As business owners we spend a lot of time thinking about how to grow our business, working on ways to increase revenue and profit, but the one thing that’s sure to limit your growth may surprise you. It’s your beliefs.
The most important thing that determines the results you get in life is what you believe. When it comes to your business, you can’t afford to be unaware of what you believe because your brain uses beliefs as a filter. You filter everything you see and notice through the lens of your beliefs.
Why Beliefs Matter
You are almost always thinking, and your thoughts create feelings. These feelings lead you to action (or “inaction”), and that’s what produces your results. Once you see how this works, it’s possible to create any result you want.
Beliefs are simply thoughts you have repeated so many times that you think they are true. This makes them your strongest thoughts, the ones which are guaranteed to create your results (because they cause how you feel and act). You can decide on purpose to believe anything you want. The fastest way to get results is to believe you will get them. This is great news because you have complete control over what you think and believe.
What You Believe Now
You’ve had some of your beliefs for so long, you don’t question whether they are holding you back as you as you grow your business. Like the air you breathe, you’re unaware of some of these beliefs. You want to uncover them because you can’t change what you don’t know.
The business you have now was created from your past beliefs. Many beliefs about money and business were created when we were children – we inherited them from our families. Beliefs like:
- There is never enough money
- Owning a business is risky and dangerous
- The only way to succeed is to work harder than everyone else
Your Brain Wants to Be Efficient
The brain uses our beliefs to help us make decisions quickly. Once you create a belief about something, it no longer needs to spend energy making decisions about it. Imagine if every day you had to decide whether to brush your teeth. Once you create a belief that brushing your teeth is good for you, you don’t question it again and simply do it automatically.
Beliefs That Limit Us
When it comes to business, the belief that it’s risky and dangerous leads us to be overly cautious and take too long to make decisions. Sometimes we miss opportunities. Have you ever had an idea that you didn’t act on and found out later that someone else made a fortune from that same idea?
How about the belief that we have to work harder than everyone else? That belief alone is responsible much of the stress we experience as entrepreneurs – and it’s not true! The way to succeed in business is to add as much value as possible into the world. Not to just work harder. You can work your fingers to the bone doing something no one values, and that definitely won’t lead to success.
If you have the belief that you have to work hard, your brain is using that belief to make decisions and every new idea you may have is being filtered through the lens of “work hard”. If you’re exhausted from how hard you are already working, the thought of working even harder will stop you from doing something – even if that’s the very thing you need to do to grow.
In order to get better results in your business, you must create new beliefs, otherwise, you will keep getting what you have now. The results you have now were created from your past beliefs.
I used to resent my business. I thought about all the reasons I resented it and became a belief. Subconsciously I created a “thought constellation” with a lot of supporting thoughts that provided evidence and reasons for this central belief. It looked like this:
Besides making me feel bad, this belief also caused a lot of problems because of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is part of the way our brain processes the world around us. Because we receive so much sensory input from the world, our brain has created a system in order to deal with it:
- The way it decides what is important and how to interpret input is by using your beliefs as a filtering tool
- It actively looks for evidence to support what you already believe
- It deletes, distorts and generalizes anything that doesn’t match your current beliefs
- Depending on the belief, this can work for or against you because you will see what you expect to see
What You Want is in the Future
When I learned this and decided to make confirmation bias work for me, I created a thought constellation to support the new belief that I love my business:
By creating this new belief, I use my brain’s confirmation bias to work for me. I am always looking for things to love about my business. My brain is on a daily mission to find evidence for why I love my business. It takes no energy to do this once I create the belief, because it runs in my subconscious.
The reason this is so essential is because of the way this belief makes me feel. It feels amazing! And then the actions I take from that feeling grows my business faster than I ever thought possible.
How to Create a New Belief
So how do you create a new belief? Since a belief is a thought that you repeat until you believe it is true, the most important thing is to practice it. Neurons that fire together, wire together. This is how we train our brain to work for us.
These are the detailed steps for creating new beliefs:
- Decide what you want to believe and commit to believing it no matter what. Accept it as true. Just decide to accept it. You get to believe whatever you want!
- Create a sentence that describes the new belief, write it down, and read it as many times as possible each day
- Imagine you believe it. Did you know the brain can’t tell the difference between imagination and memories! Even though a memory is about something that actually happened, and imagination is about something that has not yet happened, the brain uses the same process to create a mental picture of it. Use imagination to your advantage! Imagine everything about the new belief as intensely as possible. You do this by visualization.
- Visualize how you will think, feel and act once you are the person who is demonstrating this belief. Make a movie in your mind.
- Practice, practice, practice. Think about your new belief it by writing it, reading it out loud, journaling about it, save images that remind you of it and help you visualize it.
- At first, you will doubt your new belief. This is NORMAL. When you do any new exercise, like at the gym, at first you feel awkward and don’t get results. In fact, sometimes at first we actually feel worse because our muscles are not used to it. It’s the same with beliefs. At first the doubt will make you very uncomfortable. But if you keep practicing, just like when you keep working out, you will build a muscle.
What to Believe
You can decide to believe your business will achieve a certain revenue or profit target, that you are a business owner who runs her business on 20 hours a week, or that people love to work for your business. You get to decide whatever you want to believe. Then let confirmation bias go to work for you because it will present you with evidence that the belief is true.