In business, we make assumptions every day – about our work, customers, co-workers, workload, staff, and many other variables. The assumptions we make are often predicated by our past experience but can also be determined by our attitudes and general mindset.

The psychology of assumptions can be explained as the mind trying to protect us and keep us from having a disappointing experience. But this can also be limiting, with these negative assumptions often founded on unsupported beliefs. In business, this can have a huge impact in vital areas such as staff morale and staff wellbeing, as well as in areas where teamwork is paramount to the success of the business.

How often have we said to ourselves, “That’s not going to work, that’s not going to happen, I’ll never have that positive experience, this won’t be fun. It won’t be as good as everyone says it is…” We carry these negative assumptions with us every day and it takes skill and conscious effort to ensure they don’t limit your work and your work life.

I would like to share a personal experience.

A very good, lifelong friend of mine was recently diagnosed with a serious health condition. It can often be years between contacts, yet we always connect as if it was only yesterday that we last talked or saw each other. At the time of a recent reconnection with my friend, I asked if he had heard from or been in touch with another mutual friend. His response surprised me: “No, we haven’t spoken for years, I think I may have offended him.”

I was very surprised as these two people shared many common interests. And this assumption by my friend also surprised me. I asked if he would mind me trying to make contact with this mutual friend to update him. My friend agreed reluctantly as he believed his assumption that our mutual friend would have no interest in reconnecting.

In reality, this couldn’t have been further from the truth. With busy lives and many personal and work responsibilities, the only barrier had been making time to make contact. No one had been offended.

Sometimes, we need to put aside an “assumption” and take a positive step forward to gain a positive experience.

This is particularly relevant in business when managing a range of personalities across a team can sometimes become a challenge. Not only should you challenge your own assumptions as a business manager, but your team should learn the valuable skill of challenging their own assumptions.

On a personal level, one of our greatest challenges is to determine if an assumption is supportive. Is it based on evidence or fact? Or is it a negative limiting belief assumption that will deny us a positive outcome?

In a team situation, when trying to brainstorm a potential solution to a problem or challenging situation, it is important to remain open-minded to alternative options. A fresh point of view is often unobstructed by rigid opinion that prevents progress. But there are a few, fairly simple, ways to determine if you or one of your team members is making an assumption that is preventing a positive outcome. And it’s very possible for individuals to learn some key tricks to overcoming any assumptions they are making, such as asking:

Is the assumption supported by evidence?

Is the assumption logical?

Is this useful thinking?

The benefits of empowering staff to contribute fresh ideas and alternative options is so valuable to the growth and sustainability of businesses today. If you would like to know more about negative and limiting beliefs or be supported to get back on track with positive drive and determination, visit our website at to make contact with us.