One of the most important questions we can ever ask ourselves is: “What do I believe is possible here?”
The reason is that whatever we believe – negative or positive – has a direct impact on our choices, our actions and therefore on our lives.
For example, I was recently describing to a friend who is in full time employment the “feast-and-famine” feeling that can sometimes go hand-in-hand with running a business: when I’m busy with clients and delivery there is less time available for networking and client-building conversations and activities … and if I take my eye off these and the pipeline starts to look wobbly, I can end up feeling wobbly, too. Maybe you can relate to this balancing act? My friend was aghast at the idea of a fluctuating income – “Don’t you get scared about how you will pay your bills?”
The truth is that I do sometimes worry. It’s part of being human. Through their study of the brain, neuroscientists have discovered that we have an inbuilt negativity bias, or as neuropsychologist Dr Nick Hanson neatly puts it:
“the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.”
So if I allow the worry to grow and take hold, I’ve noticed that my behaviour changes too. I’m less “sparkly” and positive when I’m out networking … I’m less inclined to make the follow-up calls that are part of an effective networking strategy, or if I do make the calls and someone happens not to be available it’s easy to add that to the negative Velcro and conclude that nobody really wants to hear from me.
Yet if I ask myself, “What do I believe is possible here?” the question lifts me away from the negative conclusions and takes me to a place of options and possibilities. Of course it is possible that someone doesn’t want to speak to me, but it is also possible that they were just busy when I called and that I could call them at a later date. It is also possible that the next call I make will lead to a positive conversation … a new connection who one day may become a client, or someone who is happy to refer others my way.
What is a belief anyway? One dictionary definition says that a belief is “an acceptance that something exists, or is true, especially one without proof” … that last phrase, “especially without proof” holds the key for me: at some point we have made a choice, a choice to believe in something. Beliefs are not facts, they are not truths, they are a creation that comes from our own thoughts and responses to the world around us. I wonder what more becomes possible for you – and for me – when we remember to ask “What do I believe is possible here?” I hope you will make use of this question next time you find yourself getting stuck to the Velcro. Let me know how it goes!
Jane Bytheway – The Unsticker
07977 732 186