There is have a trend that I see when coaching clients, and that is the belief that they are not a good person, that they have good managerial skills, or that they can achieve the very things they say they want. They don’t have self-efficacy, which is the fundamental belief that you can.
It breaks my heart when I see someone who has wonderful traits and skills but they don’t see it themselves. Some look for external validation from others to ‘let’ them know they are a good person. While others, even if hearing good comments, dismiss them – they don’t believe them.
Why does this occur? Somewhere along the way of growing up, there was an event where a comment was made that seemed critical; we also often compare ourselves to others, seeing their achievements greater than ours. Over time, these thoughts get reinforced as we ruminate over them, which then become our beliefs – ‘it must be true.’ These beliefs lead to our future thoughts and actions, which then lead to frustration and, eventually, declining emotional health.
But the good news is, you don’t have to stay in this state. Although difficult to master, it is doable to rewire brain patters and change negative thoughts to positives:
- Be aware when negative, self-deprecating thoughts arise – only in self-awareness can you do something about them. When do you hold yourself back, say from speaking up or taking action on something you want; when do you negate a compliment someone gives you – these are negatives arising. A great way to be more self-aware is to mark off on a piece of paper every time you have a negative or self-critical thought (you’ll get tired soon)
- STOP – you need to find a way to not allow negative thoughts to continue once aware; it will take some training but silently (or loudly) saying STOP, is one way to alter them; another is to put a rubber band on your wrist and flick it when negatives arise
- Replace- you must replace a negative thought with a positive; it’s not enough to just stop them. Mark Waldman, a neuroscience expert, says we need three positive thoughts to override one negative; reframe the negatives to a more motivating, positive one (“I have skills and abilities that make my work more appealing)
- Affirm – document daily your achievements, any compliments you’ve heard, or acts of kindness someone shows you (let’s you out in traffic or holds the door open for you); these will validate your skills and strengths and ‘show’ you the totality of you
Doing these steps daily will soon have you believing in yourself, which will lead to taking more risks and bolder actions. Soon, you’ll have more confidence to do anything you say you want. To paraphrase, “walk boldly in the direction of your dreams.”
There is a term in psychology called Self-Efficacy, which basically means that one has the belief that they can achieve whatever it is they want to do. If you ask most people if they feel they can perform a task or achieve a goal, they would most likely give a resounding “Yes!” But if that is the case, why is then that most are not reaching their goals or finding the life they desire? It’s usually because deep down inside they don’t really believe that they can; those nasty inner voices we all have seem to rear their ugly heads and put on their ‘debby-downer’ hat on as they negate anything and everything positive.
In order to overcome those thoughts and reach your desires, you have to fully – and without a doubt – believe that you possess the skills and strengths to do so. This is not as easy as it may seem; you see, those ‘debbie-downers’ have a strong-hold on the psyche and lie buried very deep in the mind, so even if you consciously say “I can do anything I want” they are secretly saying ‘you can’t.’ It can be pretty complicated but just know that we are driven more by the unconscious thoughts than what is in our awareness.
If you have problems in starting or reaching your goals, I’d suggest exploring your deeper thoughts to see if your belief system is what’s holding you back:
1. Take time to sit and think – sit in silence and focus on your breaths as this will calm your mind and allows your thoughts to surface. You can ask a question before doing so to give a bit more focus to what you want to uncover, such as “What is holding me back?”
2. Take time to write – often, the act of writing out your thoughts or exploring them will produce answers that can help you identify the barriers; writing can also help you to challenge your thoughts, as they are yours alone, which can help you to see that it may not be a rational one. Writing can also affirm all that you are doing so the irrational thoughts don’t hold weight – after all, you’ve reached some goals in your life, haven’t you?
3. Take time to affirm – telling yourself that you absolutely have all the abilities to do anything you want will elevate your ego and change the negatives to the positive (this doesn’t mean doing so one time); repeating a mantra daily, either by saying it or writing it, gets into the deeper parts of the brain which then changes the thought processes and ultimately the belief system. It does take patience and practice so consistency is the key.
Having the total belief that you can do and be all that you want is the key to long-lasting success; choosing to believe, which means quieting the nay-sayers, will elevate your ego and confidence so you can go and do and be your best. You can do it – I believe in you!
If you would like help with reaching your goals and feel ‘stuck, then contact me as I’d love to help you get there. http://www.cyscoaching.com