I’d like to share something with you about you that, even if it’s a good thing, could negatively impact your relationships and your influence. It’s called a core belief. Core beliefs are so much a part of you, so much in your core, something that you hold so true that you attempt to live your life through those beliefs. They are so much a part of who we are that we filter and live our life through these beliefs. A core belief is a belief we hold so true that some say we might die to defend it.
An example of a core belief might be 100 percent honesty 100 percent of the time, or it might be gossip is wrong, or it could be respect for others. You might have a core belief around your faith.
Identifying Your Core Beliefs
What I’d like for you to do now is to stop for a few moments and take time to write down a list of your core beliefs. What are they? Write down at least one. Write down two or three. Most of us have at least one, and some of us two, three, four, or five. Just take your time until you’re ready to read on.
Let’s think about core beliefs and how strong they are. Here are some general questions for you to consider. How does your behavior line up with what you say you believe? Ask yourself, based on your behavior, would others believe this about you, that you have this core belief? Do you allow your core beliefs to separate you from other people with different core beliefs and from achieving a common goal?
Here are just a few examples of core beliefs that people have.
I have a purpose
More is better
Life is good
People are good
Fairness is important
Money is evil
Might makes right
Peace about truth
Conflict is bad
I am a force for good
Honesty above all
Love is the point
Humility comes before honor
The best things cannot be bought
Family comes first
You choose to be happy
America is a great country to live in
Men and women are different
Money is a tool
You make your own destiny
All people a created equal
Nice guys finish last
I get what I deserve
This is just a list of examples. Are any of yours on this list?
Matching Your Actions with Your Core Beliefs
Now, I’d like to ask you a really, really serious question. Is there ever a time when your behavior doesn’t line up with your core beliefs? If the answer is no, that is awesome. If you’re saying and communicating publicly what you believe and if your actions and behavior line up with that belief, then you have credibility. People believe you, and you will get the results that you’re after. Congratulations.
If you answer yes to that question, that sometimes your behavior doesn’t line up with your core beliefs, the truth is we can produce responses from other people that we don’t want, even opposite results that are detrimental to our relationships. If our behavior doesn’t line up with our core beliefs, we lose credibility. If we put something out there, something we say is our core belief and our behavior doesn’t line up with that, then we lose credibility, and people don’t really believe us when we talk about what our beliefs are. An example would be if you said honesty is a core belief and someone saw you doing something as simple as taking an ink pen off someone else’s desk, would they really believe that’s your core belief? Would you have influence with that person after that?
We have to be very careful when we say we have a core belief. When we put things out there and our behavior doesn’t line up with what we say, we don’t have credibility. As transformational leaders, let’s stop and think about what our core beliefs are so we can identify them and so we can determine if our actions really support what we say we believe. We have to make sure our behavior lines up with our beliefs. Because we want to develop positive and authentic relationships, because we want to make sure we have credibility in those relationships, we need to walk out the core beliefs that we say we have.
Ford Taylor is a leadership strategist, keynote speaker, and the author of Relactional Leadership. As the Founder of Transformational Leadership, he is known as a man who can solve complex business issues, with straightforward practical solutions, while maintaining his focus on people.