How do you get a group of shoppers to pay $600 for $35 shoes?

In 2018, several Instagram influencers were invited to a Santa Monica pop-up boutique created by Italian designer Bruno Palessi. Inside, the surroundings were luxurious and the shoes were showcased elegantly on glass backlit displays.

One of the influencers after trying on some shoes said “I would pay $400, $500. People are going to be like, ‘Where did you get those? Those are amazing.’ ”

Little did she know that there was no designer called Palessi. And the shoes she was trying on would cost a tenth of what she was willing to pay. They were shoes from the discount shoe retailer Payless, as were all of the other shoes in the store. The entire event was recorded on video and posted online. Payless created this prank to prove that it offered quality shoes albeit at a steep discount compared to high-end retailers.

But why were these influencer’s fooled?

All of us are influenced by factors outside our awareness. In this case, a luxurious store and a fashionable-sounding name changed perception enough to lead people to pay high prices for inexpensive shoes.

When we act in ways that don’t work for us, we too are influenced by a factor we are unaware of — hidden beliefs. Since we are not aware of them, they run in the background keeping us from doing what really matters to us. So how do we find these hidden beliefs? We use the Self Belief Question.

What is the Self Belief Question? And why is it so effective?

The Self Belief Question is “What would that mean about you?”

This question works by getting to the heart of something painful we all avoid — negative judgments about ourselves. No one wants to think they are inadequate, or incompetent, or untrustworthy, or stupid, or boring or (fill in the blank.).

We want to see ourselves in a positive light. That’s why we sometimes have to ask a targeted question to get to what’s really in our way. We want to uncover a core belief about ourselves and asking this question gets you there.

For example, I had a client who was putting off tasks that could help him grow his business. I had him imagine he’s about to send an email to an important prospect.

I asked, “What do you feel as you imagine this?”

“Fear,” was his answer.

“What thoughts show up?”

“I’ll screw it up.”

Then I pulled out my self-belief question

“And if you screw it up, what will that mean about you?”

“That I’m a failure.”

Just minutes before he told me he didn’t have negative beliefs about himself. After this exercise he could generate them on his own. As you can see, this question is helpful when you experience fear, guilt, or shame.

But the self-belief question is helpful when you’re angry towards others as well

Another client, Andrew, would get angry when others made a mistake. Including his wife and his business partner. I asked him to imagine he was seeing his business partner make a recent error then notice what thoughts showed up.

He said, “This sounds terrible. I like my business partner. But if I’m honest, what shows up is that he’s incompetent … and … I can’t trust him.”

I asked, “What does that mean about you that you trusted him and he made a mistake?”

He stopped for a moment. ” He then spoke slowly and said, ” I guess I’m judging myself too. That … I’m incompetent.”

Again, a self-belief came to light by merely asking about how we evaluate ourselves. This is a question you can use when you want to find beliefs that cause you to feel fear or anger in specific situations.

But are all the important beliefs about myself?

The question “What does that mean about you?” will typically surface self-beliefs. However, those are not the only beliefs we need to uncover. We also need to find survival strategy beliefs and if-then beliefs which also contribute to our issues. However, the self-beliefs are the ones we are most likely to hide even from ourselves. So that’s why it’s so useful to have questions specifically designed to uncover them.


-People naturally avoid noticing negative judgments about themselves

-To get past this natural avoidance, we ask the Self Belief Question

-This question works because it directly asks about how we judge ourselves

Now you know to ask the Self Belief Question to help you uncover beliefs that may be in your way. But what can you do when you find them? You can use our free program to help you get rid of three beliefs you might find.

You can get it at

How to find multiple passions that give life meaning

When we are not in touch with what truly matters to us, life can feel a bit empty. We know there is something more than just doing, doing and more doing but can’t seem to get off the treadmill. And if we stopped all this activity for a few moments, we may not even know what we’d do with ourselves. But when you get clear on your passions you know what truly moves you and why. Life sparkles. There is more joy. And you have clarity that guides you in making powerful choices that can change your life.

My friend Janet Attwood will be conducting a webinar on two dates — September 26 and September 27 — that will show you how to get in touch with what truly matters to you, freeing you from the activity trap — doing more and more yet not feeling fulfilled.

Click here to find out more and sign up