Common Limiting Beliefs (and how to overcome them)
Think you don’t have what it takes to be successful and earn a consistent full-time income blogging or in your online business? Think again.
One of the many things I have seen hold people back from success is the beliefs they hold about themselves, the world, and what’s possible for them.
More often than not, these limiting beliefs are hidden, so you won’t even know you have them or that they are holding you back except someone sheds a light on them.
This is why a lot of people go around in circles of trying something and not seeing results even after ‘following all the rules’
I have found that it is not the lack of ideas, goals or strategies that keep people from succeeding, but the unconscious limiting beliefs and mindset they hold about themselves and what’s possible for them.
You probably know what to do, but there are so many “what ifs” that come along with your ideas so you stay stuck and paralyzed from taking action.
Maybe you are trying to start or grow your business or creative abilities. But these limiting beliefs keep you hold you back and so you are not able to move forward.
At this point, I’d say you hire a mindset coach to help you uncover these beliefs. But since you are here, I put this post together to help you get started.
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What is a belief anyway?
It is a thought that you had in your mind that you repeated so many times that it became a truth for you. When you truly believe something, you act only from the perspective of that belief. You can’t think higher than that because you won’t believe yourself if you think so.
Now, read that again to let it really sink in.
If you think you can’t sing, will you ever make an attempt to sing? No. Because your brain has already decided that you can’t and will go lengths to prove to you that you can’t sing and shouldn’t even try to.
Behind every limiting belief, there is a thought. You either formed it yourself or you adopted and internalized other people’s belief system.
Beliefs can be changed anytime, no matter how old you are. Like the negative beliefs turned into negative thought patterns over time, you can start running positive beliefs and form new patterns.
Common Limiting Beliefs That Holds You Back From Success
Limiting Belief 1: I am not good enough / I am not loveable / I am not worthy
So many of us struggle with the feelings of not being good enough.
But how do we decide we are not good enough? Aside from other factors that may contribute to this mindset, Our childhood experiences is one major factor that causes us to doubt our worth.
So, if you grew up with constant criticisms around your performance, looks, and all, you are most likely going to question if you are good enough, worthy/deserving, or capable to take on whatever new task or relationship you want to.
And we repeat the thought so many times to ourselves that it becomes a belief.
When you compare yourself with others, you are comparing your weakness with their strength. You might not have the same strength as the other person, but you have strengths that they don’t have. Focus on your strengths rather than on your weaknesses as you are meant to excel there.
Limiting Belief 2: I am not qualified / I am not capable / Somebody else does it better than me…
If you often find yourself thinking: “I just got lucky, anybody could have done what I did just as easily, it’s only a matter of time before people see me for who I really am, I am unqualified and incapable of taking on this task…”– when someone compliments you on an achievement”
You are probably limiting and holding yourself back from more opportunities.
These feelings are sometimes part of an issue called imposter syndrome. You believe you will be exposed as an imposter someday. And that you don’t really deserve the praises you receive for your accomplishments. You believe you just got lucky.
This belief often stems from the feelings of perfectionism and the belief that you have to be an expert in order to do a job. Imposter syndrome is extremely common and even the most successful people can have it.
You don’t become perfect overnight or someone doesn’t hand over the “expert” badge to you one fine day. You can keep learning and grow your knowledge at the same time as providing value through your services.
Moreover, you can never start if you wait until you are perfect. You learn through your mistakes and for that, you have to start from where you are.
And no expert knows all the answers about his subject. We are all a work in progress.
When you feel stuck again due to imposter syndrome, remind yourself about all your strengths and how far you have come. An unqualified person does not receive appreciation. If someone appreciates your work, they are not lying, it’s because you truly have the ability in you.
Limiting Belief 3: I can’t be my real self or I’ll be judged.
I often watch videos of Oprah, Lisa Nicoles, Tony Robbins, Tom Bilyeu, Ellen DeGeneres, and successful people on YouTube because I get to learn more about them and absorb their wisdom. I notice that no matter how inspiring the person is, there will always be detractors who try to tear him/her down.
For example, with Oprah’s videos, I have seen detractors calling her “an overweight, money-grubbing whore,” and “a black racist.” Sometimes, people will criticize that she “talks too much and needs to shut up.” Detractors of Ellen usually describe her as a “homo,” a “disgusting gay,” and an “evil lesbian who violates Jesus’ teachings, destroys the sanctity of marriage, and is going to hell.” (Ellen is lesbian and she’s married to Portia de Rossi.) Mind you, both Oprah and Ellen are two very accomplished humanitarians who have done a lot to help others.
So whenever I read these comments, I’d think, Wow, I’m so glad that these people don’t bother themselves with such negativity. Because if they did, they would never have accomplished so much. They would also not have done so much good in the world!”
Seeing such comments helps me realize that people are always going to judge you no matter how great of a person you are.
You can never please everyone because everyone is different (this is coming from a recovering people pleaser). Since everyone is different, why bother trying to please people?
You are better off being yourself and owning your true self! Stop hiding. Stop letting the fear of being judged or what people will say keep you from showing up as your true authentic self.
