The most critical element to your continued growth and success is how you see the world. The way you see the world is colored by your beliefs. Once you understand your beliefs the world will open up to you in ways that you can’t even imagine today.
Last week I asked you to do some homework to help you identify your beliefs. I know you did your homework because I’m sure your waiting to find out how I can provide you value without ever meeting you in person. Let’s get started and see if I can deliver what I promised.
Pull out your answers to the three sentence exercises you completed last week. Lay them out in front of you on your desk. Now look down the list and put a star next to the ones that you answered the same way. Get a clean sheet of paper and write down the same or similar completions on the new sheet of paper. You should have between three and seven statements that appear on all three lists. I’ve seen as high as ten and as low two similar answers. Now remember there are no right or wrong answers. Now that you have your list, prioritize them in the order you believe them in. Again there is no right or wrong here. The key idea is in all three parts of your sentence completions.
The first sentence completion was I am, the second I succeed because and the final was I respect others when they. The sentence completions help you understand how you see the world and what you value in your life. Now let’s look at the master list and see what your beliefs are. For most people, we believe that we understand ourselves. For many leaders we also feel like we understand what we want in relationships ships with others. The challenge is where do these converge and how might they impact how we see our world. For many of my engineering and technical clients they feel they see the world the way it really is, with little room for interpretation. They feel the facts are more powerful than imagination. Albert Einstein once said that imagination is more important than knowledge. He believed that the more concrete the observation, the more important the need for imagination to take conventional wisdom to the next level. For example, a concrete observation is that rocks are solid. The reality is that a rock is made up of millions of atoms in constant motion. Conventional wisdom and beliefs are interchangeable in the way Einstein saw the world.
Now let’s look at your master list. Where do you think your beliefs come from? I’ve used this process in almost every interview I’ve conducted over the past twenty years. That would be over 17,000 interviews with leaders across many fields and many different disciplines. It’s allowed me to better understand what a business leader was capable of using their expertise. Depending on the role and responsibilities it was easy to define the possible success a person would experience in their new role based on their beliefs and how they would apply their strengths in new opportunities.
Let’s look closely at where your beliefs might come from. They could come from your or someone close to you. Many people’s beliefs come from the parents or the community they grew up in. They could be based on your own first hand experiences. They may have come from different times in your life. Many psychologist s believe that your earliest experiences shape the way you live your life. It relies heavily on the ideas of culture being more important than biology or life experiences.
When you look at your beliefs, are they true? How do you know something is true? Do you even challenge the conventional wisdom in your life? Peer pressure shapes many people’s beliefs to what is true about the world.
How do you believe your beliefs have impacted your success is life? Can your beliefs negatively impact how you approach life? How do beliefs moderate your success possibilities?
Do your beliefs share anything in common? Are you able to look at your beliefs objectively? If you gave the same process to your family members, would they have similar beliefs? Does your level of education and life experiences color your beliefs?
How easy would it be to change you most basic beliefs? How flexible are you with your beliefs? When did you adopt them? When you look at your list, does it reflect who you are today or who you are when you were growing up?
Finally, do your beliefs serve your greater purpose in life? We’ve given you several provocative questions to consider over the next several days. Fear not, next week we will share several different beliefs and systems to help you better understand your beliefs. I’ve got several brave people who shared their beliefs with me in hopes of better understanding themselves and their partners. Next week I will tie this all together and help you better understand why we’ve invested so much time in beliefs and how you can use this information to create a better life for you and the important people in your life. See you next week.
Later this week, I will be sharing my thoughts on BFD, Big Frigging Debt , the $16 trillion dollar debt and why we must look at it as one of the keys to unleashing the economy for ourselves and future generations. That blog will be on Friday this week. Thanks for your support and I hope to see you later this week.