Understanding your limiting beliefs through questioning

Understanding your limiting beliefs through questioning

1. Cognitive Switch

Let's say you are going through a complicated situation, you adopt an automatic behaviour that is "natural" for you. On the other hand, if we take an analytical look, this behaviour can limit your potential.

Let's take a closer look at what happened and analyse what is at stake:

1. Write down the situation you experienced: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2. Write down the feeling or emotion you experienced: ……………………………………............

3. Write the "thought" that is the cause and source of the behaviour :

IF……………………………………………...............THEN……………………………………………………………………….

4. Write down the behaviour that you experienced: ……………………………………………………………………….

5. Take a step back and read what you have written. Do you notice any extreme responses? Irrational thoughts? .............................................................................

6. Rewrite the thought you wrote in the Triangle into a more rational (less extreme) thought and do the SWITCH: "I can ("BE" this or "DO" this)……………………and BE……………

7. How has the new thinking changed the Cognitive Triangle? How would you have behaved with this thought? ...................................................................................

2. Positive Intent and Unmet Needs

1) Identify a limiting belief, which is blocking you or preventing your development in some area. Recall repetitions of situations, thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.

Ex: I have been asked to take the lead on a project several times, but at the mere idea that I should present this project to the management, "I tell myself that I won't be able to do it ". So, I prefer to give up and decline the opportunity.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2) What is the positive intent of this belief?

Ex: "as long as I don't expose myself, others won't realise my incompetence", "so I won't be judged".

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

3) Keeping this belief, what are your needs that are not being met? Ex: "I can't grow in my job and develop the skills I need if I want to move to new positions"

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

4) Optionally, think of a person, a friend, a colleague, or a line manager (an external resource) whose opinion you respect and who is always willing to give good advice:

  • What would they say about the situation? ...................................................................………….........................
  • How would she react?

.....................................................................…................................

  • What would she say to herself in this situation? ..............................................................................………………………
  • Among what emerges, choose what best fits you in this situation.

…………………………………………………………………………….…………….…….

5) What “can I do to preserve the positive intention " “not to feel judged " and satisfy my need "to evolve "? What positive belief can replace the limiting belief?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

6) Challenge the belief: what first small step can I take to validate my new belief?

.................................................................................................................

7) How will I see that I have decreased or changed my belief?

Ex: I agreed to present my team's results at the Project Z. meeting composed of the managers of the various teams and/or their proxies.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

8) In hindsight, ask yourself the following questions when faced with a similar situation : 

  • What else could you have said to yourself? ....……………….…....
  • How does this different thinking make you feel? ......……….…...
  • What new actions are you considering? ...………………………..…...
  • What outcome would you like to achieve? ..……………………......

3. Conclusion :

To help you clarify the process of what happens in you during professional or even personal situations, we invite you to regularly answer these 7 or 8 questions (depending on the exercise that suits you best: at each situation you encounter that may cause you problems, in the evening or just after you experience it, to keep track of it and put it into writing).

It is essential in coaching to have a small notebook that you will keep with you!

Please note that when beliefs are strong, they have been in place for a long time, and it may take time to diminish or change them. Be patient and kind to yourself. Know how to let go and come back to it!