What are your beliefs? Really.

Your beliefs are THE master commanders of your behavior and your results. ~Marie Forleo

Belief -> Thought -> Feeling -> Behavior -> Result

When I’m leading any kind of a planning session, our ultimate goal is to achieve some type of results. If we work backwards from achieving those results, we need people to change their “behavior,” and they’ll change behavior if they “feel” that they should, and in order to feel they should they need to “think” they should, and even prior to that they need to have the “belief” that they should.

Forleo says, “In order to solve any problem or achieve any [result] we must first make a change at the level of belief. Because when you change a belief, you change everything.”

I won’t provide all of the details that Forleo lays out, but imagine this research involving a placebo surgery! The surgery was orthopedic, so it was not life threatening, but it did involve people wanting relief from very real pain. The placebo group received a sham surgery. They went into surgery, were under anesthesia but received shallow cuts and were discharged with  protocols and painkillers. One-third of them reported pain relief, the same portion as those with the real surgery! Even more amazing, at one point within the study they had better results than those who had the real surgery!

This is just one of a number of studies that demonstrate the power of our beliefs. As Forleo states, “our beliefs tell us what to notice, what to focus on, what it means, and what to do about it.” That means, when planning, we can identify challenging visions, goals, objectives, etc., but if we don’t also address what people believe, we will likely fall short of actually achieving the results.

How to change beliefs?

1. Ask people to state what they believe except replace the word “believe” with “assume.” Then follow that with “what has caused me to make this assumption is…” and keep doing that several more times. In other words, what are their assumptions about their assumptions.

This may uncover two things. One, they may discover that some beliefs are based more on habit or history than on actual evidence. And two, they may identify ways that they really can control something they thought they had no control over.

2. Ask a group, if we want X result, what do we need to believe? (Note, I said believe not know.) Then make a list of all the evidence that would support that belief. Now try asking the group, why wouldn’t we believe this?

Challenging our beliefs is hard work. There’s a reason Forleo says that our beliefs are the “root” of our reality. Roots hold tight, even the worst of storms. Nothing is easily up-rooted. Challenging and then changing beliefs requires bold grace.

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