Spring cleaning for our minds?

It’s been over six months since we moved to Norway, and I’ve been learning so many new things.

As a newcomer to a culture, it’s interesting to see how things work and how consistent some messages are throughout a culture. For example, in my Norwegian language and social studies class I’ve been taught that Norwegians are private people, and they are hard to get to know. I’ve shared that sentiment with many Norwegians and they pretty much all agree; it’s an extremely consistent message which I find fascinating. How did it become so consistent – what has that taken for a lot of people in a single culture to have such a consistent message?

This has me see how cultures could be formed if we chose to do that by choice – with a team or company, for example.

But this post isn’t really about that. It’s more about finding our own embedded messages – whether from a culture, family or other childhood experiences.

The experience of the last six months has invited me to look at some of my own embedded beliefs about myself and what’s normal for me. What I’m most focused on at the moment is the realisation that I have a pretty deep-seated belief that I cannot learn a new language – even though I’ve tried learning different languages in the past and made some progress but never enough to become fluent or even functional. I can see now that I didn’t really give French a chance! One hour a week is not enough to study a language.

I spend 9 hours a week in Norwegian class, plus a few hours on homework and a few more on Duolingo (which I highly recommend as a great starting point for learning a language). Even with that it will take me another year to get to a decent conversational level. This is normal and it seems language teachers really do know what they’re doing.

Oh. I see. It takes a lot of work, focus, practice. (I laugh to myself). There are many moments that show me that I’m likely to get there. Eventually. And that means that perhaps I should let go of my old belief that it’s not possible. I think it gets in my way – it keeps me from really trying sometimes.

I certainly need to let go of the belief that I have to be perfect at something before I engage with it (that’s a hard one!). Because it really helps to speak a lot, and of course it will be imperfect at first. Yuk. But OK, I’m trying!  I recognise these beliefs I’ve pointed out to others during my decades of training coaches – it seems very much the same. And I’m sure thoughts and beliefs like these get in our way as we attempt to learn new skills or new ways of being in the world.

So here’s an invitation for all of us to do some internal spring cleaning:

Ask: What beliefs (perhaps silent, hidden and possibly hard-to-find) create boundaries and limitations on our lives?

Ask yourself: What do you wish you could do and what tells you that you can’t?

Listen to your internal conversation and listen for the naysayer or the limiting voice.

We’ve probably all done this – I’ve certainly worked on self-limiting beliefs for decades, but it seems there’s always more uncovering to do!

So, let’s identify these old beliefs and clean them out so we can get on with the business of progress and doing what we really want to do.

Coaches Going Corporate

Coaches Going Corporate

Coaches Going Corporate helps coaches effectively work with clients’ mindsets and thought patterns that get in their way.

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