I start all workshops and coaching relationships with the discussion of Limiting Beliefs. Why?
In life, we run into so many external obstacles. People, institutions, rules, regulations, and hierarchies all play major roles in our life. They get in our way, they make us stumble, we get frustrated, and we give up. They win.
The more insidious of life’s obstacles are your internal obstacles. I’ve broken them down into manageable chunks to allow you to understand them and to hopefully assess and ameliorate each one. When I think of limiting beliefs in my life, I call them life’s ‘Little Stinkers’. Here they are:
What We’ve Learned
These are the ‘hard-wired’ internal obstacles that are drilled into us from an early age. ‘Don’t do this’ and ‘you can’t do that’ play a major part in our learning process. We might have parents, siblings, teachers, and other adults in our life telling us what is right and wrong. Not that it’s a bad thing — it’s important to do — but sometimes they say certain things that are seared in our personality.
Examples: “They’re out of your league” “No one can get an A in that class” “You’re not artistic” “You can’t sing”
What We’ve Experienced
These are the myriad of personal experiences when we’ve tried to step out of our bubble and try new things. And they don’t go well. We try something new once or take a big step out of our comfort zone and fail. We revert back to a safe spot and constantly repeat to ourselves that we shouldn’t go there — it’s a waste of time.
Examples: “We shouldn’t go there” “We can’t do it” “It’s not in our DNA” “I’d be happier staying the same”
What We Think/Fear
This is the third level of limiting beliefs. Take what we’ve learned and what we’ve experienced, mix them together, and you end up here. These are all the limiting beliefs we have in our head and we project them all into the future. We mentally scare and hold ourselves back from learning new things, experiencing new practices, and meeting new people.
Examples: “If I do it, I will fail” “This will be a futile exercise” “They won’t like me” “They will laugh at me” “I will lose a lot of money”
What We Dodge
This is the lazy limiting belief. We get stuck or complacent in our limiting belief world and feel this is all I need to do. We take the other three limiting beliefs and let our procrastination, laziness, and distractions kick in to hold us back.
Examples: “This has worked all my life” “It’s good enough” “My job is fine” (I hate the word fine) “I don’t have the time”
If you let these limiting beliefs win, you will NEVER get the opportunity to change your life, your situation, your work, your abilities, your friendships, and possibly increase your happiness. I find if you just stay static in your life and career, you won’t be happy for long. So start looking in the mirror and start eliminating those internal obstacles!