If you ask someone what their limiting beliefs are, they probably won’t know. This may even apply to you. I recently became aware of a limiting belief that has been holding me back. This belief was that after I was done working closely with people, I wouldn’t need to keep the relationship relevant. I think this belief was created when I moved around every three to five years as a child. It was always easy for me to make new friends, but when I moved it was hard for me to stay in touch. This behavior was further engrained when I was in the Navy and I changed jobs every two years. I never saw the need to stay in touch.
After a recent college reunion, I have learned how my beliefs have limited me and I'm taking action to correct this to become a better connector and provide more value to those I want to maintain relationships with.
Consider these four steps to help you overcome your self-limiting beliefs.
1. Strengthen your awareness
To help you better be aware of your self-limiting beliefs consider the graphic below in which two flags are firmly anchored into the ground. One represents one’s goals and the other represents their self-limiting beliefs. Imagine two rubber bands connecting a person to each flagpole. As one works toward achieving their goals, their own self-limiting beliefs will pull them away.
Just knowing this phenomenon occurs will help you better understand what is preventing you from achieving your goals. You will be more able to identify the self-limiting beliefs holding you back.
2. Identify the self-limiting beliefs holding you back
What is causing you to stop yourself from achieving your goals? What do you believe about yourself, your colleagues, or your management that is stopping you from taking action?
Beliefs about you:
- Experience: I need more experience. I have too much experience.
- Education: I need more credentials. I don’t have enough real world experiences.
- Age: I am too old. I am too young.
- Fears: I will be rejected. I will fail. If I succeed, I may fail in the future.
Beliefs about your colleagues:
- They are better than me.
- They aren't good enough for this team.
- I can't trust them.
- I can't be myself.
- If I share too much information, they will take advantage of me.
Beliefs about your management:
- I need to get credit for the work I do.
- I need to be right.
- They won't listen
3. Determine which belief you want to reframe
Pick a belief that is holding you back the most. It would be too cumbersome to work on several self-limiting beliefs at the same time. Not sure, pick a couple and answer the following questions:
- What are the costs associated with having those beliefs?
- What situations occurred where this belief got in the way?
- What impact is this belief having on you?
What new belief will help you move closer to attaining your goal?
Try this format. If …then … For example. A client once believed his skillset was not marketable because he was a generalist and didn’t have deep knowledge in one subject matter. By using the if/then construct, the client was able to reframe his belief by stating: if I find organizations that value people with broad skillsets, then I will have a greater chance of finding an opportunity. Or using my example above, if I focus on maintaining relationships, then there will be greater opportunities for me in the future.
How will things change if you act on this new belief?
4. Take action aligned with the new belief
What are you going to do this week to move closer to achieving your goals?