As children we adopt a belief system based on the belief system of our parents. Depending on the parenting style, we are likely rewarded and reinforced for doing what these teachers think is good. We are criticized and penalized for what is bad. It is how we learn to stay safe. It is how we fit in.
Negative feedback can be helpful in an urgent situation such as a hot stove. Not so much when it comes to development, leaving us feeling as if we don’t belong unless we are ‘good.’
As adults we live out this belief system and learned perspectives. When life sends us a difficult situation often we internalize this as having been “bad” and deserving of this hardship. “Must be something wrong with me.”
Beliefs translate to behaviors. If we grew up around anxiety we’ll likely address discord with it. If we grew up around positivity we’ll find the good. Often negative life messages are merely assumptions but we are conditioned to adopt them as true in an attempt to keep us safe.
Careers are difficult to maneuver when we allow our learned beliefs to drive our actions. We play it safe, not applying for stretch jobs because we don’t want to feel rejected. We fear we won’t fit in and internalize not being good enough, resulting in distant behavior which only compounds disconnectedness. Anxiety leads to losing our executive presence because we can’t manage our fears in the moment – fears based in a belief system that isn’t authentic but learned.
When we can untangle the difference between “assumptions” and “truth” we have power. We can observe our behavior and feelings from a third-party perspective and write a different ending to our story instead of fast forwarding and anticipating a doom-and-gloom ending. We can adopt our OWN belief system by writing down our values and weighing our perspectives against them when seeking clarity. Not defaulting to a learned belief system.
What do you truly believe is important in life? And how do you want to live to that standard? If you know the answer, your character will be evident and your behavior will be consistent. If not, your colleagues and clients are unclear as well.
Wishing you clarity, defined values and the power to slow down enough to open a new chapter in your story. Your book is not already written but still unfolding. You have the pen.
If you feel the pain of career stagnation, age bias, lack of executive presence or are anxious about your effectiveness I invite you to get on a call with me to see if coaching is a good fit. With 19 years in the executive office and 10 years as an ICF certified coach I can give you a fresh perspective. Request a free consultation here.
If solid career planning, identifying your transferable skills and good goal setting are important to you, get my FREE video where I walk you through how to advance, gain respect, get a new job or promotion >>> Three Ways to Move to the Next Level in Your Career Right Now.
P.S. Feel free to send this link to someone who could benefit from it. We are all walking down the same road in life.
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and 18-year corporate CEO who helps leaders have more effective careers, happier lives and better relationships. If you don't know where you will be at the end of year, you are already there. www.MaryLeeGannon.com
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