Last week, we looks at what self-limiting beliefs are, introduced Baby Elephant Syndrome and the concept of learned helplessness. This week, we are going to look at how you can banish self-limiting beliefs for good.
4 Steps to banishing self-limiting beliefs
Step 1 – Identifying the belief that holds you back
The first step to addressing self-limiting beliefs is to spot them. Life Coaches are invariably great at spotting them, and this is the reason why, months after qualifying as a coach myself, I still keep in touch with my own Life Coach.
You can spot them yourself.
Think about something that you’d like to do, but haven’t really tried. Something that you’ve procrastinated over or avoided doing because it’s outside your comfort zone. What have you told yourself that has held you back?
- I can’t do that
- I’m not good enough to…
- I’m not smart enough to…
- I’m not good at doing…
- I’ve always been this way
- I don’t deserve to
- People will laugh at me
- And so on
Look for the reason/s why you haven’t even tried to do something.
Step 2 – Look for the evidence to support this
The next step is to look at the evidence you have to support this belief. You may have tried and failed in the past. You may have been told you can’t do something by some well meaning adult. You may have even been bullied, and been told day after day that you’re not worthy, not good enough.
There are many reasons why you believe what you do. Seeking to understand the origins of the limiting belief will help you put it in perspective.
Step 3 – Look for the evidence against it
Now that you’ve identified the belief holding you back, and can provide evidence to support this belief, the next step is look look for evidence against it.
When you start looking, it’s surprising what comes up. This is why the concept of a success bank is really important. It can be used as evidence of past successes to reinforce the idea that you can actually do something.
Step 4 – Now ask yourself: “Is this still true?”
Like the adult elephant tied to a tree by a thin rope, what was true years ago is not true now. You’ve grown as a person both physically and mentally. So when you come across a self-limiting belief, ask yourself: is this still true?
As an adult, you have:
- Developed your knowledge of the world and people. You don’t stop learning just because you left school. Most of life’s lessons happen afterwards. I wasn’t great at English at school, and yet since leaving school, I’ve worked with people who have managed to teach me business English, how to write memos, emails, reports, format documents in Word etc. At 16, I wouldn’t have had the skills and knowledge to do any of these things, and yet now they come easily to me.
- Developed new skills. Think about the last thing that you learned to do. Was it a new piece of technology, a new social media app, a new soft skill learnt for work? Whatever it was, you went from absolute beginner, to trying things out and becoming confident at what you’re doing. But it all started from the position of trying. Self limiting beliefs stop you in your tracks because they stop you even trying.
- Developed different ways of doing things. My Mum used to say that there’s only two ways of doing things: the right way and the wrong way, but actually this isn’t true. There are many routes to getting to where you want to go. The trick is to learn from the people who have already taken a similar journey. Listen to what they learned and adapt that to your circumstances.
- Have enjoyed success doing different things. Successes, not matter how big or small are something that you can draw upon to help you move forward. Have a read of my blog post on the success bank.
- Overcome fears to do things that have challenged you. Each day we do things that once scared us. Whether it’s the first day of school, facing your parents when you know they’re disappointed in something you did, or going on an aeroplane for the first time. Fear is a normal reaction that aims to keep us safe, however, it can also create a barrier to trying new things. Have a read of this brilliant article based on Dr Brene Brown’s appearance on Oprah
The world is changing every day. There are new breakthroughs in what people can do and are doing. In his book “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life”, Chris Hadfield speaks of the day that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. That morning, no-one had ever done such a thing, but by the afternoon, it was a possibility.
Don’t limit yourself because of your gender, ability, age or any other feature about yourself that stops you trying.
- We have had female heads of state, Nobel prize winners, Pulitzer prize winners and astronauts.
- Disabled people compete in marathons and have climbed Mount Everest.
- There is no age limit on attending university.
- People who are deemed overweight still achieve success. Look at John Candy, Roseanne Barr, Melissa Mccarthy, Rebel Wilson and Adele.
- People who started with nothing have become billionaires. Look at Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson.
Amazing things start happening once you start believing that you can. Give it a try and if you think you need help banishing self-limiting beliefs then try some Life Coaching. Give me a call. I’d love to help.