I've been lucky enough to be a coach to 100+ individuals in the tech world for the last three years, and 9/10 times, the most significant improvements people make in their lives happen when they finally identify their beliefs and actively choose more accurate and empowering ones.
What are Beliefs?
To understand beliefs, let's start with an exercise.
Complete the sentences below (and do not move on until you do!):
- Work is _______.
- My manager is _______.
- Customer education at my company is _______.
- My success at work is determined by _______.
- Others perceive my work as _______.
- My growth at my company is _______.
What you said above -- those are your beliefs!
So what is a belief?
A belief is something you believe or accept to be true.
We often learn them subconsciously from our parents, teachers, peers, friends, life partners, society, media, stories we hear, observations we make, experiences we have, and more.
Beliefs are all about perception.
They're your perception of the way things are and what you hold to be true.
But, this does not mean that your belief is actually true.
Examples of Beliefs
Some other beliefs people might have are:
- Work is frustrating
- My manager is dumb
- Customer education isn't a respected field
- Customer education is appreciated at my company
- I'm an introvert
- I'm good at communicating
- I'm a perfectionist
- I'm bad at workplace politics
- I'm too young/old
- I'm not experienced enough yet
- I'm a bad writer. (This was mine & I decided this was true when Mrs Murphy told me in my 10th grade Women and Literature class that I wasn't a good writer.)
Beliefs as a whole aren't bad.
As you may have noticed from the examples above, beliefs can be empowering and open up our life to greatness, or they can be limiting and create a small box that we live inside.
It's when they prevent us from seeing a situation accurately, thus negatively impacting how we show up at work and in life is when they become a problem.
Below are some common beliefs we hear from Customer Education professionals:
- My exec team doesn't "get" it
- My manager doesn't "get" it
- People don't understand what I do & why it matters
- Resources at my company are scarce
- There isn't enough ROI data
- Customer Education is too new of a field and so there isn't enough supporting research/data
Which one of these feels familiar to you?
If none, think to the first exercise above and consider how you filled in the work-related beliefs (e.g. "Work is _______." "My manager is _______.", etc.)
How Beliefs Impact Our Work
When we are not aware of our own subconscious beliefs, they end up impacting everything.
They impact our thoughts, emotions, decisions, actions, and outcomes:
Take for example the common CE belief above: "My exec team doesn't "get" it."
If you believed that your executive team doesn't get customer education and why it matters to the business that would significantly impact the work you do and don't do.
It would impact the amount of energy you put into work.
It would impact if and how you advocate for yourself and your learners.
It would impact if and how you work with others.
It would impact your level of communication and your tone when communicating.
It would impact how you feel about your work, and whether you feel seen, recognized, or appreciated.
It would impact the results you're able to achieve.
It would impact your happiness at work.
And it may even impact your work at future companies if you have a global belief that "all executives don't get customer education."
From the example above, it's clear how a single belief can change the course of our careers and our lives forever.
Our beliefs also create our personal reality.
Have you ever bought a new car, and immediately started to see the same model everywhere on the road?
It's called confirmation bias, and it's the same phenomenon, but in this case, applied to your beliefs.
When you have a belief that you're unaware of, you seek out examples and evidence of it's truth throughout your everyday further entrenching this limiting belief and it's stronghold on your life.
In essence, you find what you look for.
But again, just because you can find evidence for it doesn't mean it's the accurate picture or truth.
How to upgrade your beliefs
Often referred to as the "e-brake" to success, it is essential to upgrade them. Just as you would upgrade the software on your phone regularly, successful leaders regularly update their mental software which is all about beliefs.
But upgrading your beliefs alone is no easy task.
It usually requires a thought partner who can listen closely to help you uncover them, dismantle them, and then choose more accurate and empowering beliefs.
Additionally, the longer you've lived with this belief and operated in the world believing it's accuracy, the more challenging it is to dismantle as well because they're familiar to you (even if you don't like them).
If you're ready to identify and upgrade your beliefs, join an upcoming Beliefs Workshop. They're designed to help customer educational professionals identify the limiting beliefs blocking success and remove them so you can show up competently and confidently. We're currently mid-chort, but you can register to be notified of an upcoming cohort here.
What we do at SaaS Academy Advisors
We spend our days advising high-growth B2B SaaS businesses on how to start and scale their Customer Education and Academy programs.
If you're considering launching an Academy program or doubling down on an existing initiative we'd love to chat (and fear not, there's no sales pitch).