Albert Ellis was a psychologist who developed Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT). He investigated beliefs (realistic and unrealistic) that we hold about ourselves, and identified 3 core beliefs that we all hold.
What are the 3 core beliefs and why are they important to be aware of?
The 3 core beliefs are:
~ firstly, the belief that I must be perfect;
~ second, everyone must like me, and
~ finally, that life must treat me well.
Now, I’m sure as you read these 3 core beliefs, your rational mind will be telling you that they are irrational and unrealistic. However, if you stop and really think about it, it is possible that you hold one or more of these beliefs to some extent, and they impact on, or sabotage your business success. But they also worm their way into your positive mindset and resilience.
The important thing is that you are able to recognise which of the core beliefs you hold, and how they might be undermining your ability to successfully build and market your business or sell your services. We are also going to look at how they can impact on your mindset.
A closer look at the 3 core beliefs
But first, let’s take a closer look at each of these core beliefs:
If I go to Wikipedia, we can see the extent and depth of these beliefs in their full forms as defined by Ellis:
I must be perfect :
“I absolutely MUST, under practically all conditions and at all times, perform well (or outstandingly well) and win the approval (or complete love) of significant others.
If I fail in these important—and sacred—respects, that is awful and I am a bad, incompetent, unworthy person, who will probably always fail and deserves to suffer.”
Everyone must like me:
“Other people with whom I relate or associate, absolutely MUST, under practically all conditions and at all times, treat me nicely, considerately and fairly.
Otherwise, it is terrible and they are rotten, bad, unworthy people who will always treat me badly and do not deserve a good life and should be severely punished for acting so abominably to me.”
Life must treat me well:
“The conditions under which I live absolutely MUST, at practically all times, be favorable, safe, hassle-free, and quickly and easily enjoyable, and if they are not that way it’s awful and horrible and I can’t bear it. I can’t ever enjoy myself at all.
My life is impossible and hardly worth living.”
Now I’m quite sure that as you read those beliefs intellectually you going: “Yeah, right” and thinking how completely unrealistic they are. And you’re right.
But the fact of the matter is that we do all hold these core beliefs or a mixture or them to some extent or another.
How do these core beliefs impact our businesses?
We might believe that we need to show up at all times with absolutely no flaws and in the most perfect way possible. That we need to have the answers to everything at our fingertips. This puts a LOT of unnecessary pressure on us.
I’d like to hope that we believe that we need to do our jobs in the most perfect way possible (which is not a terribly bad thing, as I think striving for quality has merit – don’t you?).
What about having everyone like us and treating us well all the time, and if not, it makes THEM rotten, bad and unworthy to mention only a few things?
A corollary of one of the core beliefs to help you test your assumptions
Do YOU like everyone that you come across? If not, you do realise that the corollary of this particular belief means that, if you don’t happen to get on with someone, it makes YOU rotten, worthy of punishment and undeserving of a good life.
When you start pulling them apart, they actually ARE ridiculous beliefs and expectations, aren’t they? But we still hold them as core beliefs and the surface when we really are honest with ourselves.
For example, I get frustrated and down when I agonise over creating valuable, educational videos and social media content, and people don’t RUSH to follow me on social media. What does it say about me? Is it a negative judgement on the quality of my work? When it comes to my audience and potential clients, what does it tell me about the impact of my work on them?
N-O-T-H-I-N-G! Absolutely nothing. It means that people are busy with their lives and may not have had time to read this article or to watch my video. It certainly doesn’t mean that my work is of a low standard or that I’m unlikeable.
Even coaches I admire were not instantaneous successes
In fact, I recently learned that two online course creators that I admire both only had two people sign up to their programmes the first time they launched. But they didn’t let it get them down. They came back fighting and a few years later, both have flourishing and extremely prosperous businesses.
How many of us hesitate to “put ourselves out there” or expose ourselves because we don’t believe we’re good enough or because we’re having a bout of imposter syndrome?
I was chatting to a colleague earlier today and admitted to her that, even after almost 20 years as a coach, I still have moments of imposter syndrome…and then proceeded to coach her into defining a fabulous niche for her business that she hadn’t even considered but has SUCH amazing potential – watch this space because I definitely think there’s room for us to collaborate.
