Everything we think we see on the outside is a projection of our thoughts.
As I worked my way up my career ladder, there came a moment when I realized I’d need to be able to delegate. I felt stuck as I had told myself that “I’m no good at delegation”, relishing in the faulty belief that I could do “X” better/faster/easier myself.
We all tell ourselves stories, some of which support us and some that don’t serve us too well. “I’m no good at delegation” is a fine example of a story that wasn’t serving me too well, and had the potential of stalling my career growth. What I needed to do was reframe my belief about “deficiency in delegation” to one that was more self-affirming, more likely to get me moving onwards and upwards in my career.
A knowledgeable mentor introduced me to the principle that “everything we think we see on the outside is a projection of our own thoughts.” To this day I find this principle helpful as a tool to help me reframe beliefs that may be holding me back. For example:
If I believe I’m going to get bad service in my local coffee shop, then I may enter the coffee shop with a slight scowl on my face. Which in turn may get me a scowl from the barista. Which makes me scowl even more at the cashier, who then scowls when they take my payment. You get the picture.
Here’s a technique I learned from Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is that always helps me reframe my stories to more self-affirming ones. Try these four questions the next time you catch yourself churning out a self-limiting belief:
- Is this “story” true?
- Do you absolutely know this “story” is true?
- What is your reaction when you think this “story?”
- How would you feel without this “story”?
If we can be honest when we answer the first two questions, we often find our belief is just a story we’ve been telling ourselves (sometimes for a very long time). The third question helps us realize what our belief gets us. And the fourth question illuminates the possibilities of feeling better without the story.
Byron’s technique can also help us “reframe” a belief into a more positive, more self-affirming story. To do this we need to choose several phrases to turn the belief upside down. Using my faulty belief that “I’m no good at delegation” as an example, I created several new beliefs for myself such as: “I’m a natural at delegation. The more I delegate, the more productive I am. Delegation makes me a better leader.” In fact, the old proverb of “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” began to have real meaning for me.
Changing our long-held beliefs isn’t easy and takes some work. Several of my coaching clients like to work specifically on reframing their beliefs to more self-affirming beliefs and why not? If we can shift any self-limiting beliefs (e.g. I can’t; I’m not worthy; I’m unlovable) into self-affirming ones (I can; I’m valuable; I’m lovable), we can be unstoppable!