The facts are everywhere and evidence to support those facts can be found in every board room, break room, cube farm, and executive suite. Did you know that Leaders go bald 83% faster than employees? Did you also know that aliens have landed in the middle of Times Square and Prince William’s new bride is really a turtle? Oh come on!
There is utterly no fact whatsoever behind the bald statistic, but just for fun, take note of how many times you look at those in your circle who are leaders and find yourself sneaking a peek at their head. We have a tendency to look for evidence to support what we already believe. And the easier it is to believe something or the more connected it is to something we already believe, or the more credible the source of the information, the more receptive we are to claiming the belief as true FACT! How might this work at the office?
If someone gossips about your new boss and says he’s a complete jerk and really hard to work with and you’ve already heard that from a third person, you’re more likely to believe he’s a jerk before you’ve even met the man. Then you’ll look for ways to corroborate your story. Is it a look? “Did he just sneer? Yep, he just sneered. Wow, he is a jerk. Who does he think he is?” What if that sneer was the covering up of a sneeze? What if you’d left that gossip on the grapevine instead of taking it with you as if it were true?
So many are saying times are tough, sales are down, customers aren’t committing or buying, and many more less than uplifting messages. What do you believe? That’s what you’ll see. If you truly believe that the economy will turn all of your customers away and keep them from saying yes, then like it or not, your sales approach will change slightly, your persistence will wan, and your tone will change when talking to the customer. Put it all together and you will begin to prove your belief about the economy right. What if you changed what you believe about how the economy affects your ability to sell versus your customer’s ability to buy?
Let’s look at a few other examples of how beliefs affect the workplace. Some employees will quit just because they believe you’re eventually going to conduct layoffs, based on one thing you said one time, taken out of context, but supporting their already held believe. Were you really going to conduct layoffs? They’ll never know. Some team members will assume you don’t like them and begin to believe that because you didn’t see them or say hello to them at the mall last month when you were talking on the phone but they didn’t see your headset, yet assumed you were ignoring them on purpose. Some colleagues will assume your stuck up, conceited, totally lucky and full of yourself because you never make it to happy hour, look completely focused all the time, and appear to be the boss’ favorite because you have the best numbers. They’ll tell others what they believe, look for ways to support their belief and treat you like you are those things, which may elicit that very kind of response from you and thus validate their initially false beliefs. If only they just believed you worked your buns off.
Much as it all sounds so easy, this concept can become a bit complicated, but the more simplistic truth is that your brain doesn’t like to be wrong about what it believes. Thus if you truly believe something, your brain looks for evidence to support that belief. It can be as simple as not thinking you are good enough to do whatever. Your brain will look for ways to support that belief and before you know it, you’re convinced that it’s actually true and your actions will reflect it. What if you were the kid in the Kenny Rogers song who missed every single ball he tossed in the air and swung at, who ended up saying he didn’t know he was the best pitcher around! Are you sure that what you believe is helping you? Are you sure that belief you’re starting to have is as true as you think? And would you rather be RIGHT about negative beliefs, or SUCCESSFUL, and dare I add, HAPPY?
Whichever you choose, it’s all contagious!