Why You Should Understand Your Beliefs



The AHA Moment About Beliefs

I had an aha moment many years ago. I was quite young - about 20 years old. I had that young lady attitude, too: everything I stood for was right. I thought to myself, "I wasn't a teenager anymore," so I kind of believed I knew it all. Oh boy, was I wrong.

I was at a party, and this party was quite different from other parties. It was intellectual. We were discussing important things in life like existentialism and other philosophical perspectives. At that time in my life, I had a lot of perspectives, opinions, and beliefs that I stood grounded in, but had no real reasoning for them.

Towards the end of the party, I recall being quite adamant about a topic while having a conversation with someone, probably in their late twenties and someone that had achieved an undergraduate degree. At the end of the conversation, I thought this man was arrogant and obtuse, although I couldn't deny that he was definitely polite.

Whatever we were discussing, I was quite passionate about it. So we reciprocated our opinions back and forth. However, at one point, he asked me where I got my information from because I was so adamant about believing it to be "true." I was very black and white. At the end of the conversation, it boiled down to me coming to a realization that what I believed in to be "true" was simply that, "a belief" I picked up from my parents. And that was really what he was trying to point out to me.

The Educated Arse or Educated Helper?

He did a good job. Pissed me off. Irritated me. Annoyed me. I looked at him as some educated arse that was trying to flaunt his academic education and make me look like an ignorant arse. But, really, he was trying to get me to look from another perspective and to "critically analyze" where my beliefs came from. He used his questions in such a way to distill down my beliefs and where they were initiated. It was kind of like a taken-aback-aha-moment realizing that my adamant opinion was a belief that came from my parents way of thinking.

It was, most definitely, a shocker. At that point in my life - my early 20's - I didn't want to be 'like' my parents. Yet, I was. And I had to thank this man for challenging my way of thinking. His way of being really did inflame me, but, at the same time, I sit here over 30 years later still thinking about that moment in my life and how important it was.

Self-Evaluation

This man was able to use what he learned in school, the critical thinking aspect, by questioning me about my beliefs. After our conversation, I never again simply accepted my beliefs as truth anymore. Even if I had a strong belief that I lived by, at least, now, I could say that I did a lot of self-reflection and critical analysis to understand why I have them or want them. By having this clear awareness, I am able to monitor, adjust, and change them accordingly.

There are two reason this topic came about. First, because I am rethinking my way of doing coaching and how I want to present myself within my business. I'm considering podcasting. I have been told over the years of my life that I was a great host and a great interviewer. I can't stand the idea of constantly travelling for business purposes and this may be a way to go. But the point is that I needed to reevaluate my beliefs about why I was staying stuck in the idea that 1:1 coaching was the way to go or what I believed I "liked" the best. My oldest son asked me a question a couple of months ago, and said something to the effect that 'maybe I need to think completely differently from what I'm thinking right now.' He's throwing the same advice back at me as I say to others. :) So, here I am, thinking about my business in a completely different way which may transform into something quite different.

Know What You Stand For

Second, right now in the lower mainland (although it is across Canada, too) there are protests going on about indigenous rights. I support peaceful protests. Women's rights wouldn't have changed if we didn't consistently protest for our rights. However, a few of these protesters were interviewed yesterday. To my surprise, they had no idea why they were protesting! It's like having a belief system and not knowing why - the underlying issues. Shouldn't we all be aware of why we have certain beliefs or why we are protesting? Most definitely, otherwise we will not be credible to the majority of the public and our voices will be carried in vain. 

Know what you stand for. Know why you stand for it. But remember that what you stand for and why you stand for it today may change as you grow and change.

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