Last week we explored our reactions to the challenges of a tough job search. This week we want to look at core beliefs – what’s inside us that affects our reaction to the tough challenges of the search. Like last week, I’m relying heavily on the expertise of my wife, Camille, who deals with many of these issues in her professional life.
The decisions we make in our daily life are a dance between our conscious and unconscious. For example, after struggling to button my trousers, I make the conscious decision that I will exercise every morning at in an effort to lose weight. For a few days this works. I rise to the occasion, go to the gym and undertake a vigorous workout. After several days of working out, I notice that my trousers are not fitting any better. I hit the snooze on my alarm clock several days in a row – and miss the optimal workout time. Unconsciously I’ve made the decision to forego my exercising. Similarly, I can make a conscious decision to read a book a week to improve my mind. I visit the library and check out several promising books and begin my program of self improvement. However, I soon fall into old habits and patterns of nightly television viewing. Soon the books are returned unread. Again, upon being laid off from my current job, I consciously resolve to do anything it takes to get my career back on track. I network, I submit resumes, I follow up with phone calls. After not having my calls returned or not hearing from the companies to which I’ve submitted resumes, I find plenty of excuses to just surf the web, read interesting blogs and keep well informed about breaking news stories of boys adrift in balloons. When my efforts have not met with quick success, I find that I give up; I abandon my goals.
What happens? Why is it we can’t attain what we say we want? Why do we give up on ourselves?
It often comes down to our unconscious beliefs – sometimes referred to as core beliefs – that drive our decisions and behaviors and keep us from achieving our stated goals. This is when we give up. We make excuses that diminish who we are and our ability to be successful. Once we set into motion that core belief – the “I can’t do it; I’m not good or smart enough; I don’t deserve it,” – that becomes the driver that determines what we think, what we say, what we do and how we feel.
These core beliefs are determined by decisions we make at a very early age. Over time, they became a significant, unconscious part of who we are. How we respond to the world and how we “be” in the world (our intention) is determined, in large part, by these core beliefs, which become most apparent in times of great challenge and are often the grist for therapy.
Do you know what your core beliefs are? Do you realize how they affect your actions? Can you see how they keep you from achieving your goals?