Creating new beliefs: brilliance or heresy?
Would you think me insane if I suggested that you can pick whatever belief you want, and change it when you want to? Do you know that you aren’t just born with beliefs, that they aren’t inherent to who you are?
Do you feel defensive or put off when I say that? If so, you’re not alone. After all, our beliefs give us security by validating how we feel.
Most people hold tightly to their beliefs and when we talk about belief, it is often tied to religion, politics, or human rights. Belief is erroneously equated to truth.
We can’t just pick what is true, we can’t create truth. Or can we? And do we want to?
Good news, this is not a political or religious missive. It’s something much more useful (and less divisive). It is the key to loving the job you can’t afford to leave. I assure you, not only is it possible, it is so much easier than facing every work day with dread and resistance.
Creating new beliefs (not redefining truth) is the key to loving the reality of your current job situation.
First, let’s look at some definitions.
Create: to bring it into existence or being.
Belief: something that is accepted to be true. (Something that is ACCEPTED to be true, not necessarily the truth itself.)
Creativity: the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations.
Ok, so how does this help us on Sunday night when we are binge watching another episode of Blacklist instead of going to bed because we just don’t want Monday morning to come? In order to understand this we have to identify what our current beliefs are about work. Resist the urge to say you don’t have any beliefs about work until you read these.
They expect too much from us.
I don’t have enough help.
This job is killing me.
Management doesn’t care about us.
It’s sucking out my soul.
My coworkers are toxic.
These are beliefs, even if they FEEL 100% true. That’s exactly how beliefs are supposed to feel.
But these beliefs are not going to push you to happily prep your lunch and go to bed early, excited to face the next work day. I’m sure we can all agree that these beliefs are getting us nowhere good. What if we could get rid of these beliefs and pick new ones? What if we could CREATE something that feels great instead of trying to numb our negative feelings with wine and Netflix?
This is where creating new beliefs comes in. This is where the super power of creativity can shine. What if we CAN “transcend traditional ideas” (like work sucks) and create meaningful new ideas (like I can be happy here)?
Now I’m not suggestion a Law of Attraction 101 approach of just mantra-ing the opposite of each of these sentences ie:
Management IS supporting us or my coworkers AREN’T toxic.
You can try this but your brain will reject this as false and then all hope of belief forming is lost. For something to be a belief it has to be ACCEPTED as true. So how the heck do we do that?
We start with creativity- how could we redo each of these sentences to intentionally pick a belief that makes us feel good instead of going with the crappy default one? The trick here is not to focus on the opposite of the default, crappy, work-sucks belief but to find a related belief that is rooted in yourself, one that you can 100% control.
1. They expect too much from us:
Counter- thought: I expect a lot from myself so I know I will do enough.
2. I don’t have enough help:
Counter- thought: I always do the best I can with the resources I have. I will give myself credit for all the things I am able to do today, not what I can’t do.
3. This job is killing me.
Counter- thought: Focusing on one patient at a time, focusing on the patient in front of me, is my job. This could never kill me.
4. Management doesn’t care about us.
Counter- thought: I will take care of myself. Management has it tough right now too.
I know this one might seem hard to swallow but I've thought about it a lot lately. What would I do if I was in management right now, struggling with lack of staff and resources? What if everything that I was doing wasn't working? What if, like the nurses, I didn’t have enough support or supplies? What if I felt like I was letting down the people who were relying on me, much like we can feel when we are spread too thin over a heavy patient load?
You don’t have to agree with this, you may have a better work around for this one. What I do know is that holding onto the belief that management doesn't care is poisonous. I'm not saying that there isn't evidence to support this belief, I am saying that if you want to be happy where you work, you WILL need to find a new belief that can still feel true but serve you better. This version has helped me shift my focus away from management and onto how I show up for myself. (Which is good since I haven’t figured out how to control management yet.)
5. This job is sucking out my soul.
Counter- thought: Caring for people energizes me and restores me, even when I don’t have everything I need to make it go smoothly. I can always make a difference to a patient, that I am sure of.
6. My coworkers are toxic.
Counter- thought: I am here to care for patients. I can do that regardless of how the people around me are showing up. OR My coworkers don’t have the necessary skills to work this tough job with a positive attitude. OR I am getting paid to do a job- what other people are doing is not going to stop me from doing my job to the best of my ability.
This is what I came up with for beliefs that I held in the past, but as we know, beliefs are deeply personal things. Feel free to borrow mine but if they feel inauthentic to you, tweak and change them till they fit.
How can you make yourself the subject of each belief instead of something outside of you?
We CAN create our own beliefs, we don’t have to take the ones that were defaulted to us through the staff who came before us, our current coworkers, our parents, our families, or our friends. Sure, it may take some practice or some post-it note reminders just like learning drip rate calculations or drug interactions did.
This is definitely NOT beyond your skill set.
Dreading work is not a universal truth.
Suffering at work is not a prerequisite of nursing.
You chose your job because of a belief in who you are and what you have to offer.
Go back to this, it will get you through.
Would work be better if your coworkers would just start acting right? Join the 5 day FB challenge starting Monday Jan. 31st. How to deal with your lazy, crazy, or toxic coworkers. You can save your spot by Signing up here