Limiting Belief 4: I can’t pursue my dreams because I might fail…
Society has taught us that failure is bad, that it is something to be ashamed of, that it is proof of something we did wrong.
But the truth is that failure is an inevitable part of success.
Whenever you go after big goals, you will fail at some point.
And that’s a good thing! Those failures provide you with the lessons you need to succeed.
No one just starts out being successful before they even try anything.
It’s the trial and error, the learning from mistakes, the perseverance through adversity that leads to eventual success.
When you see someone successful whom you admire, just remember that a lot of things happened in order for them to get there that you don’t know about.
They may seem like an untouchable guru now, but they weren’t always.
That person started out as a beginner.
Just like you.
There was a lot of hard work, rejection and failure going on under the surface before they rose to success.
When you accept failure as a necessary part of success, you allow yourself the opportunity to succeed.
Limiting Belief 5: Is it really possible?
Growing up, I didn’t have many entrepreneurs in my family or even know of any!
So I get it. I’ve been in that place where maybe your friends and family are telling you that your dream of building your own business is crazy. Not to mention that you should just get a job like normal people.
But you know what you’re doing when you keep on thinking this thought?
You’re placing yourself in a position where you’re looking BOTH for proof that it’s possible AND proof that it’s not.
And guess what? Because you’re looking for it, you’re going to find proof of both.
Here’s what happens at this point for many new entrepreneurs…
Maybe you ignore the proof that it’s not possible for a while and work on your business. However, after a month or two, you still struggle to get results.
And that’s when that doubt starts creeping in.
You thoughts starting turning to the proof that it’s not possible, and you start thinking more and more often that maybe it’s really not possible.
That’s a path you don’t want to go down, right?
So think about this instead:
When in your life have you accomplished something even though you had no proof it was possible?
For example, maybe you were the first person in your family to start a business. Even though you had no proof that it was possible
Maybe your family even told you not to aim so high, but you believed it was possible, which is how you were able to MAKE it possible for yourself.
The “trick” to overcome limiting beliefs, including this one, is that you have to first believe something before you can make it happen.
So if you REALLY want to succeed, you have got to choose to believe wholeheartedly in the fact that it’s going to happen for you.
Then, focus only on the proof that supports that belief, and put the blinders on to any proof that doesn’t support it.
You can take those blinders off AFTER you’ve built your business.
Limiting Belief 6: It’s too late…
We’ve been taught that certain things must be accomplished by a certain age.
I remember feeling like a failure, like I wasted my life and all when I was hitting 30. The months leading up to my 30th birthday was filled with depression, anxiety, pity, and thoughts pressing delete and moving to a different country to start over. The pressure I felt was immeasurable.
I felt that way because my father (late now) had created a milestone (like graduate from University before 25, get a good job, marry and start a family– be wildly successful and lead a stable life by 30) for each of us. And I hadn’t reached any of those.
I didn’t take a job (never have), I opted to start my own business instead, and I ‘failed’, sadly. Several times.
I convinced myself that it was too late to dream again and that I had missed every opportunity to ‘make it’
The truth is that each of our lives unfolds differently. Things don’t happen at the same time or in the same way for everyone.
Just because you haven’t achieved something by the time society tells you that you should have, doesn’t mean it’s “too late”.
You’ve still got some life left to live … use that time wisely!
As long as you’re alive, you can try.
There are countless individuals who achieved success later in life.
Here are a few:-Stan Lee- created his first comic at age 39
-Susan Boyle- her singing career took off at age 47
-Julia Child- released her first cookbook at age 50
-Colonel Sanders- founded KFC at age 62
-Gladys Burrill- ran her first marathon at age 86
-Harry Bernstein- published his first book at age 96
So, if you are thinking:
…”it’s too late to start a blog now…” “… it’s too late to begin showing up on social media…” ”…it’s too late to start my business or pursue that dream..” “…it’s too late to …. (write yours).
Stop yourself and start doing something that will help you achieve that goal.
Limiting Belief 7: Money is hard to make
This is a really tough one and a super-sensitive subject too (money is an emotional topic!).
I grew up in a household where money WAS hard to make. We never went on vacation, and never even went out to the movies or to dinner.
Growing up, I was taught that there is never enough money so we have to manage every penny, . So I get it.
But you know what thinking this way does to you?
It makes you feel guilty about getting paid your worth for the work that you do for your clients.
And it also makes you feel guilty for even getting paid in your business.
There’s no easy fix to changing this belief, as unfortunately, you can’t say “Bye, Felicia” to a belief you’ve spent the past few decades of your life believing to be true.
However, you can re-program that belief. Here’s how I did it…
First, I researched wealthy people.
I researched the way they think about money. And every day, I worked on shifting my thoughts about money to the way they thought.
Plus I figured, if someone out there can make $100 million a year, why can’t I make $1 million?
Second, I constantly worked on my mindset so that my beliefs became more and more abundant.
I came up with my own limiting beliefs list and slowly (and painfully!) worked through each one to overcome my decades-long programming about money being scarce and hard to make.
And finally, I read every book I could get my hands on about training your mind to believe in wealth.
Self-help books like Think and Grow Rich, The Science of Getting Rich, and Tapping into Wealth.
