Why you don't you believe it when someone says you're amazing...
I'm sat in the garden as I write this; last week was very mixed for weather and energy and today I'm enjoying a settled day of both! Sunny with a slight breeze and a healthy level of get-up-and-go, ready for a the week ahead, filled with lovely 1-1 client work and lots of writing. This feels wonderful after a slower spell and I'm leaning into it gratefully.
Today I wanted to share something that came up in my Believe workshop on Friday - which by the way was just wonderful; the women in the room really embraced our morning together, sharing, thinking and diving deep into what was holding them back.
The idea for this workshop came to me as soon as it clicked that untangling self-doubt was exactly what I'm meant to be doing. Full disclosure... when I announced the workshop I didn't know how the morning would look, what I would say, what tools I'd share... I just knew that if I brought a group of the right women together in a room for the morning, they would leave feeling full of possibility for a path ahead with less self-doubt and more self-belief. (And that feeling of possibility is powerful to experience when you're convinced that 'this is just how I am'...)
And that's just what happened. Not surprisingly I'm feeling excited to do so much more, my mind buzzing all weekend with ideas not-only from Friday but also the research interviews I'm currently immersed in... watch this space feels like the obvious thing to say here!
And do hit reply if you want to be on the wait-list for a new Believe workshop date.
Re-routing your muddy paths
Here's what I wanted to share from the workshop; it's about how some of us find it hard to accept or believe the nice things people say about us.
When you think something often enough, or someone else tells you often enough (either through words or actions), you form a belief that this something is true.
"I'm not good enough..."
"I'm shy (and that's a bad thing)..."
"I'm not worth listening to..."
And when you believe something is true it can be hard to notice or accept anything that doesn't quite fit. Your brain literally filters it out. And that's why, when someone says "hey, you sounded great doing that presentation!' you dismiss it, you simply don't believe it; 'sounding great' does not match your belief that 'I"m not worth listening to'.
Through the repetition of beliefs over time, you create an actual pathway in your brain, like a well-trodden path across a muddy field, and you often default to it in times of change, newness or stress. Wouldn't it be great if your muddy path was a supportive one?
The good news is that by bringing awareness to unhelpful paths (beliefs) you can start to change them into new paths (beliefs)... it can take a little while, and just like with real muddy paths, you can easily slip back into the old rut until the new one becomes deeper.
When I left my long-term job five years ago to retrain as a coach I was a bundle of anxiety with a strong belief that I wasn't good enough; everyone was better than me. My husband kept saying 'you're amazing' and I was so cross with him; why would he say something that so clearly wasn't true? It didn't fit with anything I believed.
However, he didn't give up saying it and, knowing I wanted to be on his side with this one, I set myself the challenge of changing my own mindset. The result, as you probably know, is that I'm here now, supporting others to grow their self-belief!
So, here are my top three tips for re-routing your muddy paths...
Affirmations. This is simply choosing a new belief and repeating it to yourself until it becomes a deeper stronger path than the old belief. Choose something that feels right for you, it doesn't need to be huge and shiny... post it note reminders work for me.
'the right people listen to me'
'I am good enough'
'everything is always working out for me' <-- a personal favourite that got me through re-training plus a house build.
Notice when your new belief is true. Write down the examples and read them back to yourself each day. See? You are doing this!
Ask for confirmation. (This is the scary one.) Ask friends what they love about you. Ask clients for testimonials. If you don't believe them at first, don't dismiss what they say, simply note it all down and keep on returning to it. If you do this, it will become true, I promise.
Be patient with yourself, remember that this is so very possible for you and allow yourself to enjoy the changes as they arrive; you deserve this and you are amazing.