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The Effects of False Assumptions In Your Work

If you’ve been reading this series, then you’re already acquainted with just how much outer blocks and inner blocks really stink. If we let them, they can derail us from reaching our best potential.

Inner blocks especially can be tough to overcome. That’s why, when discussing the AILs of inner blocks (Assumptions, Interpretations and Limiting Beliefs), I’ve decided to tackle them from least to most difficult to overcome.

We started with Limiting Beliefs, which are thoughts or ideas that we’ve picked up along the way of life and work, and that we have come to accept as true. An example would be a belief such as, “Rewards around here are really just a popularity contest, and have nothing to do with good work.” Why are these the easiest (or let’s say least difficult because overcoming any AIL is never easy!) to overcome? Because they are usually junk we picked up from others, and we already have an inkling in our logical mind that they may not really be true. So if we can do enough critical thinking and challenge the source or validity, we can dispel the belief.

This next post brings us to Assumptions. Assumptions are more difficult to overcome than limiting beliefs because not only have we accepted them as truths, but we’ve usually TESTED them and experienced the outcome ourselves. Each time we experience the same result, we take it as further evidence that our assumption is correctly held.

For example, I had the honor to be invited to a team gathering with a group of great folks who run their own direct selling businesses. As with many of these types of businesses, success is obtained not only from selling the product, but also in building a network of like-minded people who truly believe in the products and results enough to evangelize and sell them themselves.

During the course of the conversation, the challenge came up of how to change people’s assumption that you’re only talking to them because you want to sell them or sign them. When we break this down though, the assumption starts with the idea that that’s what people necessarily are thinking.

And this is where it starts to become really messy! If you are taking meetings with the assumption in the back of your mind that they believe you are just trying to sell them, and that they will have their resistant defenses up, and so you must try to find a way to break through those, then you have already determined how that meeting will go. You have subconsciously prepared yourself for battle, and the energy you will bring to that meeting is one of conflict (Level 2 for those of you who work with me).

And so when, as a result of your conflict energy, the potential customer or team member reacts with a, “Thanks, but no thanks”, it REINFORCES that assumption. The cool thing about this team of very smart and aware people was that they already knew this and their approach reflects that.

But what most people miss is that they themselves are CREATING the conditions perfectly aligned to reinforce an assumption they hold to be true. If you immediately thought something like self-fulfilling self-sabotage, then you’ve got it! That’s exactly what would be happening in this example.

So how do we get off this crazy ride? It might sound silly, but the first step is to simply ask ourselves, “Just because this has happened before, why does that mean it will always happen?” Or conversely, “Just because this has not happened in the past, why does that mean it will never happen?”

Pay attention to when you find yourself using words like “always” and “never”. It’s a great indicator that you may be operating from an assumption. Instead of looking to see if that gets reinforced, try looking for evidence that it’s NOT true. When have you had a prospect meeting where the person was not defensive and suspicious?

Next, facilitate some future-forward action for yourself by asking, “If I chose to assume the exact opposite, what action would I be taking?” Or, “If I chose to assume the exact opposite, how would I be feeling, behaving, approaching this situation?”

This shifts your thinking away from what you think you already know, and opens up your ability to see new possibilities or different outcomes. I guarantee you will approach the meeting with a different energy!

And this isn’t just for you. If you have employees who are operating under false assumptions, it could be greatly impacting their performance. The frightening part is that you may have NO IDEA what assumptions they hold about you, your company or their colleagues. You may wonder why no one is innovative, sales seem to top out at a certain level, or the ‘leaders’ are not doing a good job at taking the lead. You can have a huge impact on your team’s success and results by helping them challenge their assumptions also.

Limiting beliefs and assumptions, if not challenged, can be very destructive so give these tips a try and notice how they help create more ease for you and your team or family. Next up will be Interpretations. They are the most difficult of the three AILs to overcome, but challenging interpretations can bring you some of the most powerful results in getting out of your own way, so stay tuned!

Until then, if you suspect that inner blocks might be impacting you or your team’s success, reach out and contact me to learn about workshops and presentations to help professionals become aware of what may be holding them back, and 1:1 professional coaching to work through removing those barriers.

Trish Cody has over 18 years of experience consulting with some of the world’s top Fortune 500 Companies. Today, as a Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, Trish works with clients to uncover their core values and beliefs, clearly see how they are showing up in their behaviors and impacting their success, and to shift their thinking to naturally attract positivity and success. For more information, visit

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