What Made Me Who I Am Today | The Coaching Institute

What made me who I am today

By Sally Higgins, Accelerate Now

Pick up any great self-help book and within the first couple of chapters you will be asked to explore your beliefs. Our beliefs are the ultimate controlling force which determines the quality of our present lifestyles and shapes our future destinies.

In life we experience defining moments, moments where 'something' happens. Quite simply an event takes place. We then interpret the event and give it meaning. Once we have assigned a meaning we then create a belief.

Let's look at an example;


A young girl who came from a broken home and who lived in a very poor part of town was asked at school to read a book and to write a review. The book was difficult as it was aimed at children from a higher grade. She approached the challenge with the excitement of her love of reading and couldn't put the book down nor complete the review fast enough. She handed her book review a week before the deadline. Her teacher praised her for her excellent work in front of the class. The headmaster praised her in front of the entire school. The other kids turned on her for making them look bad.


The meanings she gave this event were 'when you work hard, when you do things well, people take notice, people remember and value you. When you love what you are doing the work is easy to do'.


As a result of the meaning she gave this, she established some beliefs. "When I do what I love and I do what I have a passion for, life becomes very much easier" and "if I love it, I can do it".


Ever since that day in school, Oprah Winfrey has stood by her beliefs and has created an amazing career for herself from simply knowing that anything is possible if she is doing what she loves.

The message here is that we can choose what meaning we give to events and the beliefs we create as a result. Once we create the belief we spend the rest of our lives hunting and gathering evidence to prove the belief. Oprah Winfrey has spent her entire career proving her beliefs over and over again.

Consider the other meanings she could have selected:

  • If your results are really good other people will turn on you.
  • If you work hard you get slammed for it.
  • People in authority ridicule you in front of others.

The first choice we make is whether to give an event meaning or not. The second choice we make is whether to give an event a positive or negative meaning. Just where exactly would Oprah be today if she had chosen one of the other meanings and created associated beliefs?

Think about your memories. Anything you can remember is probably stored in your memory for a reason. What happened? What did you tell yourself? What beliefs did you create as a result? How do you continue to justify and prove that belief every single day?

Negative beliefs (also known as limiting beliefs) protect you from getting hurt. They keep you safe.

The sad truth is that there is no actual certain hurt, pain and danger out there. It's just a safety mechanism within us that stops us from being, doing and having the best that we can, on the off chance that perhaps, maybe it might possibly not turn out to be a totally smooth ride.

Explore your defining moments and the meanings you have given them. What are you telling yourself? Does your belief propel you forward or immobilize you to the spot? What would happen if you refused permission for every limiting belief to hold you back any longer? What has this belief cost you so far?

Deny the stories that have held you back in the past permission to affect your life. Throw them away and replace them with beliefs that would serve and support you as you go about creating your ideal life.

What belief would you create if you were to commit to building the outstanding life you deserve?

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