A Coaching Power Tool created by Karen Buckley
(Health and Wellness and Cross Cultural Coaching, HONG KONG)
Belief is confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof, an opinion or conviction. Oxford dictionary
If you believe it, you can achieve it Martin Luther King
Belief is one of the building blocks of conscious thought. Our beliefs are at the core of who we are, what we do and the success that we acquire. Do you know what the majority of successful people have in common? They have a strong sense of belief in themselves and their ability to succeed. Most people define beliefs as inward convictions, a feeling of certainty about what something means. A belief is both mental and physical, it is dictated in your mind and your heart. If you believe in a cause, you will fight for it. If you believe in your religion, you will live it. Belief drives us. History is replete with famous people whose belief in a concept or a cause drove them to accomplish remarkable things. Gandhi believed passionately in a free society in India, he gave his life for the cause he believed in. He is famous for saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Martin Luther King had a dream (belief), that one day all people in the United States would have the same freedoms, and his belief drove him to fight for change, it dictated his actions.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Martin Luther King
Richard Branson became one of the most successful businessmen of our times. He started his business as a dyslexic seventeen year old magazine publisher who knew nothing about publishing. He progressed to a record company owner who knew nothing about music, yet his belief that he could build an empire never wavered.
In 1948, Claude M Bristol, wrote a book called “The magic of believing”. Bristol was a hardheaded journalist whose posts put him in contact with people from different cultures and religious denominations. He read books on metaphysics, science, ancient magic, psychology and religion. He began to realize that the “golden thread” that ran through them all was the concept that “belief itself holds amazing powers”. He found that most people go through life without realizing how powerful strong belief can be. They leave their desires vague, and so they get vague outcomes.
When Bristol was a soldier in World War I, he went through some difficult times where he couldn’t even afford a pack of cigarettes. He told himself that when he returned to civilian life, he would make a lot of money and live comfortably. In his mind this was not a wish it was a belief. On his return home, a banker who had seen an article written on him in the local newspaper contacted him. He was offered a job, and although he started on a small salary, he kept his vision of being wealthy alive. Bristol firmly believes it was his certainty in the power of belief more than anything else that paved his way to a very successful career as an investment banker and businessman.
When it comes to achieving goals and reaching ones full potential, a strong belief in our course of action is essential. One of the strongest messages that comes through in Bristols book is that, “virtually anything can be yours, and you can be anything, if you are able to develop a knowing about it that you don’t ever need to question”. An understanding of the conscious and subconscious mind helps one get to the core of the power of belief. The subconscious mind works in terms of imagery, so it is requires that we send it pictures of what we want to accomplish. It can then go to work in living up to the mental pictures in front of it and by giving us intuitions about where to go, what to do and who to meet. The subconscious mind is a faithful servant that works constantly to renew, guide and inspire, but in order to get the most out of it, we need to respect and believe in what it can do.
A few months ago, I went to a talk by New Zealand ultra marathon runner Winnie Cosgrove. She is an amazing lady who spoke with passion about her chosen sport and the adversity she had to overcome to be successful. One of her strategies before a big event was to draw a picture of the race she was training for. She would draw an image on the page of her across the finish line with a big “first place” trophy. As the race drew closer she would add to the picture by drawing her competitors well behind her, features of the course, times she would reach each stage etc. She built a strong physical picture of the challenge ahead of her, and her subconscious mind responded by making it become a reality. Somehow, the subconscious is connected to all other minds, and through the law of radiation and attraction it can attract events and people to you that will assist in making your dreams reality. However, it will only find ways to make the image real if that image is clear and convincing – hence the importance of the mental pictures. The force of belief cannot really work in our favour until the belief becomes literally part of us, settled in the subconscious mind as a fact.
