By Sim Benson
Once upon a time, a boy asked his mum, “Mummy can I go to the moon” His mummy said, “Crazy boy, nobody can reach the moon, it is too far for us. Now go to sleep and don’t think about these crazy thoughts.”
This conversation would have been very sensible about half a decade back. Until the conversation between home base and Neil Armstrong was reported on July 20, 1969, “Tranquillity base here, Eagle has landed.” Man has now reached the moon.
A little earlier, in 1954, Roger Bannister broke the record for the ‘4-minute mile’. Before him, it was widely accepted that nobody could run a mile in less than four minutes. It was called the ‘Miracle Mile’ in his honour. What didn’t seem possible now was possible. Evidence: The record was broken about two months later.
A couple of centuries ago, people in quite a few parts of the western hemisphere believed that the earth was flat and the sun revolved around the earth. People like Columbus or Galileo were either rejected as heretics or lunatics. Now would you believe in what was prevalent at that point in time if you were living there then? Or would you have believed in say, Columbus or Galileo?
These were all people who believed in something that many of us could not even envision. They believed, then they saw it happen.
I first heard the phrase, “When you believe it, you will see it,” in Batam in 2002 when I attended my NLP Practitioner course. When this phrase was introduced to us, it felt special. Part of me believed it; part of me rejected it. I needed more evidence.
So I stuck this phrase together with a few other quotes from the NLP program onto the wall next to me in the office. I am a trainer that believes in the power of constant motivation. Interestingly, it didn’t take very long for the first remark to come… “Wow, that’s interesting,” someone teased, “I believe that I will own a BMW, how come still don’t have.” That started a string of jokes and I removed the phrase from my wall, defeated. Maybe I didn’t believe in it enough. I had doubts. I needed more evidence
I had the great opportunity to work with this 47-year-old lady whose favourite phrase was, ‘I can’t do it.’ She was attached to my work team as part of a job enrichment program and I was her assigned mentor. My immediate assignment was to find out why she had difficulties taking up new projects or developments even though comments from her bosses were that she had all the aptitude and skills to perform the given roles.
Reframing the situation I was in, I realised that she was very successful in her self talk.
The reason why she couldn’t do it was because she believed that she couldn’t and Presto! She really couldn’t. I wondered what would happen if she did. To help her was actually a very simple trick, just change the belief system and she would change. In fact, I joked about it with her later that the reason why she really couldn’t take up any new tasks or responsibilities was because she was exactly what she believed.
Becoming a Believer
I wondered where I should start? To help her believe pre-supposes that I myself had to start by believing that she actually COULD change. And that’s what I did. Subsequently, I used very simple rapport-building techniques to establish a relationship, so she could trust me and tell me her fears and struggles. I then invested patience and lots of understanding to help her to believe through using perceptual positions—this enables a person to see the same situation from three different points of view for better perspectives. Finally, I introduced ‘action and muscling’ time where she was to act on some of her new perspectives achieved.
In the subsequent three months, she was practising rapport-building skills with her staff and was even explaining the techniques she used successfully back to me.
She wrote reports, read new books (something she hadn’t done in years), attended different training programs and made changes to her belief systems. She told me, ‘ I didn’t dare to ask when I had doubts before, but now I just ask questions whenever I am in doubt”. She tells me, ‘I always say I can’t, but now when I say I can’t, I ask myself is it that I don’t want to or is it that I don’t know how to?’ At this juncture, she has just conducted a training session for some new staff and is mentoring a group of them.
As I went through the learning journey with her, I humbly realised how important the power of belief is. When she believed that she couldn’t, she was that person I first saw who couldn’t and never wanted to try, and when she believed, she was exactly the new person that I now see.
I write this today to share with you the power of your belief system. We are frequently short-changed by our limiting beliefs. To go to the moon, to break the 4-minute mile barrier, to change yourself the first thing you will need to be armed with, is a powerful belief system. I know that now…
A boy once asked his mum ‘why do some filled balloons go up and some fall to the ground’
His mum looked into his eyes and said lovingly, ‘Dearest, it’s really what you put inside that matters’
Sim Benson is passionate about customer servicing and training. He is a trainer who truly believes that training is about the creation of learning environments for people to develop themselves. Educated in English Language and Philosophy, he is also armed with a Diploma in Human Resource Development. He is also certified to train Achieving Extraordinary Customer Relations (Kaset International) and FISH! (Stephen Lundin).
Learning more about reframing and adopting empowering beliefs and perceptual positions through the NLP Practitioner Course or have a personalised consultation with us on how you can develop NLP and coaching capabilities to future-fit yourself.