In our small, shared office, I inadvertently hear what Neil says to clients – not what they say back! He also hears me. We try to tune each other out as we are both working, but sometimes one of us phrases the work we do in a brilliant way.
Today, during a coaching call, Neil said, “What do you need to believe to take that action?”
It was not a new comment, but it inspired me. Believe, what do I need to believe? What do our clients need to believe?
First, let’s take apart need. As social organisms, belonging is critically important to our resilience. As Bessel van der Kolk in a talk with Krista Tippet on OnBeing says what all people need is to be seen, believed, and loved, despite their challenges. Basically, their essential need for belonging is met.
Van der Kolk began his career as a psychiatrist for veterans returning from the Vietnam War. His popular book The Body Keeps Score speaks of how we hold trauma as experiences in our body, not as stories in our minds. Need lives in the body and the mind gathers words to describe the need.
The felt sense of belonging, of being seen, and of being respected is ineffable. Need happens in the body. And most of us are so disconnected from our bodies that we don’t know what we need.
Tell me what do you need, like really need, that would help you feel a profound sense of belonging? If you don’t know, then consider this a path to explore.
Now onto belief, which is an interesting concept. Beliefs must be developed to form opinions and take action. If the beliefs that drive our decisions create positive results or outcomes, we use them again and again. They become well-practiced, dependable, and valued patterns of action. They solidify into mental models and fixed opinions.
As no one person has the market on truth, your truth – belief, mental model, or opinion – eventually begins to show signs of wear. The behaviors that served you when you were younger, no longer serve you as well as you age.
Even our teenagers realize this. They have more neuroplasticity and less life experience to weigh change against, so the transition is easier for them. For older people, who have built success from these mental models and beliefs, you need to know that your shift will again produce success. This is hard to prove and again the body reminds you that change is difficult.
As you move to shift your mental models, your body and mind remind you of the successes you achieved with your current patterns of action. This happens through gut feeling, confusion, heartache, or other bodily signs as you embark on a new path.
As completely normal as these feelings during any change, your mind and body make meaning of it – solidified mental models – and remind you via sensation that the path forward is untrod and you really don’t know if you will be safe.
Seeing the repetition here? Change is hard. Patterns are comfortable. Every client we work with experiences a disruption at some point if they apply effort to expand their beliefs and uncover their needs.
Every client of ours who has worked to expand their mental models, opinions, and skills has achieved states of success they thought were out of reach.
What you seek may feel like a mountain, but it is really a paper-thin veil. With the right guides, you will attain the summit and descend to safety.
Interested in a supported disruption of your patterns? We have a few options.
Our Foundations in Leadership Development Program is a start. This program leads you through our five foundational skills every leader needs to move confidently toward change. Enrollment in this program is revolving.
Want to reclaim your passion for your work? Recover your why through Reconnect. The program begins in February and is cohort-based and time-limited – eight sessions over five months.
Want to dig deeper and be ready for a life-shifting change? Try our Nourish Winter program that begins in December. This program is for people experienced with our work. Contact us if you are curious. If you are certain you are ready, sign up here.
What do you need to believe to take a step toward success?