How can life coaching help me change my limiting beliefs?

Beliefs are powerful and life coaching can show you how to change your beliefs to become empowered. Our beliefs live in our subconscious mind, directing our lives almost without our being aware of them. They shape and direct our perception of the world around us, our sense of self and our potential in life. They also direct the Reticular Activating System (RAS) in our brains. This filters our perception of reality, creating an external and internal world coherent and consistent with our most fundamental beliefs. And they can be either limiting or empowering for our lives.

Beliefs arise as a necessity, formed out of information and experiences that we use to create an internalised story that helps us manage and understand the world. As time goes by we may retain beliefs that no longer serve us and which may even hinder our lives.

How can a life coach help?

As author and trainer Ray Dodd puts it, this story, “… becomes so familiar that we no longer even notice it. Only when something drastic happens to suspend or alter it – like an accident, illness sudden loss or other tragedy – do we get a glimpse of the world without our usual filter. In those moments, the mirage evaporates and we begin to see the limitless possibilities available by changing what we believe.”[1] The life coach shows her client how to become empowered, by identifying limiting beliefs that no longer serve her client well and replacing them with new and empowering beliefs.

Coach Carl Massy compares limiting beliefs to out-dated operating software on a computer.[2] We are all familiar with what happens when we have out-dated operating software on our computer. Such software may cause a machine will be slow, tend it to crash and make it unsuitable for new learning (e.g. programmes and apps). Hanging on to old and disempowering beliefs has similar outcomes. Limiting beliefs keep us stuck in the past and restrict our potential both for today and for the future. The most effective thing to do is to replace those old and disempowering beliefs, our out-dated software, with new beliefs. However, this does require a willingness to change.

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Beliefs are powerful and reside in the subconscious but they can be identified and either modified, replaced or removed altogether. An example used to illustrate this ability to change and become empowered is the childhood belief in Father Christmas/Santa Claus. After all, a belief does not actually have to be true. From an early age, a child is told by his [Office4] parents that there is a character called Santa Claus. And it is this person who brings gifts at Christmas for good boys and girls. This is an example of an external proposition: a fully formed belief or truth presented by people whom the child trusts and who have some degree of credibility.

This external proposition is supported and enhanced by experience and the child begins to really believe in Santa Claus. This belief is supported by further experiential evidence. There is discussion of what Christmas present the child wants (at home, at school and with siblings and friends). Images of Father Christmas are to be seen everywhere, such as on TV ads and in shopping centres. So the child comes to really believe in Santa Claus. This experiential support to a belief is an example of an internal proposition: ideas that we construct as a result of specific incidents or events in our lives.

Letting go of Santa

For several years during childhood a belief in Santa Claus becomes core to the child’s reality. However, the day will come when that belief will no longer empower the young child and it must be replaced. The parents have to reveal the shocking truth that Santa Claus does not actually exist – the internal proposition is challenged. Furthermore, there is a growing challenge to the belief by the evidence of experience – the external proposition is challenged. For example, if Santa Claus is real, how could he be available to meet in every shopping centre? Why is it that presents start appearing beneath the tree before Christmas Day? Why do some of the child’s family and friends allege that there is no Father Christmas?

Over time, the internal and external propositions on which the belief is based crumble. The child is forced to confront a new reality, that there is no Santa Claus. This change in belief does not harm the child. Indeed it helps him to become empowered, better preparing him for life going forward. In replacement, an empowering new belief (or ‘operating system’) is introduced. It is not some stranger named Santa Claus but the child’s loving parents and family who bring presents at Christmas. Life will be smoother and more agreeable than if the child entered adolescence and adulthood still believing in Santa Claus.

How life coaching can change our perception and change our potential

Two important things to bear in mind about beliefs are that:

  1. Beliefs possess us as much as we possess them, and can control us rather than we controlling them.
  2. A belief requires our participation in order to have power. It cannot exist without our acceptance.

Because of these factors, we may go through life unaware of the beliefs that drive us and constrain our perception of reality. It is a life coach’s job to show a client how to become empowered. This is achieved by by helping a client identify [Office5]modify, remove and/or replace any relevant limiting beliefs. All this is done to help the client achieve their[Office6] goals. This is doable because, although beliefs are powerful, they only have such power as we allow them to have. We can see and recognise limiting beliefs by dragging them out of the subconscious and into the conscious mind. And through engaging with our conscious mind we can challenging limiting beliefs and adopt empowering beliefs in their stead.

