Are You Holding Yourself Back Because of Limiting Beliefs?
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition & Job Search Coach | Possibility Thinker
Are you holding yourself back because of limiting beliefs?
Another way to ask the same question would be, are limiting beliefs holding you back from achieving your goals?
Do you sometimes feel like a victim of circumstances? Do you wish that things could be different in some way in your life?
Do you feel filled with regret over what might have been or do you catch yourself lamenting, "If only..." "If only I had gotten to marry the love of my life, my life would be so different now. " "If only I hadn't married that guy I thought was the love of my life, my life would be different now." "If only I hadn't majored in (fill in the blank) but had majored in (fill in the blank) my life would be so much better now." "If only I knew then what I know now, my life would be so different now."
The trouble is that thinking about what might have been, what could have been, what you wished you had done...none of that is productive. You are wasting valuable time and energy if you are spending a nanosecond of your life on regret. It won't change anything. And it will keep you from moving forward because you have your eyes squarely focused on your past.
Limiting beliefs are those beliefs you have about yourself or others that may or may not be "true." But you believe them anyway.
Limiting beliefs are often ingrained within us from a very young age. You may feel that you can't do math because you weren't good at it at school. Your teachers or parents may have reinforced that belief by telling you that you weren't any good at it. I know that happened to me. It happens to a lot of kids. And because we are kids, we don't challenge adults. We go along with whatever the messaging is.
I once had a friend who would tell me that she couldn't comprehend anything she read. As a result, she didn't like to read. She hated English in high school. She didn't do well in school. She couldn't comprehend what she read, so why bother? She coasted until she could finally graduate.
I found this odd because as I got to know her better, she would tell me things and I would say, "Where did you hear that?" She would reply, "Oh, I read it in the newspaper."
It turns out that she was an avid consumer of news. Back before cell phones took over the world, she read the morning paper during her break at work every day. Later, she would recount to me some tidbit she had picked up from her reading.
When she made yet another declaration about not being able to "comprehend" what she read, I asked her flat out. "Where did you get the idea that you can't comprehend anything you read?" I asked her.
"My third-grade teacher told me," she replied.
She had suffered an injury to her eardrum in her third-grade year, and she had missed a lot of school as a result. When she finally got to go back to school, she was behind.
She had a teacher who made her believe that she was unable to catch up because of her inability to comprehend. That let the teacher off the hook. She didn't have to go to the trouble of trying to help my friend catch up. Why bother if she was too dumb to comprehend what she read? Right?
Her parents didn't push her, and she didn't know that she could push herself. She believed her teacher well into her 30's. I finally convinced her that she could read with comprehension. She was doing it every single day!
I remember the feeling of both flabbergast and anger I felt when I heard this story, though. I was angry at the teacher for making my friend feel like she was dumb. And I felt floored that my friend hadn't ever questioned the teacher's assessment. Shame on both of them!
We don't know as children that we should question adults, though. At least my generation of children didn't question adults. Unless we wanted to be reprimanded, we kept quiet. This new generation is teaching us a thing or two about questioning authority, and I love it. They have been encouraged to trust their own instincts and beliefs. We see that on full display by the students from Parkland, FL. But I digress.
The point is that we take action in life or fail to take action in life based on our beliefs about ourselves. And those beliefs--including the unconscious ones--are stored deep in our unconscious minds. And they are powerful. In fact, the unconscious beliefs are the most dangerous. We aren't even aware that they are there, so we don't question them. They are like this iceberg representation. What you can see is only a fraction of what is there.
Our brains are the same in this regard. Our subconscious and unconscious minds store everything we experience in our lives. Starting at birth, we experience everything through our senses.
Some of these experiences and feelings will be hidden away, maybe forever. Other experiences and feelings will be remembered, sometimes unwillingly, throughout our lives. Depending on how they make us feel, they can hamper our development. They create limiting beliefs about ourselves.
Mindset is a key component in goal achievement. It is also crucial for mental programming. Your mind is a powerful tool, and if used correctly and programmed well, it can help you achieve any goal you want. You can ultimately achieve the life you desire.
But how do you put a stop to those limiting beliefs that want to hold you back from the life you desire?
Here are a few techniques that work:
1) Identify the outcome you wish to achieve. Be specific. For example, if you want to lose weight, set a specific goal of losing 10 pounds.
2) Identify the limitations that are holding you back from achieving the goal. For example, if you want to take a vacation, create a budget. Set aside the amount of money you need for the trip each month. Find holes in the budget where you may be wasting money and divert it to the vacation fund.
3) Take ownership of your limiting beliefs and problems right now. It is important in this step that you do not blame yourself or anyone else for the past. Recognize that the only person in charge of you is YOU. The only thing that matters at this point is your future. You can't fix or change the past. It is what it is although you can choose to look at it differently if that helps.
4) Analyze what has held you back up to this point and why. Journaling is a powerful tool to help with this step. If you want a new job, journal about what has held you back from taking that first step. What do you believe about yourself that makes you uncertain that you deserve a job you love? Journal about the new job you would like to have. Be specific. Describe your office in exquisite detail. Describe your boss. Is it a man or woman? How does he/she treat you? Do you have an assistant? What does he/she look like? What is the nature of your job? What do you do most of the day? How do you feel when you get home at the end of the day?
5) Create the change you need to achieve your desired outcome. Wishing won't make it so. Hoping, dreaming, praying for, entreating God for...these won't hurt anything. But by themselves, they also won't change anything. You have to start taking small daily actions in the direction of the change you want to make in your life. Want to lost 10 pounds? Change your diet. Want to go on vacation? Cut out the extra coffee in the morning and save that money instead. Want a new job? Start doing something about it. If you wait another year, you are only going to be a year older. Your circumstances will not change unless you do something to change your circumstances.
The main thing is to change your mindset and develop a new attitude about your ability to change.
The following are methods you may choose to use to help you with this step:
- The Swish
- Mental movies
- Daily Affirmations
- Visualization exercises
- NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)
If you choose a method that does not succeed, don't give up. Try another method. Different methods work for different people. Keep looking until you find the method that suits you.
The key to ending limiting beliefs to also manage your mindset. You must believe in yourself before you can change anything.
As Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't - you're right!"
If limiting beliefs are holding you back from the success you want, you have to start the work on the inside first. If you don't believe you can achieve the success you want, you won't. It's that simple.
Even Jesus told us, "And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive."
You must first believe in yourself. That is where you start. Drop false beliefs that hold you back from the success you want and deserve once and for all.
If you are serious about wanting a new job, I have a new Group Coaching Cohort starting their work Monday, April 9th at 7:00 pm Eastern.
This program is an expanded version of the 4-month program. I am expanding the time frame to 6 months to include the summer months. (I know how crazy this time of year is for teachers, and you may need the extra time, so now you have it.)
If you are interested in learning more about the program or know someone who might be, please feel free to tell them to set up a complimentary 20-minute session with me. This is a great value, and it is a perfect first step toward making the change you want in your career. You may want to check it out to see if it is a good fit for you right now in your life.
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