“When is a self-limiting belief not actually self-limiting?” I was inspired to write this post by one of my FaB clients who I coached on a self-limiting belief around what she thought she could earn and I’m sharing this to help you with your self-limiting beliefs.
In my next post, I’ll share with you some of my favourite techniques, exercises and resources for defeating those pesky self-belief gremlins, but first of all I want to convince you that you don’t always have to defeat a so called self-limiting belief to achieve freedom from it.
As a coach, I have long been in the habit of listening to and coaching clients with self-limiting beliefs - as well as battling with my own! I’d say approximately.. ooh… 100% of my clients have self-limiting beliefs lurking somewhere! Yes, 100%! We all have them!
So I know a little bit about self-limiting beliefs and I’m a past master at tackling my own!
What is a self-limiting (or self-defeating) belief anyway?
It’s essentially a negative statement that we have told ourselves so often that we believe it without really questioning. As a way of thinking it generally stops us from achieving our true potential.
I have a whole library of articles, books, exercises and worksheets that deal with self-limiting beliefs and all are useful if applied regularly. All but the most confident of us have self-limiting beliefs. You can often, but not always, catch a self-limiting belief by the phrase;
“I’m not [insert quality here] enough”
“Terri’s coaching call: I can’t see myself ever earning £40K from my business”
Terri (name changed) has made incredible leaps and achieved huge things in her life over the past 5 months. BUT she was concerned because she felt she should “think big” for a business revenue goal and she said “I don’t actually believe I’ll ever get there”. Terri started to talk about her self-limiting belief and where she thought it might come from and asked me to coach her on it. It was a short session. Instead of delving into the whys and wherefores of the belief, I simply asked her;
“Back in May, did you believe that you’d increase your monthly income 30-fold by September?”
“Absolutely no way!” she replied.
To which I responded by saying absolutely nothing.
Why? I didn’t need to say anything – I just let Terri think about what she’d said. She’d already blasted a self-limiting belief even without doing any work to blast it. She might not believe she can reach £40K now, but compared to the leap she’d made since May, getting from her current revenue to £40K was actually less of a leap of faith!
The penny dropped very quickly indeed for Terri, as she realised she’d achieved incredible things already, even though whilst she was working towards it, she didn’t ever believe she had “what it takes” to reach her goal.
Here’s an exercise for you. Think of a self-limiting belief you have right now, look back on your life and think about all the things you didn’t think you could achieve/be/do, but here you are, having achieved and gone beyond them.
What did you never believe you’d achieve, but you actually HAVE achieved? Here are a few of mine…
I NEVER believed that, when I went back to work 10 years ago after having Max, that I would ever be able to give up my job as a Project Manager and become a full time Coach, working from home and doing what I LOVE every day. But here I am!
I NEVER believed I was clever enough to do maths when I was a kid, let alone understand the alien world of IT. Then I did a conversion Masters degree in Computation, went into IT as a career and am now known by fellow coaches as a bit of a technophiIe!
I never believed I’d manage to push out a turkey (aka Freddie) after 22 hours of excruciating labour without dying or being hauled off to hospital in the emergency ambulance. But I did.
When he was 6, my eldest son never believed he’d be able to read. Now he’s an accomplished reader and loves relaxing with a good book.
I could go on and on with examples of so called “self-limiting” beliefs that didn’t actually limit!
There is always work to be done on our self-limiting beliefs and I will give you some more ideas to help you in my next post.
But in the meantime, remember that, whether you believe you can or not, you probably can! Time after time, each one of us achieves things in life as a human being that we thought we wouldn’t.
“It’s the job of humans to make the impossible possible”.
So even if you think it’s impossible and you haven’t got what it takes and you are carrying around a whole suitcase of self-limiting beliefs, just keep taking steps towards your goal anyway.
Chances are, you’ve been there before and proven yourself wrong! And chances are, you will do so again.
Next time, I’ll be giving you my favourite tools for squashing the beliefs that really are limiting you.
But in the meantime, feel that self-limiting belief – and go do it anyway!