You can have them back later …

… your limiting decisions and beliefs, that is

While I was taking a short break in Bali earlier this year, I took the opportunity to catch up on my reading. One of the books was ”Find Your Passion”) by Henry Juntilla, and in one of the exercises he asks the reader to set aside their worries and concerns about a topic, reassuring them: “you can have them back later”.

That made me think about how we tend to cling onto the conclusions and ‘evidence’ we have that support our belief that we can’t be, do, have or create whatever we choose. Why do we do that? It doesn’t exactly make sense, does it! If we can set aside our unhelpful preconceptions while we complete an exercise, what rule is there that says we have to pick them up again once it is over?

This somewhat bizarre behaviour is rooted in our unwitting reliance on our unconscious mind. Let me explain. My coach explains it very well – he refers to the unconscious mind as a 7-9 year old child who loves us very much, and has just two jobs to do – to keep us alive and to keep us safe. Unfortunately, like most well-meaning children, this one doesn’t always get things right.

Your unconscious knows that the familiar hasn’t harmed you in the past, so it concludes that it will be good for you in the future too. After all, you’re still alive, aren’t you? It doesn’t have the reasoning capacity to wonder whether the familiar might be leaving you unfulfilled. That sort of thing is down to the conscious mind (and the super-conscious), not our 7-9 year-old safety-monitor.

And because your unconscious is in charge of the basic stuff like safety and security, your conscious mind always checks in with it before doing anything or committing to any new way of being. That’s important, so I’ll say it again: the conscious *always* checks in with the unconscious – not the other way round. And the unconscious references its experience so far, to decide whether it’s going to support or resist this plan.

I often hear people say that what we do when drunk or drugged-up is what we unconsciously want to do, but when you are sober the conscious mind stops us. What if it was the other way around? What if it’s our conscious mind that knows how to be impulsive, what if it’s our conscious mind that wants adventure, what if it’s our conscious mind that is driven to try new stuff? And what if it’s our safety-seeking unconscious that normally puts the brakes on? Until we confuse it or put it to sleep with drugs and alcohol – allowing our madcap, thrill-seeking, adventurous *conscious* mind to let rip!

Great! So your conscious mind wants you to grow, and it’s that pesky unconscious that’s holding you back. So all you need to do is to get high and get the unconscious out of the way, right? No – sorry, but it’s not that simple. Drugs have this annoying habit of wearing off if you don’t keep topping them up – that’s sometimes known as addiction.

Something we do a lot of in coaching is called “temporary suspension of disbelief”. It’s when a coach says something like “OK, so you don’t know the answer – but if you did know, what would it be?” Have you noticed how often such a seemingly trite and mildly irritating question helps you to go past your blocks and those beliefs that don’t serve you? Ever wondered why that works?

And that brings us back to Henry’s assurance to his readers. The fact is, once you have set aside a limiting belief, even if you are only pretending, your unconscious now has a reference set that includes another possibility. So your grip on that limiting belief is forever loosened – or to put it another way, your unconscious is no longer quite so certain of its facts when your conscious checks in.

Here’s the great bit – because the unconscious is still in play, you don’t take those crazy risks that your intoxicated unconscious would be powerless to warn you away from. That means that, unlike drugs and booze, good questions from a professional coach really can create safe, lasting and permanent change – and set your fun-loving conscious mind free to achieve its – and your – complete potential.

If this article has got you thinking, and you would like to follow up on the ideas and see how you can take control of your decisions and results, let's have a chat!

About Andrew Horder

Founder of the blog at TheBusyFool.com, Andrew has been working with business owners for many years, helping them find and maintain their unique Focus - those activities and opportunities that they love, and will produce their success, what Andrew calls your Joyful Genius! Andrew's first book, The Busy Fool's a to Z of Loving Work is available from Amazon http://andrewhorder.com/amazon-azlw
About The Author

Andrew Horder

Founder of the blog at TheBusyFool.com, Andrew has been working with business owners for many years, helping them find and maintain their unique Focus - those activities and opportunities that they love, and will produce their success, what Andrew calls your Joyful Genius! Andrew's first book, The Busy Fool's a to Z of Loving Work is available from Amazon http://andrewhorder.com/amazon-azlw