The believed impossibility of a four minute mile

One great example of this is Roger Bannister and running the sub-four minute mile in 1954. At the time, it was a commonly held belief that running a mile in less than four minutes would be impossible. All sorts of internal and external propositions led athletes and commentators to share this powerful belief.

However, Bannister set aside such propositions and rationalised that if a person could run a four-minute mile, a sub-four minute mile could not be impossible. He brought the sub-conscious belief into his conscious mind, challenged it and changed it. That’s how he ran a sub-four minute mile on the 6th May 1954.

The astonishing thing is that once other athletes saw this was possible, they too started to be able to run a sub-four minute mile. Like a child discovering there is no Father Christmas, they accepted a new belief and their perception of reality changed. The new belief helped Bannister’s rivals to become empowered, so that sub-four minute mile races were no longer impossible.

It is a life coach’s great privilege to be able to help their client achieve similar great changes in belief and perceptions of reality. In brief, a life coach helps a client achieve such change by[3]:

  • Eliciting limiting beliefs – Helping the client to recognise, name and identify the source of such beliefs – by means of empathic listening and questioning (listening and asking questions with sincerity, openness and the intent to understand).
  • Using a range of strategies to challenge limiting beliefs and replacing them with new and empowering beliefs.
  • Helping the client recognise and accept evidence that supports such new and empowering beliefs.

How life coaching can help us become empowered to create a wonderful new story for our lives

From a coaching point of view, the question is always whether or not the beliefs a client holds, the stories a client has been telling himself, limit her or enable her to become empowered. By such a process as noted above, the life coach can help the client revisit the source of any limiting belief, uncover the truth of the belief and either erase the limiting belief or replace it with a new and empowering belief – a new story.

Ray Dodd says, “Belief is Power. The power to create. You create your own reality simply by what you agree to believe.”[4]

Our beliefs are powerful but they are not all-powerful. They are created by us as stories we tell ourselves and accept about ourselves. They are truths we imagine and realities we perceive, in order to manage the world in which we live.

Beliefs are the foundation of our attitudes and behaviour, guiding our responses to people, events and circumstances. They can empower us to achieve great success in whatever we turn our minds to or they can be limiting, constraining our potential and our vision for what we can be and achieve in our lives.

We are the muse of fire for our own lives

However, we are the muse of fire for our own lives. We can imagine whatever story we wish for our lives and bring about in our minds the reality we choose. We can choose to belief we are clumsy and be clumsy, or we can choose to believe we are adroit and be adroit. And we can believe that presentations are beyond us and be challenged when having to present in public or we can believe that making presentations is a skill that is accessible and in so believing we can develop that skill.

The thing is that beliefs dwell in our subconscious and we sometimes need a little help to recognise their existence and how they impact our lives. A life coach has the honour and privilege of stepping into a client’s life and helping their client recognise that he or she is able to use the power of belief, by means of their own imagination and will, to shape their life and world.

The coach will support a client in discovering that he or she can dream into existence the reality they choose, jettisoning limiting beliefs and building beliefs that empower – thereby achieving the goals they set themselves and creating the wonderful life they have always dreamed of having.

Do you want to be empowered?

If you have found this series of blog posts about beliefs helpful and want to make a change in your life, to become empowered so that you can craft the life you have always wanted, contact Life Crafting Limited now and book a Hero Discovery Call to start creating that life!

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eqcv2iIG5A

[3] Page 16-23, Module 6, Beliefs – The Noble Manhattan Coaching Diploma Training Manual (2007)

[4] The Power of Belief, Ray Dodd, 2003, Hampton Roads Publishing Inc. (Kindle edition)

[1] The Power of Belief, Ray Dodd, 2003, Hampton Roads Publishing Inc. (Kindle edition)

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eqcv2iIG5A

[3] Page 16-23, Module 6, Beliefs – The Noble Manhattan Coaching Diploma Training Manual (2007)

[4] The Power of Belief, Ray Dodd, 2003, Hampton Roads Publishing Inc. (Kindle edition)

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[1] The Power of Belief, Ray Dodd, 2003, Hampton Roads Publishing Inc. (Kindle edition)

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eqcv2iIG5A

[3] Page 16-23, Module 6, Beliefs – The Noble Manhattan Coaching Diploma Training Manual (2007)

[4] The Power of Belief, Ray Dodd, 2003, Hampton Roads Publishing Inc. (Kindle edition)

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