We all know what limiting beliefs are, and you may well be working on your own right now, but I want to talk a bit more about some of the unhelpful beliefs we have that lurk in the subconscious mind. 

Our subconscious mind really does have a huge impact on our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours – we have to do a little more than scratch the surface to uncover what subconscious scripts we’re running. 

And once you’re aware of these unhelpful beliefs you may hold, you’re in a much better position to do something about them. 

So let’s have a look at the first 3 common unhelpful beliefs. 

Let’s start with ‘Awfulising’. You can see from the example above how this unhelpful belief will have a negative impact on your mood, mindset, feelings, and in turn your behaviour. We all experience disappointments, temporary setbacks, and have to deal with things not always going the way in which we’d hoped – it’s how you handle these situations that makes the difference. 

Recognising the temporary nature of situations really will help here. It’s about accepting things as they are, acknowledge your feelings of disappointment or frustration, sure, but don’t allow those feelings to be blown out of proportion. 

Remember, just because X has happened, it doesn’t always automatically lead to the awful outcome your mind is pulling you towards. Take a step back and look at the big picture. Breathe, and tap into your flexible thinking.

Predicting (in the negative sense). This reminds me of the famous quote by Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right,”

Humans love to script things, we love to tell ourselves stories and fill in the blanks of the unknown. You can be a pessimist, an optimist, a realist – again tap back into your flexible thinking. 

But having a tendency to predict a negative outcome really isn’t going to inspire you to do your best, or to put your full energy into something you’re more than capable of. There have been several studies that show when we go into something with a belief that we will see a positive outcome, the likelihood of this increases. And the reverse is true. 

So next time you find yourself predicting a negative outcome, remind yourself that a positive outcome is way more likely if you believe it is possible. 

Discounting is a downer. In some ways, discounting can be seen as ‘being humble’ but it really does have a negative impact on our self-belief. 

When you achieve something, give yourself a pat on the back. Don’t negate it by assuming luck or pity or suchlike. It is in no way arrogant to congratulate yourself on something. Sure, if luck or timing played a role you’re welcome to acknowledge that but the fact remains that you accomplished something. Remind yourself regularly of your valid and valued contributions and don’t let Lady Luck take all the credit. 

All or nothing! Similarly to awfulising, all or nothing thinking completely disregards the plethora of other possibilities and outcomes. It’s an attitude of defeat, and when we feel defeated, we give up and stop trying. 

It’s easy to understand why we can feel all is lost at times, but when you take a step back and alter your perspective, you will see an array of possibilities and/or probabilities to take into consideration. 

So when you catch yourself thinking in black and white, remind yourself that there’s a multi-coloured area in between – ‘my presentation was a total disaster’ becomes ‘my presentation may not have gone down as well as I wanted it to but I tried my best, learnt from the experience and chances are my efforts will be rewarded or at least regarded well’. 

Labelling is careless. Your words hold so much power. If you’re calling yourself unhelpful names and labelling yourself as a failure or an idiot or suchlike, you’re reinforcing this negative and unhelpful belief. 

Think about it. If you write the same word over and over again, on top of itself, it becomes harder and harder to erase. It becomes ingrained in the paper. The same applies to your mind. It becomes self-perpetuating. 

So flip the script. Or at the very least, challenge how you speak to yourself. Would you allow someone else to speak to you in this way? No? Then why speak to yourself in this way? If you catch yourself labelling, challenge it. ‘I’m an idiot’ becomes ‘I know better for next time’. 

Your self-talk matters. 

And finally, ‘I should/must/can’t’. How many times have these words created unnecessary pressure for you? 

It’s hard to remove these words from our self-talk, I mean, we all have things we think we ‘should’ be capable of doing, ‘must’ be done, and ‘can’t’ do – but again, it’s being mindful of the language we’re using and how it affects us. 

The way we word things can either create unrealistic expectations and unnecessary pressure, or we can be more mindful and lift that weight from ourselves. How about treating yourself with the same kindness and compassion that you show others? How about recognising your efforts and simply doing your best? 

We’re all guilty of having unhelpful beliefs and thoughts, but it all boils down to how we then handle them. We’re in charge of our perceptions and we can flip the script on our subconscious when we challenge these thoughts and feelings. It all starts with self-awareness. 

We cover unhelpful beliefs and how to handle them and more in our bespoke Purpose, Progress, Performance programme.

The programme will help you and your team:

  • Have fun and build stronger relationships based on authenticity and trust.
  • Understand each other’s strengths, differences and how they complement each other.
  • Have honest conversations about what you all need and how you can support each other.
  • Gain the tools you need to build individual and group wellbeing and resilience.
  • Create a blueprint of shared values, behaviours and ambitions.
  • Become a cohesive and effective team that achieves more together.

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