I’m going to ask you to take a step back from your business for a moment. Mentally leave the chair you’ve been sitting in for the past few weeks, months, years and look at the enterprise you’ve created. If you were able to grab all the data you’ve put into the computer and lay it out in front of you; all the effort and design, the hours of trial and error, learning and tinkering, would you say it is a success? Not what someone else would think or say, not your partner or spouse, and certainly not that critical family member we all seem to have. Just YOU.
What do you believe? Do you have your answer?
Now, the purpose of my asking is not for the answer. Instead, I want you to reflect on why you believe you came to that answer. What made you say, ‘Yes, Jess, I’m a success’ or ‘No, Jess, I’m not a success, yet, but I’m getting there!’? Why do you believe that you are or you aren’t?
It’s for these reasons, that this week's post is the first of a 5 part Mindset Series. We will delve into understand how our mind affects our work much more than we know or desire. How the system of beliefs we've developed from birth to now, (and which we assume to be true), shape our lives even today.
To be honest this is an area I didn’t spend whole lot of time focusing on when I was starting out and I think it showed in my up and down moods. One minute I would think anything was possible and the next I was convinced I would never be successful.
It's my hope that once we've defined and understand what and where this system of beliefs lay within each of us, we can learn to control our thoughts better, embrace failure without setback but with the ability to leap forward, and to utilize affirmations to construct our lives any way we desire.
What are Beliefs or More Importantly, What are My Beliefs?
Briefly defined, a belief is an assumed truth. Looking further, they are a deeply seated series of thought patterns that shape how we see the world and our place in it. They are mainly formed in our subconscious mind over time and begin to take shape in our youngest years.
So let’s start with a simple, opinion based example. Do you eat eggs?
If yes, I want you to think of the best way to eat eggs. The # 1 style - how you cook them for yourself or for a loved one that is having a big day and you want them to feel extra special. And if you said ‘No, I don’t eat eggs’, then why - for health concern or moral reasons, why?
You’ve got your answer. Now, I want you to look behind the answer. How did you come to that conclusion? Why do you believe that a salt and pepper omelet is the best way to eat eggs - or why do believe that not eating eggs is healthier for you because of the high amounts of cholesterol?
Your belief that your answer is the best way to eat eggs will most likely differ from the majority of other people reading this article. While your reason for not eating eggs might be a common thought amongst many around the world. Why is that?
Let’s look closer at the ‘Yes’ answer. Eggs, like coffee, are a very opinion based food. We all prefer eggs to be prepared a certain way and our taste usually stems from an earlier experience when we had them cooked for us directly - Omelettes like how mom used to make, or indirectly, like watching Jamie Oliver craft scrambled eggs with butter, a semi-hot pan and then turning the pan off before they’re done letting the heated pan finish cooking the eggs to the point of perfection. Or perhaps discovered on your own!
The reason for this long example is not to make you hungry, but to show how you came to believe your answer was the best. It has a history. Your belief began at one point in your life and maybe was altered here or there. Maybe someone told you that olive oil is healthier so you swapped it for the butter, but then went back to the butter once you heard about Paleo diet and how people are putting butter in coffee (yes, coffee) so it must be healthy!
These are all beliefs! We alter and change our life based on beliefs - many times what others believe, but we don’t ask ourselves, where did their system of beliefs come from?!? How do they know olive oil is healthier? Who told them that? And when stacked up side by side with eggs prepared with butter, which is tastier - we all have different styles of taste, so in the end who can tell?
- Write down 3 examples of beliefs that you’ve heard from friends, family, or via the web regarding being an entrepreneur. These are meme’s (no not the photo of grumpy cat kind of meme) but sayings passed on from one person to the next that is an assumed truth.
- Think of a personal ‘belief’ that came to you from an outside source. Did something your parents say become something you have repeated in your own life?
- Now, with your personal ‘belief’ and your 3 business related beliefs, work through to see how they don’t have weight in your own life. For an example, take the ‘online businesses don’t make money’ meme. Why would that be a popular statement? Who would say that? Why would they say that? And most importantly, why does that NOT pertain to you?
Beliefs Formed Within the Subconscious Mind.
So now that you’ve made breakfast, let’s look at something a little deeper in regards to the history of your beliefs.
Can you recall a childhood goal or dream? Did you enjoy dancing so much that you wanted to do it forever? How about acting - did the stage call to you and tell you to perform your heart out? Good, now for the hard part. Can you remember why you stopped?