To this day, I still go back over them frequently, and I highly recommend them to everyone.
Limiting Beliefs 8: That’s just the way things are…
Urrgh! The feeling I get in my stomach when someone says: “that’s just how I am…” …”that’s how it has always been…” “… that’s just the way life is…”
There are times when it’s appropriate to say, “it is what it is” and surrender to the flow.
Accepting a life that’s less than desirable is not one of them.
Seeing outcomes as fixed is a surefire way to put a cap on your success.
Most things can be changed with time and effort … even your brain. Thanks to neuroplasticity, you can change your thoughts, reactions, and behaviors.
So, snap out of that state of learned helplessness and realize that you are in control of your life. You have the power to change the limiting beliefs that are holding you back from reaching your goals.
Limiting Belief 9: Once I get —, I’ll finally have proven —
Trying to achieve a certain revenue goal in your business or to get a specific number of clients in order to prove something is one of the most limiting beliefs you can possibly think.
I’ve been there too.
I used to think…
“Once I get 10 clients, I’ll be set.”
“Once I make 6-figures in my business, I’ll be a success.”
“Once I get my first client, THEN I’ll have shown people that I’m worthy of getting clients.”
“Once I start making 5-figures from my blog and have proven results, I’ll start teaching others or feel more qualified to talk about blogging…”
The problem is, when you have this “hidden agenda” mindset of wanting a goal to PROVE something instead of wanting the goal for the sake of the goal itself, it sets you up for a vicious cycle of failure.
For example, back when I used to think that I’d be “worthy” after I got my first client, each rejection deeply shook me and my confidence.
Each time I got a “no” or had someone tell me, “I can’t afford you,” it reinforced my limiting belief that I actually wasn’t worthy of getting clients or building a business or achieving my dreams.
Can you imagine what that does to your self confidence and your ability to achieve your goals?
Thankfully, I was able to turn this thought around. I did that by first identifying my imposter syndrome and doing these three exercises to overcome it.
As a result, I was able to truly believe first in my own worth and let go of the need to prove my worth based on my results. Doing so allowed me to completely shift the way I thought about getting clients in my business or earning a stable income from my blog.
That freed me up emotionally, creatively, and mentally to get my next paying client a LOT faster.
Limiting Belief 10: Everything has to be perfect…
Do you strive for perfection?
Set unrealistically high standards for yourself?
And then get upset with yourself when you can’t reach them?
Or, do you avoid doing something because you perceive/fear you might not do it ‘perfectly’?
If so, you may be a perfectionist.
And while on the surface, this seems like a good thing – you excel in school, you’re a top performer at work, you never let anyone down, etc. … it’s actually one of the limiting beliefs that hold you back from success.
If you’re constantly trying to control the uncontrollable, you will suffer from stress, anxiety and perhaps a whole host of other health problems.
When anything short of perfect is not good enough, you have a pretty limited scope because – newsflash: nothing is perfect.
Let go of perfectionism and realize that your best is good enough.
How to Defeat the Limiting Beliefs that Are Holding You Back from Success
Think about what you really want … your big life goals.
What does your dream life look like?
Is there anything you think you can’t achieve?
If so, examine those things to see if they are truly impossible or if you only think they are because of an underlying limiting belief.
Once you identify your limiting beliefs, you can challenge them.
What Made You Believe It?
Try to pinpoint what it was that made you start believing the limiting belief.
Some can be traced back to one pivotal event while others are a result of several life experiences.
But, more often than not, we as humans tend to overgeneralize. It’s just the way our brains work.
We are constantly bombarded with more information than our brains can process.
To continue operating efficiently, our brains take cognitive shortcuts – otherwise known as heuristics.
These mental shortcuts help us to make decisions or solve problems by relying on the existing information we already have.
While heuristics certainly help to simplify our decisions, they can also give rise to limiting beliefs that hold us back.
Sometimes our brain doesn’t have enough information to come to a logical conclusion, so it just uses what it has.
For example, you may think something occurs more frequently than it really does simply because you are able to remember it easily:
“My aunt smoked for 30 years and didn’t get cancer” (availability heuristic).
Or you may misjudge the likelihood of something based on your existing idea of what it should be:
“The defendant probably committed the crime because he looks like a criminal” (representativeness heuristic).
Is the Belief Serving You?
If the belief isn’t serving you, why hold onto it?
Consider all the negative consequences that limiting belief has caused or contributed to.
Has it held you back from pursuing your dreams? From achieving the success you know you deserve?
Now, consider all the possibilities that would open up if were not true.
For example instead of thinking, “I’m not good at anything”, think, “My intelligence and creative ability can be developed”.
You don’t have to be a prisoner to the fear and self-doubt of limiting beliefs that hold you back in life. You can choose to adopt a different perspective – one that is supportive of you and your goals.
Limiting beliefs are just that — beliefs.
Once you identify your limiting beliefs, you have the power to overcome them and create new beliefs that support you in achieving your goals.
The first step starts with simply identifying what your limiting beliefs are right now.
Jump on a free call with me if you need help uncovering these beliefs and turning them around to something that supports you.
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Which of these listed limiting beliefs have been holding you back?
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