Take action – even if it’s imperfect
My first lead magnet was (and still is) an ebook with 5 simple, but effective tips that ANYONE can implement immediately to get more visibility for their coaching practice. I fiddled and twiddled with it when I first created it.
It still sits in the back of my mind on my unwritten to-do list because it isn’t PERFECTLY brand aligned – I was still creating my professional brand at that stage. I’d like to re-do it aesthetically…and I will get there
Fortunately, at the time that I created it, I was part of a great mastermind and was able to ask their opinions about it. The ONLY change they suggested was to simplify the title by changing 1 word!
But it took me forever to actually feel that it was at a stage where it was okay – not perfect enough for my high standards – but okay enough to put out into the public domain. Well, actually, there’s nothing really wrong with it. Sure, a graphic designer could make it look incredible, but it’s good. It’s filled with 17 really valuable and solid information, and I’ve had great feedback from coaches who have downloaded it and implemented the actions in it.
Our core beliefs shift when we take action and as we become more experienced
The irony now is that I have 5 lead magnets ready to pull out when they are appropriate. They are all brand-aligned and work that I’m proud of. Our core beliefs SHIFT with our experience.
Creating a lead magnet (what the hell IS that) was a deep-dive into the world of online marketing for me this time last year. I had only just created my first successful one and started using it to build my connections.
A year later, it’s easy. I’ve got templates and I can just plug and play and respond to what my clients need at any one time to support them.
Our core beliefs about ourselves shift, if we allow ourselves to take action.
We hold ourselves back and procrastinate, which is actually our brain’s way of protecting us from something that it perceives as a threat of some sort. But we are simply our own worst enemy and there is that wonderful question about how you will feel a year from now if you start to follow your dream TODAY!
There is a popular quote: “Done is better than perfect.” I looked it up and it’s attributed to Sheryl Sandberg from her book, Lean In (apologies to Sheryl as I attributed it to Jenna Kutcher in the video below this article). It is so true: there is very little that we cannot go back and fix or improve – especially in the online world.
One of the reasons why “done is better than perfect” is that you can put something out into the public domain and test it – get feedback – and refine and improve it based on the feedback you get.
We all know that business is tough at the moment. So many coaches tell me that they are putting out proposals to clients and are being rejected out-right or being told that the client doesn’t have the budget or capacity right now.
That doesn’t say ANYTHING about the coach, the quality of their work or what they can do for their potential clients. It simply says that the time is not right. Times are tough for everyone. It doesn’t mean that the client doesn’t like the coach.
Build the “know, like, trust” factor
What we need to keep in mind is that this is a phase where we need to stick to our guns and to persevere. This is the season for building the “know, like, trust” factor with our clients – to support them in any way that we can, to keep the lines of communication open and to be patient.
Remember that it normally takes somewhere between 5 – 12 contacts for a successful transaction to take place. Actually, I heard someone say that this number has increased to about 30 points of contact because of how things have changed in the world.
Building resilience and taking action
We all need to be resilient and to build coping strategies to survive and thrive as our world changes, because who knows what kind of a world we will end up with?
Life is NOT fair or easy right now. It’s tough for most of us, and it’s going to continue to be tough for a while.
If is YOUR job to believe in yourself and what you do – that it is good enough. It is also YOUR job to learn to like yourself and not to depend on other people or outside influences for validation. Finally, it is YOUR job to keep calm and carry on, and to realise that life doesn’t feel fair right now but it will change – nothing is permanent.
Journaling assignment for personal insights and growth
I’d like to encourage you to journal on these core beliefs – because they’re powerful things and have major impact on what we believe we are capable of – and to explore how they might be sabotaging you in terms of achieving your dreams.
I also think that these core beliefs cycle. I think that different ones dominate at different times and that sometimes we struggle with feeling the need to be perfect, at other times we struggle with feeling that life has dealt us an unfair deal and at other times, we feel rejection when it wasn’t actually intended.
Think about it and be realistic and proactive rather than allowing untrue beliefs or assumptions to paralyse you.
Here is another article that you might also enjoy:
As well as this one: