Who Says? – Experimenting with your core beliefs

Who Says?

On new year’s eve I read this tweet of my friend Marianne where she planned to ask ‘Who says?’ more often in 2017. This little question already made me think in this moment but I did not expect that it would keep working that long in my mind.

I find it easy to stick with one little sentence or task to work on – in contrast to turning bigger areas inside out all-at-once. It’s also way more effective; I literally can see the progress. Like in agile development: make small iterations & always deliver when they’re ending.

So this post is about asking Who says? and how it helps you personally and also in business.

When to ask

Do you know some of these sentences?

  • You need to do … in order to …
  • I must not do …
  • I cannot wear … when I am …
  • You should not do housework on Sundays!
  • You can’t leve a meeting before it’s over

Maybe you and/or people around your keep using these sentences. They express some kind of belief systems. They tell us what society expects from us. Some of them even might be tales from the childhood which are not be valid any longer.

(picture credits: Frits Ahlefeldt, license: CC BY-NC-ND)

All on them have in common that they restrict your freedom. They make you feel that you don’t have a choice. But actually you do have a choice.

What can help you with asking “Who says?” more often

Once you noticed these gremlin-voiced restrictions in your head which are pre-telling you how to act, how to behave, how to be. Once you are mindful enough to just notice them, the 1st big step is already made. All you have to do then is to check each of these self-restricting sentences by asking yourself: “Who says that?”. Be prepared that you might learn a shitload of old stuff from on your past!

What will change then

By questioning these old beliefs you find out which one is still valid & helpful for you and which ones are relicts from the past which are holding you back from further evolution.

Be prepared to find out why you do something or why you don’t do certain things.

Be prepared to find out which persons from the past still play big roles in your life.

Be prepared for revealing where the construction sites of your personal development are located.

Just one example: maybe your parents told you shouldn’t do housework on Sundays (even if it’s quiet work)… maybe they felt obliged by the society around them expecting catholic folks to honor The Almighty on Sundays by not doing housework. (I am not kiddin’ these are tales from the small Bavarian village where I grew up.)
Once you see the pattern, you know the mechanism, then you can choose: do quiet housework on Sundays (because on Sundays you do have time) respecting the need for rest and quiteness of other people while freeing you from restrictions from the past.

Another example: maybe a former boss freaked out when somebody left meetings too early so you somehow internalized you must not leave a meeting even if you can no longer contribute to it. Ever been to an Unconference? There it literally is required that you move on to another session if you cannot contribute or take out something. Once you’ve analyzed that one, you can decide what to do in the next superfluous meeting. I hope you dare to politely but clearly announce that you will dedicate your time to other tasks.

More on working with core beliefs?

Check out my Random New Year Ramblings where I wrote about the thought experiment of doing a mental ‘factory reset’. This is also a handy possibility to start experimenting with your core beliefs and maybe you’ll be finding yourself with spring-cleaning your belief system.

And you? Which experiences do you have when it comes to your beliefs? Like always, let me know what you think about my blogpost. Either by commenting, mailing or tweeting.