Then you imagine a specific situation in the future in which the problem shows up.
Next, you take a moment to notice the feelings and thoughts that show up and write them down.
Finally, you ask “What would someone have to believe to have these thoughts and feelings in this situation?”
Here’s an example.
Annie had a fear of public speaking. When I asked her to imagine speaking in public in the future, she could feel some nervousness. When I asked her to notice some thoughts, she paused for a moment then said “I’ll do a bad job. I’ll forget what I have to say. I’ll be embarrassed.” Each of these thoughts helped us find some limiting beliefs.
I’ll do a bad job led us to “I’m not capable.”
I’ll forget what I have to say led us to” I’m not smart enough.”
I’ll be embarrassed came from “What makes me good enough is impressing others.”
Another client I worked with named Thandie was procrastinating when writing her book, I had her imagine writing the book. Her thoughts were “I’ll screw it up. I’ll start and won’t finish, so why bother.”
I’ll screw it up led to “I’m not competent.”
I’ll start and won’t finish came from “I don’t have what it takes to complete things.”
As is typically the case, many of the thoughts helped us discover limiting beliefs.
But what if you don’t have any thoughts? What do you do then?
Try this experiment. Sit silently for a few moments and think of nothing.
Really do that. Think of nothing for maybe ten seconds or so.
It’s likely thoughts showed up without you trying to make them show up. Even people who’ve meditated for years say their mind is rarely empty for long. The mind is a thinking machine. What can sometimes happen when a person says they have no thoughts when imagining a problematic situation is that they think the thoughts are not relevant. Here’s a clue: They are all relevant.
One mistake that can get in the way is holding onto an idea of what thoughts you should be finding. Instead, write down every thought that comes to mind.
- Thought discovery is a way to find limiting beliefs using our thoughts
- It involves imagining a problem, noticing thoughts, then connecting thoughts to beliefs
- If you don’t find thoughts, just let some time pass, thoughts will usually emerge.
Using thoughts to look for limiting beliefs is just one way we help our clients discover all the obstacles in the way of producing lasting change. It’s one reason that our clients often say we helped them find beliefs they never realized they had and why we help them change issues that had been in place for decades. If you’d like to make a lasting change in your life, you can sign up for a free strategy session. I’ll help you get in touch with your most important goals, the inner obstacles to achieving them and how to move forward. Here’s a link to sign up for a free strategy session.