In Beliefs, Leaders

“Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The thoughts in my head today aren’t new. If you like you could go back and read this, and this, and this and get roughly the same idea. And yet every day I’m reminded that the topic is still relevant, that it’s still something we need to talk about.

What do you believe about yourself or your business? Sometimes I ask people that question and they look at me like I’m asking them to do some really heavy transcendental meditation (maybe that’s not a bad idea). It’s as though “beliefs” aren’t really part of the business realm. They’re things we keep private, that have to do with our personal lives or worldviews, but they really don’t matter in our organizations.

Nothing could be more wrong. The reality is that no matter the situation, whether it’s at home or at work or somewhere else, your behavior in any situation is driven by what you believe about that situation. No exceptions. Everything you do is done based on what you believe.

For example, let’s say you think your business needs to grow sales by 20% a year for the next three or four years. If you believe you’re a terrible salesperson who couldn’t sell a life preserver to a drowning man, how will you act? You’ll most likely sit around your office and come up with busywork that prevents you from actually going out and selling. Or, you’ll come up with people to blame for why sales aren’t going up the desired amount. One thing you won’t do – whatever it takes to get that 20%.

The reason is simple: You believe you aren’t able to do it, therefore why bother? You don’t want to consciously say “why bother?” because it doesn’t seem like the thing to say, but that’s essentially what’s happening. At best you won’t do anything. At worst, you’ll actually sabotage yourself so you can prove you were right all along.

The opposite is also true. If you think you’re a fantastic salesperson with all the tools to succeed, you’ll take the steps necessary to succeed. You’ll do all the little things that make the big things fall into place because you think it’s worth it, because you’re convinced it will work out.

That might all seem obvious, but the reality is that on a daily basis I hear the vast majority of people talking about their reality in a way that can’t possibly lead to success. I can’t, we can’t, it won’t, etc. Even from people who should know better.

So spend the next week paying attention to the things you say, and the things said by those around you. What really are your beliefs about your business? About your people? About yourself? If you don’t like what you’re hearing, then do something about it. And believe that you can.

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