When solving a problem, often defining it clearly is a valuable first step. Sometimes we even discover the barrier in the way once we’ve described it clearly. And when we want to improve our lives, defining what we want to change often helps us discover the beliefs in our way. That’s why in today’s post, I will show you how to get clear on what you want to be different so you can figure out exactly what’s in your way.

Theodore Giesel (pen name Dr. Seuss) was unhappy with one aspect of the 1966 animated movie “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” based on his book of the same name.

Was he unhappy with the animation? No.

Did he dislike the music? Nope.

What about the script? He was OK with that too.

What he was unhappy with was at the very end of the movie after the show was over — the credits. One thing was missing. The man who sang the song “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch” was not listed along with the other voice actors. In fact, he wasn’t mentioned at all.

The vocalist was Thurl Ravenscroft, who was also the voice of Tony The Tiger. So what did Seuss do? He couldn’t change the words at the end of the film, so instead, he wrote to newspaper columnists around the country to make sure Ravenscroft got acknowledgement for his work.

When Seuss wrote to those columnists his objective was crystal clear: to give credit where credit is due. Clarity about what’s wrong guides action. And when we want to help people make lasting changes in their lives, we also need to make clear what they want to change. Knowing this guides us in finding limiting beliefs. This is why we spend time clarifying the client’s pattern.

What is a pattern?

Patterns are emotions or behaviors that show up consistently. If you put off big projects regularly, that’s a pattern. If you are afraid when you speak in public, that’s a pattern. If you get angry when someone tells you what to do, that’s a pattern. For something to be a pattern, it must show up with some kind of regularity. Otherwise it’s just a single incident.

We define patterns to make it easier to find every belief causing the pattern.

If you’re only afraid to speak in public when someone in authority is in the room, you may have beliefs about people in power that contribute to your fear. If you only put off big projects, you may have beliefs about your abilities that get in your way. If you feel awkward when you receive compliments, you likely have a self belief holding you back. So we define the pattern because it gives us clues as to what you believe. And once we find the beliefs and eliminate them, the pattern changes.

To define a pattern, we ask two basic questions:

What behavior or emotion do you want to change?

And what’s an example of that?

For example, in his first session with me I asked Andrew “What behavior or emotion do you want to change?”

He mentioned that he was trying to start a business but wasn’t making much progress. He knew of things he could do such as networking and writing articles but he wasn’t doing them.

Next, I asked, “What’s an example of that?”

He mentioned that he had a day off from his work yesterday so he had time to work on an article idea he had. But he kept thinking of one thing after another to do that day instead. Eventually, it was 10 pm and time to go to bed. Not a word was written.

We defined his pattern as thinking of actions to move his business forward and doing other things instead. After identifying this pattern, we discovered that he believed “I’m not good enough” and “I don’t have what it takes.” Both of which led him to avoid doing what he called “the hard stuff.”

Another client named Peter responded to “What behavior or emotion do you want to change?” by telling me about how he would yell at his girlfriend if she moved his stuff. When I asked for an example, he told me about an incident that happened the day before in which he noticed several books and magazines had been moved from his coffee table.

He also noted that at work if he came back to his desk and noticed something was out of place he felt annoyed but didn’t know who to blame. After some discussion, it became clear that his pattern was feeling angry when anyone changed something about his things without permission. What did he believe? That the way to be in control of his life is to control his things.

But what if my beliefs are obvious, do I need a technique to find them?

If you already know some of your beliefs, you won’t need a strategy to find them. However, we have found that most patterns are caused by several beliefs and at least some of them are out of awareness. Only when the last belief is eliminated does the pattern change completely. So it’s good to know how to find all of them.


A pattern is a behavior or emotion that shows up consistently. We look for patterns because they are clues to finding limiting beliefs that get in our way. You can define patterns by asking “What behavior or emotion do you want to change?” and “What’s an example of that?”

When you want to change, defining the pattern in your way is a very useful step. As Dr. Seuss wrote “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” When the patterns that do not serve you are gone, you really can steer your life in any direction you want.

How to eliminate 19 beliefs that limit confidence

Why are people afraid to do new things? Why do they sometimes feel like impostors? Why aren’t they able to just assume they will figure out how to make things work?

The answer is limiting beliefs. Specifically, self-beliefs.

When you have a limiting belief about yourself, it’s hard to escape. You are with your “self” all day long. But when you change a self-belief what happens? The invisible barrier in your way seems to vanish.

Announcing Natural Confidence: A way to eliminate self-doubt

The Natural Confidence program isn’t a rah, rah cheerleader saying “you can do it.” We know that kind of message doesn’t lead to lasting change. Instead, it helps you unlearn the beliefs that keep you from knowing that you’ll find a way to reach your goals and overcome problems. When that happens, you experience the freedom to act. You can get Natural Confidence here and see the many success stories from people who tried the program. Go to www.NaturalConfidenceProgram.com.