Dare to Believe: Live the Life You Love

Whose dream are you living? When you’ve been plugging away at a career or life path, it can be hard to remember what pushed you in that direction. Take a moment to retrace your steps. Are you following your belief system or someone else’s? How you answer this question may be the reason you are (or are not) having success progressing toward your goal. Often, we live our lives under somebody else’s belief system, and these views can hold us back. These beliefs may be hidden because we often don’t even realize they are there. (For an example from my own life, listen to this interview on Talkingwithauthors.com.) We may also be living by our own limiting belief system that caps our potential. Finding happiness begins by identifying your own affirming beliefs, setting goals in line with those beliefs, and then making a plan to accomplish those goals.

What do we mean by “belief system”?

A belief can be “knowing that something will or will not happen.” In this context, a belief system is a series of accepted facts. “To be happy, you must find a secure job that affords you financial security,” might be part of one’s belief system. “To be fulfilled, you need a career that allows a solid work-life balance,” could be another. Elements of a belief system can also be specific to your individual skills. For example: “I am too quiet and shy to be an effective public speaker.”

Beliefs can propel you forward or hold you back.

The most important thing to remember is this: not all beliefs are created equal. If you’re striving to live within the bounds of someone else’s belief system, you may find yourself in conflict with your own. Electing to follow the path that’s not inherently yours can stand between you and happiness. Your own system, however, can also harbor limiting beliefs. It’s one thing to be realistic; it’s another to be self-defeating. Public speaking may not have been something you would have listed as an innate skill set, but it is one you can develop. Swap “I am too quiet and shy to be an effective public speaker” (a limiting belief) for “I can develop the skills necessary to be a competent presenter and here’s how I’m going to achieve that goal…” (a belief that will propel you forward.)

I believe in your beliefs, mostly.

Success can take a village. A good mentor is more than a cheerleader. It’s someone who can help you look at the same picture in a new way. Your support system of family, friends, and colleagues, should include people willing to respect your belief system. That doesn’t mean they’re always going to agree with you at every juncture. When you’re offered advice that’s in conflict with your initial approach, weigh it. Test it. Does it feel right? Is it congruent with your belief system? If it’s not, remember that it was advice, not a dictate. On the other hand, your mentor may be opening a door for you to squash your limiting belief. She may also be opening a window that provides a different approach to your goal. Trust your instinct. If the advice is right for you, you will know it. Remember, there will be people in your life who empower and inspire you, lifting you up with their beliefs and urging you on with their enthusiasm. You can shift your limiting beliefs into positive ones by building relationships with accomplished people who support your success. So, I’ll ask again. Are you allowing yourself to be limited by your beliefs or the beliefs of someone else in your life? Are you following a belief system that will allow you to live your dreams? What’s holding you back?