Rethinking Thinking Using the Ladder of Inference

In today’s fast-moving world, you are under pressure to act swiftly rather than spend time understanding the facts and reasoning things through. Not only can this lead to incorrect conclusions, it can also cause conflict with others who may have drawn different conclusions.

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Personal Mastery Year in Review – 2014

images-1First off I want to thank you for following my blog! I am grateful for your feedback and willingness to listen to my musings around the concepts of personal mastery. This will be my final post for 2014 so I thought it would be fitting to take a snap shot of what I’ve written to help reinforce and deepen our understanding and hopefully our learning!

keep-calm-and-begin-with-the-end-in-mind-6We Begun With the End in Mind – We used Dr. Stephen Covey’s Habit 2 to envision ourselves at our own funeral. (A wee bit of a morbid start to a blog but what better way to kick start some real change in our lives! 🙂 ) What did our family and friends say about us? What were our accomplishments and contributions? If we didn’t like what we envisioned now is the time to make changes – heck while we’re still alive and kicking! We also reviewed our personal values and wrote a purpose statement. If your purpose statement isn’t feeling right…maybe it’s time to tweak it. I tweak mine every January to make sure that it still provides me intrinsic motivation.

images-1We experienced the Power of Forgiveness – Forgiveness doesn’t justify the hurt or remove another person’s wrong doing but it allows us to come to terms with it so we can get on with our lives. Forgiveness is about changing our life, so we may heal and have more peace and happiness. We are only human and we’ve made mistakes; we need to also forgive ourselves! There is a growing body of research regarding forgiveness that when we can forgive we are happier, more empathetic, and hopeful. When we make a habit to forgive we are more likely to have higher self-esteem, more friends, longer marriages, and fewer stress-related health issues.

personality_traits_list_personalityWe got to Know Our Personality – knowing ourselves is how the Personal Mastery journey begins. We took a short Myers/Briggs assessment that gave us an acronym to help clarify our personality. This is very important because our personality is part of our “why.” When we understand our why, we can be more authentic and happier. Knowing our personality helps us to comprehend our deep-seated thoughts and unconscious processes. When we know this information, we can understand how we show up to others, how we interact, parent, work, and love. WOW!

limiting-beliefs-211x300We reviewed Limiting Beliefs – All of us have battled limiting beliefs in our lives, some have threatened to derail our personal or professional success. These beliefs typically start in our youth and sometimes as we age remain with us and cause us heartache and/or fear. It is important to understand what those beliefs are so that we can assess the deep-seated perspectives that are limiting our potential. “The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.”William James

images-2We Discovered Our Strengths – Society doesn’t teach us to focus on our unique and individual strengths. Instead it tells us to work hard on our weaknesses so we can turn them into strengths. No longer will we spend our energies in repairing flaws that others have determined; we will focus instead on our natural strengths. Using Gallup’s StrengthsFinder we can understand our top five signature strengths and put a plan of action to lean on our strengths for our sustained success. “If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather than dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow in their capabilities.”Author unknown. 

images-2We recognized the power of Loving Ourselves – When we love ourselves we can express ourselves completely to others and enjoy being who we truly are. To love ourselves we need to stop judging so that we can secure a more positive sense of who we are. In other words, we need to practice self-acceptance. To become more self-accepting we need to remind ourselves repeatedly, and with ever increasing conviction, that given all of our biased beliefs of ourselves, we’ve done the best we possibly could so far. Self-acceptance and happiness go hand in hand. In fact our level of self-acceptance determines our level of happiness! The more self-acceptance we have, the more happiness we’ll allow ourselves to accept, receive, and enjoy. Self love, self respect, self worth…there is a reason they all start with “self.” You cannot find self in anyone else.

positive-thinkingWe learned the importance of Positive Thinking and WOOP! – By using mental contrasting we can focus on our dreams by visualizing and putting plans in place to identify and understand the root of as well as overcome obstacles that stand in the way of successfully reaching our goals. By using the acronym WOOP we can put plans into place to Wish (identify specifically our wish, dream, or goal), Outcome (picture the best outcome of obtaining our wish/dream/goal), Obstacle (understand what’s in the way of achieving the wish/dream/goal), Plan (using the “if this then that” method to identify obstacles and then create the actions and/or the behaviors needed to overcome them.) “It isn’t enough to sit and dream; we have to take action and make sacrifices. Our dreams may be realizable, but they come down to challenges that require engagement and action.” – Gabriele Oettingen.

images-1We Got it Done through Self Discipline – Successful people are successful because they are disciplined in their actions, thoughts, and words. It isn’t just about having willpower and self-control, its about tackling the wants over needs constant message in our heads. We make difficult choices sometimes when our goals are about to get railroaded, we need to have a long-term over short-term focus. Remember….The price of discipline is always less than the price of regret. Self-discipline is the number one component that creates long-term success. It is also a required ingredient to accomplish any goal.

