The theme for this article was prompted during a recent discussion with a group of business owners. We were talking about ‘beliefs’, both ‘empowering’ and ‘disempowering’ (positive and negative) and how this was affecting their businesses.
Our beliefs are what cause us to act in a certain way, and we have thousands of them (positive and negative) depending on the situation. This is how we can have ‘situational confidence’ (i.e. we have very ‘high confidence’ in one situation and yet very ‘low confidence’ in another). The effects of our beliefs are not as abstract as we might think. We act in absolute accordance with our internal beliefs and these may not be what we say we may want. This is why somebody may want one thing from their business and act in a way that seems to completely opposed what they say they want (incongruence). Have you ever had that feeling? You can override your beliefs temporarily using your willpower, but over the long haul your internal self-image will always win!!
To see a lasting change to our business results we must first create a change of belief and behaviour. Failing to do so is the reason people start going to the gym say, in January, with all good intentions and then end up giving up a couple of months later – they don’t have a lasting behavioural change and end up going back to the way they were.
A common problem I encounter when working with business owners is around their beliefs about what they think they are capable of in the areas sales and generally ‘running a business’. These beliefs can be fostered by thoughts such as ‘salesmen are pushy’ or ‘running a business is hard work’: if we believe it, it magically becomes our reality!
To change your beliefs, start by asking yourself whether your most dearly held beliefs about your business are actually serving you or not. A way to judge this is to consider how comfortable you are feeling about your business results at the moment. Do your beliefs help you create the business you desire? Or do they limit you and cause you to limit your own potential? Remember that beliefs are like ‘blinkers’ for humans. They can be so powerful that they cause you to see only what’s in line with them. Yet they are not necessarily the truth. They are just our own perceptions of the truth, based on our past learning, experiences and evaluations.
The good news is that you can choose to change any belief that’s not helping you to create the business (and life) you really want. To improve our businesses then, we need to choose what we want to create (and, most importantly, why!). Most businesses fail or never achieve their full potential because the owners are too busy working ‘in’ the business and fail to see the ‘wood for the trees’. One of the great satisfactions I gain from working with business owners is their description of our working together as a ‘breath of fresh air’ into their businesses. Why? Because it helps them realign focus and clarity, gain new ideas and sometimes just helps them to really see the ‘wood’ again. It helps to more clearly align their beliefs with their current behaviours.
Our beliefs will determine our potential, our potential will determine the actions we take, the actions we take will determine the results we get and the results we get will positively or negatively influence our belief system. So we tend to reinforce our beliefs in a certain area (more self-confidence) and weaken our beliefs in other areas (less self-confidence) if we don’t get the results we thought we were going to get.
There are two key areas with any business where this shows up time and time again. The first is in the area of ‘increasing the number of prospects coming into your business’ (marketing) and the second is then being able to ‘convert those prospects into paying clients’ (sales). And this is where is becomes very interesting. Why? Because most of the things we ‘believe’ about ourselves and our businesses are actually not based on fact – they are based on our experiences so far on the results we’ve gained so far. This is why when I can help someone focus on the FACTS in their business (what proactive marketing are you actually doing v strategy effectiveness) and challenge those facts in terms of concentrated effort in the right areas of business – then we can challenge the belief system that’s been holding them back? Bingo! Change in business results!
So what beliefs have been holding you back in your Business?
To Your Success,