Most often than not, it’s a person’s words that end our first dream. A dance teacher that tells a parent that we’re not ‘built to be a dancer’. Perhaps it’s a parent that scolds us and tells us not to follow our creative dreams - for we’ll be broke and unsuccessful. Maybe when they first told you, it lit a fire inside. But after a few years, it subconsciously beat you down and became part of your belief system.
‘Dancers have to have a certain body type.’ ‘Actors and artists don’t make any money.’
It might be that your parents made you work as a teen to ‘save money’ and scolded you whenever you spent that money. Due to this repetitive thought, your subconscious mind may now link money with bad, negative connotation and feelings. The belief that money is meant to be saved, not spent is ingrained in your subconscious mind. Ingrained, subconscious thoughts and beliefs regarding having a lack of money, or never spending money can have quite a negative impact on your business.
- Think back to your childhood. What was your kid dream? Did you follow through or did it derail somewhere down the journey of your life? Try to recall how it came to an end. Was it something someone said or did you come to the conclusion on your own?
- Find and write down 3 possible buttons that exist in your life - 3 stops, problems or issues that you continually have when it comes to business: Money, public speaking, selling, asking people for aid, jealousy, etc.
- Spend time (really, like take an hour free time - lock the door put on some tranquil music) trying to trace back in your life to the origin of those 3 problems. Were you laughed at when speaking in front of a class? Is it a family ingrained issue, like with the money, stability or even competition? Dig deep .
- Meditate and free your mind for 20 minutes after you’ve done the steps.
Taking Back your Thoughts.
So we’ve looked at how beliefs, both conscious and subconscious, can influence your personal life. Now let’s shift back to you and your business and try to identify a few beliefs that might be holding you back from ascending to the next level.
Having an online business takes a lot of guts, hard work, perseverance and a desire to achieve more for not only yourself but for the people for whom you work. As an entrepreneur, you want the best for yourself but you also want your clients to feel empowered and to reach goals that they never thought possible.
But as an entrepreneur, I find it best to focus on originality. There is only one me. There is only one you. Your business is built around your personality, your strengths, your creativity. We must focus on ourselves and not let others influence our business with their negative thoughts and beliefs when they know nothing about our journey, nothing about where came from, where the path leads, and all the information we’ve received along the way.
There are articles on the web regarding the negative aspects of being a success coach. There are even more about being a blogger, health coach, yoga teacher, social media guru, online personality, youtube vlogger, etc etc etc…
It is our job to understand these are BELIEFS, not truths! You CAN and WILL make money doing what you love. These people writing these articles once had a dream, but they didn’t follow through. Let’s do a quick example of one of the people who ‘bash’ online businesses and coaches. For example, maybe they bought 1 online course, never put in the effort and therefore never completed it, asked for a refund after 4 months, and wasn’t given the refund because their course work was incomplete! They then proceeded to write horrible reviews, hated everyone who spoke of success and became an all out troll! Then your friends read that article, shared it, someone else read it and shared it even more. Soon, it becomes a viral article and everyone posts it on FB, your parents and sister read it and post it on your wall! Sound familiar?
This is a BELIEF, it is not YOUR OWN truth. Their journey is not your journey. These are not your thoughts and it’s your job to find more of these thoughts inside your brain, identify that they aren’t yours and shouldn’t belong there, and then kick them out forever!
- Like we did with finding beliefs in your personal life that weren’t yours, let’s focus on your business and look into some aspects that might be affecting you and your success. Plan for 1 hour of reflection and get a pen and paper ready.
- Write down 5 beliefs that are common about your line of work - they don’t have to be your own - just things you hear, positive or negative - when you or someone else mentions your niche or line of business.
- Of those 5 pick 2 that have the most weight - those that you identify with the most and start to work backwards and find a incidence in your past where you felt the same. Keep going, and briefly write these moments down.
- Once you’ve created a small timeline for the 2 beliefs, spend the rest of your time meditating on how these beliefs aren’t your own. Try to figure how they are influencing you and your business and work to push them out into the open so when you see or read the same negativity in the future, you are able to say “Hey I am no longer affected by you!”
We've done a lot of personal and business reflection within this post. Hopefully, you’ve seen how beliefs can have an impact on how you live, how you work, and how you achieve success. Positive beliefs can open all the doors to your dreams while negative beliefs can make those doors disappear, for you never even knew they existed. We work to instill positive beliefs in my It Girl program. Success is available to all with a clear and open mind. Don’t let the negative beliefs and words of others derail you from your ultimate dreams and desires. You are amazing. You have the tools. Now let’s get to work!