We previously began discussing the idea of “unconscious beliefs”—those beliefs we often form early in life that now run in the background and affect our choices and our approach to life and business. From the standpoint of business, these unconscious beliefs can actually impose limitations on how much success we achieve. To that end, I’d like you to consider the following statement:
You’ll only achieve the measure of success you believe you deserve.
Your unconscious beliefs can play a huge role in how much success you think you deserve. Once you hit that threshold with your law firm—whatever that level is—you won’t be able to move past it until you expose the underlying beliefs that are keeping you there.
Unconscious beliefs can take many forms, but for our purposes, let’s discuss two common issues attorneys may face when building their law firms—on opposite extremes of the spectrum.
Example 1: Let’s suppose you are implementing business growth principles for your firm, and you’ve achieved a level of success; but every time you make plans to open a new branch and expand your firm, you lose several key clients—just enough to prevent you from moving forward. Upon self-examination, you may discover an unconscious belief that causes you to be only comfortable with a small business and small staff. When you attempt to grow, you end up unconsciously offending clients as a form of self-sabotage.
Example 2: On the other side of the spectrum, let’s suppose you’re seeing substantial growth for your law firm, but you are perpetually driven and unsatisfied. Your family complains because you’re always working and you’re never home—and when you do try to take family time, you can’t seem to relax, and you’re always checking in with the office. You may have an unconscious belief that no matter what you do, it isn’t enough—or that if you stop even for a moment, you’ll lose what you’ve achieved. Either way, it has made you a workaholic.
Do you relate to either of these examples in some way? In both cases, the unconscious beliefs can limit success. In the first case, it translates to a cap on financial success; in the second, it’s a cap on personal satisfaction, and possibly even a threat to your health. (You could literally work yourself to death.)
Tips for Changing Unconscious Beliefs
Since our unconscious beliefs don’t form overnight, they take some time and soul searching to reverse. We can’t give you a one-size-fits-all formula for “fixing” your limiting beliefs, but the following steps can be a starting point for you:
1. Identify and verbalize the belief. Do some soul searching and jot down some negative things you believe about yourself. Examples might be “I’ll never be good enough,” “I can’t have nice things,” or something else. This might be a painful exercise, but eventually, the key belief will become apparent to you.
2. Source the belief. At what point did this belief form in you? Try to trace it back to its roots, perhaps a moment in childhood.
3. Challenge the belief. Every unconscious belief has some level of untruth. Cross-examine your belief; look at opposing evidence. (You’re a lawyer, after all.) Try to identify the lie you’ve come to accept as truth and call it out as a lie.
4. Reverse the belief. Once you’ve singled out the lie, begin countering it with the truth. Repeat that truth to yourself over time until you begin accepting it as your new reality.
Remember: You’ll only achieve the measure of success you believe you deserve. Changing the unconscious beliefs that limit you can raise the threshold of what you believe you deserve—and in so doing, you’ll remove the limitations on your law firm’s success.