Events in our lives establish our beliefs. Our beliefs impact our actions. Our beliefs impact our leadership acumen. Two events established beliefs that I have occasionally held about myself and others. The first event takes me back to my middle school days.
As I was walking down the hall during a passing period, I saw out of the corner of my eye a teacher moving quickly toward me. Out of the blue, he grabbed my arm and threw me against the wall. My books fell and immediately I noticed my head had been traumatized. I recall having fun with my friends walking down the hall and I was hardly a boy that was without mischief, yet to be thrown against the wall seemed extreme.
The second event was the neighborhood bully. Many of you have been there before. What started out as friendship turned sour when he started taking friends away and leaving me in the dust. This happened on more than one occasion and at the time this was very upsetting.
The theme or belief that I have had to work through – “people turn on you without notice.” As I have matured, this belief has had less of an influence on my life. Thankfully! Yet, sometimes that voice will whisper in the back of my mind.
Review the graphic below – things happen to us or around us (Stimulation) – this leads us to evaluate (Assessment) the situation – then we respond (Action). Typically our assessment is usually wrong. In cognitive theory, there is truth and what we perceive to be true.
Let’s take the above scenario through the test – Just because those two individuals “turned on me” does not mean that the remainder of people in life will turn on me.
Here is a process you can go through to evaluate your beliefs:
Step #1: Read through the list of beliefs below and select 2 – 3 beliefs you currently hold in each category. DO NOT JUDGE whether they are true or not at this time.
1.) Beliefs Of The World:
- Belief that the world is a safe place or unsafe place
- Belief that the world is out to get you
- Belief that the world is moving towards catastrophe
- Belief that only the strong survive
- Belief that there is scarcity of resources
- Belief that there is an abundance of resources
- Belief that you and your business are limited
2.) Beliefs Of Self:
- Belief that you are ok
- Belief that you are bad
- Belief that you are not lovable
- Belief that you have to do more for others to be liked / loved
- Belief that you do not have what it takes
- Belief that you have what it takes
- Belief that you have to earn people’s respect
- Belief that you are in process
- Belief that you are enough
- Belief that you can lead and inspire
- Belief that you can find a cause that improves society
- Belief that your business and team can flourish
3.) Beliefs of Others:
- Belief that others are out to get you
- Belief that people will turn on you
- Belief that people are good
- Belief that people are bad
- Belief that people truly care about the same things
- Belief that you have to do everything
- Belief that you have to stay in control
- Belief that I have to do something my way or it won’t be right
Step #2: Evaluate your beliefs using the last 90 days as a test to determine whether the beliefs are indeed true. For example: If your belief is that others are out to get you …How often have you experienced people coming after you in the past 90 days?
Step #3: What part of your story were these beliefs instilled?
Step #4: Replace the current false belief with an accurate belief. For example: Instead of believing that people are out to get you REPLACE with move toward people that are looking to connect, build trust and build relationship.
What does all this have to do with leadership?
1.) Beliefs About Others: Your beliefs about others will influence your action toward them. This is about your bias as a leader. We all have bias. Your bias may hinder you from being objective and making a clear decision.
You may have a belief that people cannot reach their potential or that you have low expectations of people. All of these beliefs hinder you ability to lead well.
Based on the belief audit you completed above, which beliefs about others hinder your influence?
2.) Beliefs About Self: You cannot lead well, with a belief about yourself that is limiting, critical or false. What you believe about yourself will greatly impact your ability to influence others.
3.) Belief About The World: Your ability to inspire your team, will be influenced by your views of the world. If the world is unsafe to you, then fear may permeate your leadership. If the world is full of opportunity and abundance, then inspiration and potential will cover all that you do.
“The ancestor to every action is a thought.” Ralph Waldo Emerson