“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” -Queen Of Hearts.
I like to play with beliefs… my own and other people’s.
Even though my partner asks me to have more discretion, to me, Facebook is a huge playground.
After I post some things, I wonder how many people with unfriend me because they get ticked off… or how many people will play.
Recently I have been having a bit of fun with people over the authenticity of President Obama’s Birth Certificate.
While I have my own beliefs on what is happening, I am not stuck on those beliefs. I like to go from what I think I believe to what I don’t believe or don’t even want to believe.
Because it reveals how I believe what I believe… to myself.
Why is that important? Because it can show me how I might be blocking data based on a belief.
Let me go down the rabbit hole a bit with some examples that will hopefully let you see how important — and how powerful — this can be for you.
One of my biggest learning experiences came at a seminar I was at over 15 years ago. I was doing some therapy to a lady who was a former Nun. We were working on values and beliefs. And I couldn’t make any problems with this woman. As she stated her beliefs, I asked her if it was like X or Y…and she said, “No, it what I said it is.” I would ask, “so it is like Z?” And she would say “NO” is it exactly as I said it was.
What was happening was I was trying to make her reality fit within my reality so I could understand it. When I asked the seminar teacher what I could do, he said to me that I should maybe just go with what she said even though I didn’t understand. He further said that the process didn’t require my understanding to make it work.
I thought this was impossible, I thought I had to understand first. In essence, I was not learning anything new if I kept within my model. So I kept on with the process even though I didn’t understand her model, and she had a wonderful healing from it.
After the process was over and she got incredible movement, I, too, had a major shift and that shift then helped me to see (understand) what I was looking for earlier from her.
I had to go past my comfort zone of what I believed was possible for me, and I had to keep giving to this woman even though I didn’t understand her beliefs.
This may seem easy enough to do — but trust me — it is impossible when you are at the edge of your safe and familiar zone of beliefs. You enter into the “Twighlight Zone” of beliefs where anything can and will happen.
If you are committed to being right, you will find it impossible.
But if you will allow yourself the possibility of being wrong, it becomes possible.
With the former nun, I was absolutely right in wanting to know what I wanted to know and I could defend it like a top notch lawyer.
Was I going to be able to help this woman if I walked away in my right-ness? Would I maybe learn something new that might make me a better therapist and person? Could I set aside my beliefs and adopt hers? Could I make her right?
When I did move ahead I experienced a wonderful feeling, one quite different from what my fear of being wrong was telling me I would feel. I felt a release from the weight of wanting to be right, and with this release came a peace and a compassion. I could now use this compassion – and I did – to facilitate healing with this woman.
This new feeling and the new Data that came with it showed me what part of me I had been missing. It wasn’t what my fear had promised, in fact it was the exact opposite. A huge lesson that would now make it a bit easier next time to say yes to believing the impossible.
A wife of a famous coach once said that she had no idea why her husband did coaching and charged so much for it because he wasn’t good at it at all, and he didn’t like doing it.
What I can tell you about this man was I believed what his wife had said. The reason I think was the case was that he didn’t like it when his beliefs were challenged. As a matter of fact, he hated it and would fight like a pit bull to be right while pretending to to be nice to people. He obviously had not learned what I did with the former nun, and not knowing this was holding him back.
It has also made him lose quite a bit in his life. But at least he’s still right.
The funny thing is that when I do coaching I can do both now. I can hold onto my beliefs and totally accept and adopt those of others when doing the work. If you have changed enough of your own personal beliefs over time, the idea of any belief you hold dear changing doesn’t carry the weight it once did and doesn’t require effort to defend it.
In fact, I will look for counter information that challenges them, and believe it. I always get new data that is useful whether I return to the belief or expand it to something new.
To me what makes a good coach or salesperson or businessperson is your ability to understand your customer and even more powerful is to be able acknowledge their beliefs without judgment. People feel this and trust you. They don’t necessarily need to know you hold the same belief…they just need to know you get it without judging them.
