Last week a good friend was talking about shifting a really deep-seated belief she has held ever since she can remember. It came as a real surprise to her that this belief was getting in her way. In my coaching programme I spend at least one session dealing with beliefs, particularly those that limit thinking and progress. How many of you held the belief that retirement was about old age, walking frames and wheelchairs – until, of course, you got there yourself?
What is a belief? Put simply it is something that we believe to be true, and sometimes it feels like every fibre in our body believes it to be so, but it is not factually true. Mostly we pick our beliefs up from our parents or teachers and they tend to be entrenched before we are 7. Most importantly, they act as lenses through which our view of life is determined.
My best example is the Maths teacher who told me at 14 that I was the “dud” member of my family with regard to Maths. Who was I to dispute it, so I believed what she said as I was struggling to understand what to do with those x’s and y’s that suddenly appeared in my beloved arithmetic? My parents, unaware of what had transpired, sent me for extra lessons with the same teacher and so I continued to struggle, because I believed what she had said. Fortunately for me she left at the end of the first term in my Matric year. Her replacement encouraged me to believe differently and I got a B for matric.
Beliefs can either limit or they can propel us forward, because they play a major role in our decision making. So what beliefs do you hold about retirement? For some who watched grandparents or even parents shrivel up and die soon after retiring, there may be a belief that retirement is the end of the road. Can you see how that would get in the way of planning for retirement to be the best phase of your life? Others may believe that retirement is essentially the same as going on holiday. Imagine their disappointment when they find that after 3 months they simply cannot continue trying to play golf EVERY day? These are very extreme examples to illustrate my point.
The important factor is that if we believe we will not succeed, we tackle things with a mind-set that anticipates failure and therefore we tend to fail. On the other hand if we go in to situations believing we will succeed, we are more likely to pull it off. In coaching, we unpack beliefs because of the powerful role they play in blocking achievement. Limiting beliefs can be turned around, but first we need awareness and I facilitate this process in my coaching sessions.
Many of my friends have looked on in awe at what I achieved last year. For me it was a major feat, but I knew in my heart of hearts that I could do it. I believed that it was possible and so I was able to make it happen. This is an example of being in touch with your positive beliefs and using this to propel you forward. My belief was based on the fact that I had built a house before and I have lived in new cities without support systems before. I had a strong belief that I could do it.
So, what will it take for you to believe that Retirement is going to be the best phase of your life? If you are not sure, why not book a session with me to unpack it?