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Top Ten Professional Coaching Secrets to Success #4 – Belief

What stopped men from running a four-minute mile before Roger Bannister did it for the first time?

Prior to May 6th, 1954 nobody had ever been able to break the four-minute mile barrier. The “experts” and the general public – you and me – said that it was impossible. Humans are more than willing to sign up for what is considered accepted belief. We like to think that we think for ourselves and come to our beliefs independently, but I have to tell you it just ain’t so.
Bannister was different. Was he simply superhuman? Nope, because very soon after he accomplished his breakthrough it became commonplace to run a four-minute mile. So Bannister was just another normal human – albeit he did have one quality that other runners of his time lacked.

What Bannister had more than anybody else in his era was “Belief.”

He believed that he could do it and he was not willing to let the conventional wisdom stop him. The only thing that stopped people from running the four-minute mile before Bannister did it was the belief that it couldn’t be done. And the only thing that allowed those who followed to break through their barrier was the belief that it could be done. Most of us are familiar with the Henry Ford quote – “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
So it’s not the barrier that is stopping you from achieving your dreams, it is the belief behind it. Belief is either inspiring or inhibiting. Belief will send you over the top of any goal or objective you are committed to having, or stop you cold in your tracks.

Achieving goals requires belief.

One thing that usually comes up as soon as you set up a goal is fear. Fear that you can’t do it, don’t know how you’ll get there, maybe you’re afraid you’re not quite good enough… you fill in the blank. Fear is part of being human. And fear is inexorably tied into your beliefs. Not only that, but also the universe is set up to put roadblocks in your way as soon as you create a big goal.

How do you get past your hurdle and your beliefs?

The first thing you have to do is to recognize and own the fact that you do have a belief system. That is hard to do because, as I said in Post #1 in this series, Coaching Secret # 1- How To Get Unstuck, we think our thoughts are the truth rather than simply a belief. So know that you have beliefs and that those beliefs drive your thoughts. Get comfortable with that.

Once you can own your beliefs you have the power to change them.

Owning your beliefs means taking responsibility and knowing that you created them. Try this little trick that corporate trainers use. Stand up and reach with your hand as high as you can on the wall. Do that now before you read the rest of this article, then continue. Is that as high as you can go? If you are like 99.5% of people you’ll say that it’s the highest you can go. Now go back to the wall and reach a little higher – really, really stretch as high as you can go. I guarantee you will be able to go at least a millimeter higher. So it wasn’t as high as you could go the first time, was it? Same thing with Roger Bannister. He just kept saying, “I can go higher”, or in his case faster. It is that little millimeter that makes the difference between mediocrity and success. And it starts with believing.

I work with my coaching clients to find out what their underlying or limiting beliefs are.

In my career coaching for advertising and marketing executives, once we identify the underlying belief there is usually an “aha” moment or some sort of epiphany. Now we can work from there to take ownership of the belief and see if you are willing to change it or at least observe it in action. Anytime an underlying phenomenon is observed it loses its power. I say an underlying belief is like a vampire. Its power depends upon darkness. As a career coach I shine the light on the belief while the belief tries to shun the light. The more light, the less power the belief has over you. Now you can consciously develop a new belief, one of possibility and growth for you. Given the power over your own beliefs and the choice of picking new ones, you will always create positive and fulfilling ones.

Professional Coaching Tip #4

Look at an area where you are stuck. Now ask yourself-what do I believe about this? Be ruthless in your exploration. Where in your beliefs are you holding the position that it has to be this way? That is your limiting belief. Doing this exercise will not eliminate the belief overnight – that will take some work – but the key is to start owning and taking responsibility for having created the belief in the first place. Our beliefs are often created unconsciously so you have to dig a little deeper to get to the source. And for some reason, most of us resist owning that we create our own beliefs. Once you own it, you can decide if you want to keep it. If you are reading this far, I’m betting you’re the kind of person who will want to discard that belief and create a more empowering one. Please try this now and don’t be shy about asking for help from a friend or an objective professional who will support you to get past your barriers.
Be on the lookout for our next secret. It is about…trust.

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If you like this blog post, check out my web site at dwbcoaching.com or drop me a line. I offer a free sample session that will help you clarify your goals, identify challenges and set you on an instant action plan towards success.
David Basch
[email protected]
914 388 2924