‘We only really know the limits of what is possible when we start to venture into the impossible’
A belief is something that we hold true and our beliefs are at the core of who we are. Our beliefs whether we are aware of it or not help govern all areas of our lives – professional and personal.
Some of our beliefs will give us strength in our everyday lives, however others will simply drain us and make us feel that we are not able to achieve goals -whether that goal is to deliver a presentation to the Executive Board, set up your own business, break that 5k run distance barrier or become chair of the school PTA.
Of course doubting ourselves and thinking we aren’t going to succeed at something is probably the best way to fail before we’ve even started. So if that is the case, why do we even have self-limiting beliefs?
They can sometimes be the result of life experiences – something might have happened once and then you always associate that experience with a perceived negative outcome. For example: ‘Last time I put my head above the parapet at work, people thought I was being overly ambitious. I am not going to do that again, because I don’t want my work colleagues to think I am like that and I want people to like me’.
Social conditioning and self-fulfilling prophecies also play their part – in other words if people tell you enough times that you can’t do something you might start to believe it. We are also often guilty of taking the easy option and just accepting our negative thoughts – because more effort is involved in challenging and overcoming them.
So back to the question: how can you overcome these self-limiting beliefs?
‘Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny’
The key is to know when you have self-limiting beliefs and then understand how they stop you from achieving your goals! They can be tricky to uncover as often they have become so ingrained into who we are and how we behave without us even realising. So, one way to start is to recognise when you are ‘telling yourself’ things. For example, when you next feel uncomfortable, nervous or unsure in a situation – think about what negative language you are using and also what your internal dialogue is saying to you.
Once you become aware of how you are reacting to certain situations or events then the next step is ‘Reframing’. Reframing can free our thinking to take on new perspectives on situations and see the true possibilities ahead. Watch out for our next blog post on this subject.