Doubt – To be undecided or skeptical, to tend to disbelieve, to regard as unlikely. Oxford dictionary
If you doubt yourself and your decisions then you are in a state of turmoil. It is hard to set goals and be focused if you aren’t convinced you will be able to achieve them. Doubt will eat away at your confidence and erode your self-esteem. While belief allows you to achieve greatness, doubt will be hold you back. When we think about people through history who have achieved greatness, they all shared an unshakable belief in either themselves or their cause. Imagine the following situation: Paul is a keen golfer; he plays every weekend and has a lesson during the week. If he has time, he will also go to the driving range and hit balls. He wants to be a great golfer, but doesn’t believe he has the natural ability to become one. Every week he turns up to the course, tries really hard to do everything the coach tells him off the first tee, and ends up slicing his drive. As soon as this happens, the self-doubt sets in and his game falls to pieces. Self-doubt leads to stress and anxiety, and getting back the focus on the game requires patience and attention. It is Paul’s lack of belief in himself that stops him from becoming a good golfer. Paul’s mate Daniel on the other hand is a great golfer. He has been playing since he was a child, and plays the game because he loves it. Daniels father taught him to play and from the first lesson, Daniel was told he was a natural and that he had the ability to be a champion. Daniel has a subconscious belief that he can play well, and even if he hits a bad shot it doesn’t ruin the rest of his game.
It seems like an easy solution; be able to believe in yourself and you will achieve your goals. As we know, life is not that simple. However being conscious of the power of belief is a good starting point. Research has shown that less than 5% of the population writes down their goals. Why is that? Most likely it is because they don’t believe with absolute certainty that they will attain them. Have you avoided writing down your goals? Similar to the technique used by the ultra marathoner, Winnie, writing down goals creates a mental picture that the mind can then start working towards. Goals not written down are a wish. By helping our clients believe in themselves and their goals, we are helping them on the path to achieving greatness.
Confidence that we can do something is a key factor in achieving it. In her book, “Best Practice in Performance Coaching”, Carol Wilson describes her experience of working for Richard Branson. She explains,
he has a gift for empowering those who work for him, is always genuinely impressed by their talent and knows how to show it. Through his encouragement, our confidence rocketed and having been told by Richard that we could achieve anything, we found that we could.
Our aim is to help our clients move into a space of self belief. Some powerful questions that may help achieve this are:
Q – Can you think of a time in your life when you really wanted something, but didn’t think you could achieve it? What was the result?
Q – Can you think of a time when you truly believed in a goal? What was the outcome when you tried to achieve it?
Q – Can you list some of your core beliefs and the reasons you are passionate about them?
Q – What would be the first step you could take today to move into a place of belief?
Q – What would it look like if you believed in yourself and your ability to achieve whatever goal you set?
Q – If you knew that you could not fail, what bold goal might you choose?
By helping our clients change the perspective on their beliefs, we can help them move towards achieving their goals.
Paul decided that he needed help to become a better golfer. Instead of doing a lesson once a week with his golf teacher, he began a lesson with a Life Coach. He began to visualize himself hitting beautiful shots down the fairway, and receiving the winning trophy for local competitions. Instead of getting uptight and anxious when he hit a bad shot, he moved onto the next shot and visualized it exactly as he wanted to hit it. Slowly the anxiety disappeared and Paul was able to relax, enjoy the game he loved, and play much better.
A coaching tool that could be used to help your clients believe in themselves is visualization. Ask them to create a picture in their head of where they want to be. Make sure they add all the details and describe the colours, scenery, and smells, everything that pertains to that moment. Get them to hold that vision clear in their head, and then revisit it regularly until it becomes familiar and comfortable. Once that vision takes hold, it will be much easier to begin moving towards making it a reality. Another tool, which has already been mentioned, is writing down goals. Taking thoughts out of our head and putting them in black and white on paper is a powerful process in itself. All of a sudden the goals becomes something real and tangible, and the mind can focus towards achieving them.
It is the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief, and once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen Muhammad Ali
Belief creates the actual fact William James
Move your clients from doubt to self belief, and give them the power toachieve their dreams Karen Buckley
http://dictionary. reference.com/ “The magic of believing” – Claude M Bristol
http://oxforddictionaries.com/ “Best Practice in Performance Coaching” – Carol Wilson