A common theme during my discussions with women during our business coaching sessions are the beliefs they hold about themselves that are holding them back. So often we are unaware of our beliefs and the impact that these have on all areas of our lives. For example:
“Women like me don’t…”, “I am not management material…” “I am unlucky”
The problem is, holding onto these stultifying old beliefs can really rob you of your dreams, annihilate your self-esteem and damage your productivity.
When we examine our self-beliefs we often find that most of our negative beliefs are not even ours to start with. They have been passed onto us from our family, friends and other circumstances.
The great news is how quickly we begin to see change once the belief has been identified and challenged.
Jane’s (one of the women I have been coaching) belief was “I am not a ‘good’ wife or mother”?
This is not an uncommon feeling, in my experience. We all lead busy lives and many of us feel that we are sometimes putting our work before our families. A combination of a busy life and a perception of comments that had been made to her had led to Jane’s defining belief and she looked for evidence that supported that thinking. This belief meant that she felt inadequate in the way she ran her personal life and her business, constantly berating herself that she was now neither ‘good mother’ or effective business woman.
What does being a ‘good’ wife or mother mean? Through discussion we found Jane was comparing herself against the perceived lives of other mothers. That she felt that examples of what a good wife or mother would do were to cook meals and to sit down and eat as a family; to spend time playing with her child.
Jane was then able to set a simple goal to achieve these aspirations – one meal a week and periods of time spent with her child. She looked for evidence of things that she was already doing demonstrating her as a caring wife and mother. And finally she reframed the belief….
“I am a wife and mother who works at providing a loving and nurturing environment for her family”
This enabled her to focus on the present whichever role she was in, being a wife and mother when she was at home, and not feeling guilty about focusing fully on her business when she was at work. In her words, this re-evaluation completely changed the way she felt about herself and her enjoyment (and success) both at work and in her home.
The first step to changing your thinking is to become aware of your own negative belief patterns. The next is to remember that negative beliefs are exactly that: beliefs, not facts. Here’s an exercise to replace the negative with the positive…
1. Ask yourself:
Who is it that you think you are?
What are your beliefs about yourself?
2. Write down any negative self-beliefs you hold.
3. Work with each negative belief:
What is this belief costing me on a daily basis?
What will holding onto this belief mean for me in the long term?
How will my life be different if I let go of this belief?
4. Reframe your belief write a positive belief against the negative belief. Put this somewhere where you can view it and repeat it to yourself several times a day.
Want to change your life? Change how you think about yourself!
About Suzanne Crouch
Suzanne is a skilled and insightful coach and facilitator who has worked for the last twenty years in the field of personal development in the private, public and voluntary sector. She is a director of The Eos Programme which is a challenging personal development programme for women. The Eos Programme concepts and experience have helped women in all walks of life to enrich their personal lives and to improve their performance at work. Free taster events held monthly in Norwich and the Thames Valley.