In a recent Andrew Austin seminar in Boulder, Colorado, Andrew said over and over again that (and I am paraphrasing here) one of the biggest keys in helping people was to take people literally when they talk. Like the former nun wanted me to do.
The guy that is the coach couldn’t do that because he was too worried about protecting his own truth than the people he is coaching, and it comes through to people and even his wife. People know he really doesn’t know what they are experiencing so they close down. A missed opportunity. For both the coach and the customer.
There is a book I recommend you read called “Improv.” It comes highly recommended from a lot of different folks. The premise as I see it (though I am willing to see it differently) is to say “Yes.” So if one of your fellow improvasationalists starts to do something silly, you don’t say no and do something else. You say, “Yes, and…” and you go along with what they are doing… past whatever you feel or believe about what they are doing. You have to say “Yes, and…” and you have to go right past your own beliefs and as you are falling in the land of the unknown and you keep saying “Yes, and…” Magical things happen in this space. People get entertained and laugh. You have to go past your resistance, you have to go past what doesn’t feel “right,” go past what you don’t want, and the moment people sense you past your resistant no, they love it.
Can you get past your “Resistant No?” Can you find your creative opening in “yes, and…?”
In Chicago, the famous creative comedy group Second City is brought into corporate settings to teach executives the power of “yes, and…” so that executives can find the place within them where new opportunities exist.
Recently, I spoke at a professional seminar. It was one of the few seminars in which I attended wearing a suit and tie. I started to play with this concept at this seminar. I thought the person hosting the seminar might come unglued, but it was an interesting experiment. I asked the people at the seminar whether or not we really went to the moon. I told folks there were plenty of pictures on the NASA web site that look odd, and make me wonder. There are pictures of the lunar module in different places without tire tracks to get it there, and then pictures of tire tracks but the module still on the lander. The seminar leader interrupted me, begging me to please tell people we went to the moon, please!
You see, he was saying NO before I was complete with the presentation, or even wondering where I might be going with it.
I actually found it humorous.
But here’s the point: if you start to believe that we didn’t actually go to the moon, you start to hear a voice in your head that gives you all of the objections of why this is not true. You start to feel that feeling… your WHOLE SYSTEM might be upset. But you will see the place where you are resistant. And you’ll see, hear, and feel the markers you need to come to terms with before you can make changes in other areas of your life.
Like the areas of your life where you are blocking wealth, love, happiness, health, productivity and all of that good stuff that seems to be just beyond your experience.
Yes. The same voice that tells you that you it is crazy… we definitely went to the moon for sure… this is the same resistant voice that tells you that you can’t lose weight, you can’t write a book, you can’t get up and speak in front of people. It’s the same voice that reminds you not to be too vulnerable in telling someone how much you really love them.
I want to know what keeps me from growing in greater experiences. what inside of me stops me saying “this is impossible.”
If I can discover the voice that stops me, or you, I can begin to get you past “impossible” for you, too.
The “cupcake monster” is very real at the moment for my almost-3-year old daughter. I can make fun of it, or I can get her to see the reality of it. Or I can connect with her and show her that our relationship is more important than whether or not I think the cupcake monster is real. If it is real to my daughter, then it is real to me. I want to know everything about this cupcake monster without judging her for it. I want to let her know that I have skills that can help her overcome the monster, if she wants, or help her build her own skills, or I can do nothing more than show her that at I care about what she thinks and feels.
I don’t know how many times at a certain point of asking her questions about the cupcake monster (it was spooky scary skeletons in the past), she will smile and come over and tell me she loves me.
We have been through many monsters together. Monsters that might still be in her 30-40 years later hidden away causing unwanted behaviors like they might be in you or me now.
Sometimes when I do work with people…the same thing happens. People will grow right out of their issue from 40 years ago because they have found someone who acknowledges their beliefs without judging and is curious enough to find out a bit more about their cupcake monster.
Go past your “No” to a different “know.”
You have so many gifts waiting for you…and you can always come back.
By the way, did you know Obama’s new birth certificate is a fake? 🙂