10 Questions to Unearth Subconscious Stuckness and Transform Limiting Beliefs

Are subconscious beliefs informing your decisions in the legal field? Whether or not you think so, keep reading…

As lawyers and judges, we are accustomed to uncovering facts to help us win or rule on cases. Yet, many of us have never deeply explored the very foundation of what we view as facts in our legal minds, which may actually be fiction: our own beliefs. Beliefs are our inner decision-makers that direct our thoughts, perceptions, behaviors, feelings, communications, and actions. They are formed through a combination of our personal experiences, cultural and familial influences, education, and exposure to information.

Interestingly, our beliefs are highly persuasive in determining what we believe to be true about ourselves, our clients, and our cases. Most often, we listen to our beliefs without paying attention to the gravity of their influence...and generally without fact-checking their sources! While our positive beliefs have the power to give us courage and strength and can motivate us to do hard things, our limiting beliefs – silent as they may be – can unwittingly limit our potential for success and enjoyment. Limiting beliefs can also obscure our sense of belonging in our profession, community, and world, leading to imposter syndrome and isolation.

In my coaching practice, it’s common to work with a lawyer or business professional who feels stuck, dissatisfied, or disconnected in their work or personal life. In order to shift into greater flow, satisfaction, and connection, we examine the client’s core limiting beliefs about themselves and the situation they are trying to improve. In many cases, shifting a limiting belief opens up space for curiosity, confidence, and the possibility for a better experience and outcome.

Transforming our limiting beliefs can be a process that takes time and care. Long-held beliefs are often unconscious and deeply ingrained in our survival strategies. However, some beliefs, once we are aware of them, are quick to shift. Mindfulness is the key component to listening to what you’re saying to yourself and really hearing what you’re saying and noticing its impact; awareness is the first step toward lasting change.

Try answering these ten questions to unearth the limiting beliefs that guide you:

  1. Where am I feeling stuck, disappointed, frustrated, afraid, dissatisfied, or disconnected?
  2. What am I telling myself or believing to be true about myself in this situation?
  3. Do I feel physically expanded or contracted when I say aloud what I believe to be true about myself in this situation?
  4. How likely is it that what I’m believing to be true about myself is actually true?
  5. What am I afraid will happen if I don’t hold this belief about myself or behave in a way that supports my limiting belief?
  6. What is one kind thing I can say about myself–or to myself–in this situation?
  7. What would it feel like to believe something better about myself in this situation, or about myself in general? (tune into the sensations in the body)
  8. If I weren’t feeling stuck, disappointed, frustrated, afraid, dissatisfied, or disconnected in this situation, what would I like to believe about myself?
  9. What does it feel like to believe something empowering about myself in this situation? (tune into the sensations in the body)
  10. What is one step I can take right now to act as if the empowering belief is true and the limiting belief is false?

Ideally, the more curiosity you extend toward your own beliefs, the more you will discover and the better you will feel. However, if you continue to feel stuck as you work through the ten unearthing inquiry questions, take a break and come back to the questions when you’re more refreshed. Many beliefs are deeply embedded into the subconscious; it takes time to transform them, to evolve, and move toward new affirming beliefs that can support your success, personal growth, and well-being. If you need support in unearthing your limiting beliefs and installing empowering beliefs, seek guidance from a professional. The process of getting help and examining limiting beliefs, let alone living from the new beliefs, can lead to deeply satisfying personal growth.

NOTE: If you would like to learn more about specifically how to bypass beliefs that lead to burnout, see Laura’s latest article in her Pathways to Well-Being column in the upcoming (out December 2023) Winter 2023 edition of the North Carolina State Bar Journal, “Bypassing Burnout Beliefs: Eight Steps to Transform Beliefs that Exhaust You.”

Laura Mahr is a North Carolina and Oregon lawyer and the founder of Conscious Legal Minds LLC, providing well-being consulting, training, and resilience coaching for attorneys and law offices nationwide. Through the lens of neurobiology, Laura helps build strong leaders, happy lawyers, and effective teams. Her work is informed by 13 years of practice as a civil sexual assault attorney, 25 years as a teacher and student of mindfulness and yoga, and eight years studying neurobiology and neuropsychology with clinical pioneers. Find out more about Laura’s new course, “Tuning Into the Wisdom of the Body to Optimize Your Legal Practice” by contacting Laura at consciouslegalminds.com.

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