imagesWe learned about Goals and how to set them. Goals provide focus by creating a vision to what we really want; by envisioning our ideal future, goal setting can help turn that vision into reality. Goals provide the measuring stick to know when we’ve achieved success; they help us to choose what we want in life, where we would like to be in a given time period, and they set the road map on how to get there. Establishing and working towards goals gives us a sense of meaning and clear direction, the benefit to goal achievement is that we control the direction of change in our life not others. “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Henry David Thoreau

imagesWe touched on the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – There is scientific data that demonstrates EQ is more important than IQ when achieving success; EQ is the primary determinant of the quality of our personal and professional relationships. The good news is that unlike IQ, EQ can be learned and enhanced. We can even make radical changes to our emotional reactions and to our lives when we understand what drives our emotional intelligence. We can unlearn ineffective emotional responses and introduce new more effective ways of filtering data received during our interactions with others.

imagesWe chose to be Response-able and Proactive – Being response-able is taking proactive responsibility for our lives. When we are response-able, we choose our responses to situations rather than letting situations overwhelm us. We have the opportunity to do things differently if we choose. Being proactive is a way of thinking and acting. It includes foresight and anticipation of “what if scenarios.” Proactivity uses the lessons of the past to identify the obstacles of the future – when challenges appear, proactive individuals take the bull by the horns and put a plan of action together so a challenge doesn’t become a brick wall roadblock.

images-1Finally we learned about the power of Channel 2 Listening – When we actively listen we engage our brain to connect with others. We obtain a deeper understanding of their views, values, thoughts, and dreams – we tap into our senses and feel, see, smell, and taste what the other person is sharing. Channel 2 listening is the ability to consciously be aware of our own bias’ and judgments, to be present, and to mentally remove distractions around us. Channel 2 listening it is maintaining eye contact, keeping an open mind, and not jumping to conclusions as someone is talking. It is also the ability to maintain a curious mindset so our questions can continue dialogue to understand what the other person is intending to convey.

As we conclude this year, I’m looking forward to the next 52 weeks of personal mastery blog posts. It is my hope that you will continue along this journey with me, by sharing your thoughts and ideas as well. I wish you all well!


Knowing Your Beliefs


“The only thing limiting us in life is our belief that there are limits!” – Author unknown

What are your personal beliefs and why are they important in the practice of Personal Mastery? Our personal beliefs are deep-seated thoughts and assumptions we hold that were formed in childhood. They are located within our conscience and sub-conscience and influence how we think and interact with others, the world, and ourselves. Early in life, messages and lessons from our parents, relatives, teachers and friends set the foundation of our beliefs. They are intertwined within our personality and become the rules we follow and filters we use to make decisions. Understanding our beliefs is part of understanding who we are.


Our relationships with our family members, particularly our parents, have great influence in how we view and react to our beliefs. Some of our beliefs are positive such as most people are kind, I’m a good teacher, I’m intelligent. Some beliefs are negative and limit our ability to be our best such as I’m ugly or not smart enough.

Think about how the belief of being ugly would influence your self-esteem and confidence. If we believe we are ugly, our self-worth diminishes and we feel unworthy of love. First I’d like to say…no scream that no one is ugly! Let me say that again because sometimes women in particular allow our American culture of body perfection to influence what we believe about ourselves. NO ONE IS UGLY! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder means that the perception of beauty is subjective.


“Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.” – David Hume

Most of us some time in life battle negative beliefs that threaten to derail our personal and profession success. Negative beliefs are otherwise known as limiting beliefs. As we mature, gain life experience, and are exposed to diverse ways of thinking we may realize what we believe may not be accurate.


I realized in my 20’s that I held a limiting belief that I wasn’t smart enough. I took a psychology class which we reviewed our personal values and beliefs. We went through several exercises that helped me to uncover this belief, which started when my parents told me that I would be repeating second grade. It was the ultimate failure – If I couldn’t advance in school, I must be dumb.

I was a young second grader who was almost debilitating shy. I had just moved from another state and started a new school. I struggled with getting to know with my classmates (my introverted trait) and when I was at home I heard nothing but frustration and upset from my five older siblings about our move and the loss of their friends. My world was shaken and I was struggling to make sense of it.

Uncovering the limiting belief of not being smart enough was a life changer for me. It wasn’t because I wasn’t smart enough; emotionally I just wasn’t ready to move on! I didn’t understand this when I was in second grade. I had created a limiting belief, which caused a ripple effect with my education and learning until my early 20’s.


The recognition of this belief took a weight off of my shoulders and gave me a huge confidence boost but, discovery was just step one of the process. I now needed to work on the replacement of it with a positive belief. I needed to tell myself (often by the way) that I was smart enough. Every time I thought I wasn’t, I would remember that this was untrue and to tell myself that I was. This change didn’t happen overnight and I must admit that there some occasions when this limiting belief rears its ugly head.

I’m a happy optimist through and through. I will always take the high road, look at the bright side, yes the glass is always half full 😉 and I’ll (almost always) turn the other cheek. It is a value my Mom instilled in me and one that I treasure deeply. This is also the value that got me through school up through my 20’s!

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” – Muhammad Ali

Knowing our negative beliefs is a useful first step in conquering our limiting beliefs. There are many ways to identify these beliefs and to help us to work on the removal of them. Here is one site that reviews limiting beliefs and provides you guidance on how to remove them.

“The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.” – William James