How to Recognize Self-Limiting Beliefs
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Sheila is a work at home bookkeeper. She has plenty of high-paying clients and she loves what she does. She wants to expand her business and become known as an industry expert. She’d also like to start a podcast and she has the first few episodes outlined clearly.
Then she goes online and starts researching how to start a podcast. She gives up on the podcast idea after an hour online because her inner voice reminds her that she’s not good with technology. Sheila doesn’t realize it but she’s just accepted a self-limiting belief.
Self-limiting beliefs are the ones that hold you back from achieving your very best in business and in life. These beliefs are often so ingrained that it takes time to learn how to recognize them. Here are some warning signs that what you’re thinking might actually be self-sabotage in disguise.
Self-Limiting Beliefs Are Negative
Self-limiting beliefs are always negative. It’s the voice in your head that lists all the reasons you won’t succeed. You may think negative comments like, “Who are you to do this? Nobody is interested in what you say. You’re too dumb to succeed. Everyone will laugh behind your back if you try to do this.”
You may not realize this but these negative thoughts are often a defense mechanism. You never have to try if you believe that you’re automatically going to fail and if you don’t try, then you don’t have to risk getting hurt or failing.
Self-Limiting Beliefs Encourage a Poverty Mindset
Often, self-limiting beliefs leave you stuck with a poverty mindset. This goes beyond finances and affects how you live your life and run your business. Your inner voice might say things like, “There’s only so much success to go around. I can’t get ahead in business because my platform is tiny. All of my competitors are driving down the cost of my services so I can’t make a living wage.”
This type of poverty mindset keeps you fiercely guarding what’s “yours”. Not only does this keep you from growing your business, it keeps you from becoming friends with other solopreneurs. You see everyone as a “competitor” rather than a potential business partner or affiliate.
Self-Limiting Beliefs Paint You as a Victim
Self-limiting beliefs make you think you’re a victim. For example, you might think things like, “Success isn’t in my genes. I’m destined to be a loser. It doesn’t matter how hard I work – I still won’t be able to succeed.”
The problem with these thoughts is that they can convince you that you really are powerless. As a result, you don’t challenge your self-limiting beliefs. You stay stuck in the same place for months or even years, never realizing that the real problem was your mindset.
Recognizing self-limiting beliefs does take time. When you find yourself focused on a self-limiting belief, try to counter it with a positive truth. Keep doing this and eventually, you’ll notice a shift in your mindset that will lead to a stronger business and a better life.