react to things in a certain way. Values are often at the heart of tension or conflict. Remember values are personal, so if someone is doing or saying something that doesn’t align with your values you’ll, to some degree, be offended or upset.
We also put our values into a hierarchy, usually without even realising it. The more important a value is to you the more you’ll respond when you’re in alignment or react when you’re out of kilter.
Grab a pen and your book. Write down the beliefs you have about yourself. Allow your thoughts to flow.
Here are some examples of beliefs (that may or may not be relevant to you)…
- I’m capable of learning
- I’m unlovable
- I’m not good enough
- I’m determined and have ‘stickability’
Once you’ve written down as many beliefs as you can think of, at least 10-12, take a look over them. Beside the beliefs that are serving you well put a tick. The ones without a tick may, or may not, have been useful at one time but aren’t any more. What will you replace them with?
E.g. you might choose to replace “I’m not good enough” with “I’m more than enough”.
Now things aren’t going to change overnight. As well as writing down your new beliefs, put them somewhere where you’ll see them often. Read them, say them out loud. Imagine yourself living them. If you find yourself thinking an old belief, rather than get growly with yourself, acknowledge the thought and say something like “thanks but I choose to believe I’m xyz”.
Allow plenty of time for this exercise, at least an hour. Grab a pen and a piece of paper. Once you’ve gone through all the steps write your values and the descriptions into your book. To help you get started, go to the end of the exercise to see some of my values.
Values for your life
- Write down all the words that come to mind when you read this question – “What is important to me in my life?”
- Think of a time when you were really excited about your life, what was important to you then?
- Imagine that all of the values you’ve written down are being met, is anything missing?
- If you’ve got more than 8 values written down, take a look at them and see if there are some common themes – group these words together and replace them with just 1 word.
- Looking at each of the values, which one is most important to you? Put the number 1 beside it. Continue through all of the words until you’ve put them in order of importance to you. Have another look. Are you happy with the sequence? If not, go through the values again and sequence them. If you are, carry on with step 6.
- For each value write a brief description (definition) of what they mean to you. The descriptions are for you. If someone else reads them, they may not understand and that’s because it’s your description.
Here are some of my values.
- Passion – I live authentically, doing what inspires me and aligns with my values.
- Flexibility – I make choices about what I do and when. I’m not constrained by a set start and finish time for work, or doing a certain number of hours each day.
- Learning – every moment of every day is a learning opportunity. Learning can be formal or informal, big or small. It’s trying something new and it not turning out the way I wanted it to and knowing what I’d do differently next time.
- Fun – laughter, a good laugh each and every day reminds me of everything I’m grateful for and that I live a blessed life.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me by email.
Live your life as only you can. Your life, your way. – Tracey x