I grew up in a Catholic working class family. We were taught to have a strong work ethic. Working hard was an underlying theme that ran through everything we did; from daily chores to going to church, to being in sports and doing homework.
I completely embraced this value, sometimes to the point of creating work just so I had something to work on and feel like I was worth something! This is an example of a value out of balance. Aside from the importance of working hard, I received the message (intended or not) that my self worth was based on my productivity. There is a huge difference between working hard for the joy of what you are doing and serving others, and working hard to feel good about yourself.
So, that was one belief I grew up with: work hard and life will be good to you. Now, couple that with a belief that rich people are “bad” people; they live off the backs of the common class, they take advantage of the poor, etc. This belief was not a directly taught belief. It was one I formed in my childhood as a result of listening to discussions about politics and to the nuns and priests talk about frugality and how God blessed their “not-having.” Without realizing it in consciousness, I tucked away all sorts of beliefs around work, money and how those two things “should” interact.
How did this conflict in beliefs show up for me? I worked very hard and every time I was on the brink of great success, I would sabotage myself! You see, I had to work hard to feel good about myself and if I had great success that translated into money, then I was living off the backs of others and that would not make me feel good about myself. Realizing this conflict, I was able to reframe my belief system and create a healthy relationship between me and money and work. Now I believe that money flow allows for more giving. This belief works for me.
I have coached with many clients that have also experienced conflicting belief systems they weren’t even aware of. Often times, you may discover a conflicting belief system when what you really desire keeps eluding you at your own hand. Exploring a client’s self-sabotage or patterns that appear to hinder their success can often lead to discovering conflicting beliefs that are creating dissonance for the client. It may not be in the same area as my experience; however, conflicting beliefs will often keep you in the hamster wheel with little understanding of why you end up there. We are not always conscious of our belief systems, especially if they were formed in childhood. And in the normal course of conversation, we don’t talk about beliefs the way we talk about current day issues.
Getting to belief systems takes a discovery process. You have to pay attention to your own negative talk, excuse making, frustrations, assumptions and ask yourself: “what do I believe about this? How is this belief supporting or detracting from what I desire for my life?” This is a good place to start!
Even better: if you feel like you have been in the hamster wheel for a while, reach out! Working with a Life Coach will help you to become clear so you are better able to make choices that support what you want for yourself and then establish supporting values and beliefs.