Many of us have limiting beliefs. When we realize we have them, we want to change them quickly. Almost always, the last thing my clients say to me at the end of a coaching session is: “Ok. Now tell me what to think instead, so I don’t have to feel this way.” Rather than jumping to a new belief, it is so much more effective to dissolve our current limiting beliefs. This is where I came up with the Sandcastle Analogy.
What most clients don’t understand is that often, we’ve taken a long time to create the thoughts, stories and beliefs that then, create our feelings, actions and results.
It Makes Sense
I mean, it makes sense. After I show them what they are creating or NOT creating in their life,
They want to quickly switch out thoughts so they create something different.
Our brains are constantly taking in information building sandcastles on a beach. These sandcastles represent thoughts, stories and beliefs that just become a part of who we are. They become a part of our beachscape. Whether it’s a story about our mission, or a story about our worth, or a story about ability… weeks, or months or even YEARS of thinking and believing the same thing over and over creates these sandcastles.
We Don’t Even Realize
Most often, we don’t even realize that these castles are being built. Some of the stories we’ve built are on a small remote part of the beach, tucked in a cove. Sometimes the limiting beliefs become massive, and intricate. Inevitably, some of these castles start to overrun the beach and block our views and get in our way.
When we start to understand that our thoughts and beliefs create every single result in our lives… we start to take inventory of our stories. This is sort of what coaching or self-coaching looks like. It’s as if we are taking little stroll down the beach, observing what is going on there. Often, we come across many sandcastles that we like. In other words, many beliefs and stories that we want to keep and that are serving us.
Discovering Our Limiting Beliefs
Sometimes, through coaching or self-coaching, we discover a sandcastle that we didn’t really know we’d built. We’d never really noticed it before. But, upon closer examination of the sandcastle, we discover that we don’t really like the belief at all. We start to question how we could have even built this sandcastle in the first place. It’s ugly. It is misshapen, and is adding no value to the beach. Sometimes the sandcastle might even be making it impossible for us to create anything new and blocks our path to move forward along the shore.
When we discover these, less than desirable sandcastles, our first instinct is to immediately and completely knock it down. We want to quickly build a new sandcastle in it’s place that feels, looks and serves us better. It sounds like this, “I know this belief is not serving me, and I don’t like how I feel. So, I’ve got to think or believe something instead. And fast!”
Knocking Down the Sandcastle Doesn’t Usually Work
But, in our attempt to knock over our limiting belief, we often find that over time, the sandcastle has morphed into a very hard sand, almost like cement. There’s no knocking that belief down.
And then, when we realize we can’t knock down our belief we resort to building a different “better” wing of the sandcastle and attach it to the side of the original castle. Or maybe we plop a new desirable turret on top of an already undesirable castle. Then, we walk away, thinking that we’ve fixed the problem.
But, that sandcastle is still sitting in our way, affecting our feelings and actions and results. It’s still there, preventing our progress, blocking us from exploring other areas of the beach.
What To Do Instead
So, what is to be done? The very best way to move to a new thought pattern or belief is to simply let the waves start to dissolve our original limiting beliefs, or sandcastles.
A wave looks like this: start to gain awareness, become curious, offer compassion, and then accept. Over and over again. Just like the ocean lapping up on the shore, consistently. Over and over again. Until we dissolve our limiting beliefs.
Let high tide wash over it, let the lower tide work at the base, and sometimes let big waves crash on top of it by turning your story and belief on it’s head. But, a word of warning: You can’t be in a hurry.
Just let your awareness, curiosity, compassion and acceptance do it’s job, over and over again.
Use the Waves in Your Favor
This is one of the things coaching and self-coaching does. We wash over our unwanted sandcastles with waves of ocean water until there is just no sandcastle left. It’s completely dissolved.
Before you know it, you’ll walk on that beach and forget that sandcastle was even there, preventing you from making progress.
But, here’s the best part: there is little bit of magic involved. Because in the process of letting the waves break down and take your old thoughts out to sea… a new, beautiful sandcastle will emerge on your beach, without you even lifting a finger.
So, don’t be in a hurry. Let ocean wash over your current thoughts. Awareness. Compassion. Acceptance. Repeat… Like the constant waves of the ocean.