I know – not more stuff about limiting beliefs!
But this is worth a look – promise!
We all have limiting beliefs hidden in our subconscious.
Deep-seated ones usually come from childhood – we learn them from caregivers, teachers, siblings –
all kinds of learning and experiences get soaked up as truth when we are too immature and inexperienced to be able to tell the difference.
But even as we go through life, we are constantly forming new beliefs as our experiences and values change and form.
A massive part of any coach’s job is to help their client uncover and challenge those limiting beliefs –
this exercise alone can have a massively positive effect on mindset – and the ability to recover from anxiety.
A belief is something we perceive and accept to be true for us, regardless of whether it can be proven/disproven. It is usually learnt and is based on faith, or personal experience…
‘I believe the earth is flat’.
A fact, on the other hand, is information that can be proved to be true…
‘I know the earth is round’.
If we believe that we are limitless beings put here to have a wonderful and amazing experience, taking in everything this physical life has to offer – and I do! Then, any belief which ‘limits’ that experience and joy is by definition ‘limiting’.
But it’s also important to remember that just because a belief prevents you doing something, if it’s not something you really want to do, and you can achieve the same joyful result by not doing it, then it is not limiting…
Here’s an example:
We were discussing limiting beliefs during a coaching group I’m a member of. One of the women in the group was asking whether we identified with certain limiting beliefs as part of a study she was undertaking.
‘I’m bad with numbers’ came up – virtually everyone put their hands up!
A couple of women said they believed they were bad with numbers and they ignored it or didn’t really have a handle on how their business was performing or where they were going because of it – it kept them up at night.
Limiting belief in action!
A few others said they hated numbers and believed they were ‘bad’ but had made themselves ‘good’ at it so they could understand and grow their business.
Limiting belief challenged and kicked into touch!
Another one said that she accepted she was bad with numbers.
So, she outsourced it to a great VA who loved it and provided her with a spreadsheet each month –
so she knew the headline figures and could grow her business accordingly without getting stuck in the detail or frustration of the actual process itself.
Limiting belief non-existent!
In my opinion, for this woman ‘I’m bad with numbers’ is not a ‘limiting belief’.
Despite having this belief, her ability to live, work and grow her business was not being limited in any way.
Now, if she suddenly couldn’t afford the VA to do it for her she would be faced with allowing it to limit her (ignore the numbers, lose track and affect her business) or challenging it and getting ‘good’ at numbers.
She might not ‘like’ it, but it wouldn’t be ‘limiting’ her.
So, not all limiting beliefs require ‘tackling’! Phew – right?!!
I mean, believing that blue is the best colour (it totally is btw!), might be limiting my ability to see and enjoy other colours as much, but hey – me and blue have a special relationship!! You just don’t mess with that!
Yes! Great question!
Empowering beliefs are the opposite of limiting beliefs and propel you forward with conviction towards your goals. Obstacles are just exciting challenges to overcome. The more empowering beliefs you can cultivate – and after all, it is just a personal choice whether to ‘believe’ something (amazing!) – the happier, more positive and joyful you will be!
It does however seem to be much easier to believe the limiting beliefs than it is the empowering ones.
Part of this is genetics.
We are hardwired to look for the problems, the issues, the danger, the reasons not to do things.
This is a survival mechanism – and very closely tied into the fight or flight response we experience with anxiety. Limiting beliefs keep you small, safe – and alive!!!
But in this day and age, it is unlikely having a healthy disregard for your limiting beliefs will result in you skipping carefree out of your cave only to get eaten by a sabre-toothed tiger!
It is likely however, you will limit your joy and experiences on this earth, which I believe, would be a great shame.
The other part of this bias towards the limiting is environment and external input.
If you have lots of negative experiences, lots of negative input from others, and choose to focus on that, that is all you will see – you will view the world through that negative lens and attract more of the same.
But you do have the choice.
Compare the two statements:
“I’m too old to learn new things”
“I have so much experience, I can learn anything!”
One feels limiting and small, the other feels expansive and exciting!
It is pretty much impossible to prove either, so why not choose to believe the one that feels good? The one that gives you purpose and conviction? The one that at least supports you to take action?
There are lots of different ways to uncover limiting beliefs and the simplest one is to
pay attention to your language.
Notice when you use ‘I can’t… I don’t… I’m not… I’m too…I shouldn’t…’
Using these words to start a sentence is usually a pretty good indicator of something deeper behind the sentiment.
Sometimes it will be true, for example ‘I’m not 21’! And that my friends is a fact!
But (going back to our definition of a limiting belief) if it’s something you believe which is not based in truth – it’s probably a pesky limiting belief!
For example, ‘I’m too old to…’ – is probably a belief – unless it’s to get a youth railcard, then it’s truth!!! Context is important!
You can also journal your way to clarity.
Grab your journal and a pen and list out at least five things you have really wanted to do in the last five years but haven’t. It can be anything – big or small – the key is you must have really wanted to do it.
Under each item in that list, write out what you need to have in order to accomplish that goal.
Then list out the reasons you have not done those things.
The things you need to have are your ‘Resources’ and the reasons you haven’t done it are your ‘Excuses’.
Examine the contrast between the two lists – does it seem reasonable? Genuine lack of resources are not limiting beliefs, but if an excuse is preventing you from getting the resources – that is limiting!
So, you really, really want to go to Hawaii.
Under ‘Resources’ is ‘£1000.00’ – if you don’t have it – this is lack of resources.
Under ‘Excuses’, you wrote ‘I’ll never have enough money’ – that’s the pesky limiting belief!
Next, you need to look at how you feel…
This is a really important one. Looking at the learning example from above:
“I’m too old to learn new things”
“I have so much experience, I can learn anything!”
There is such a difference in energy between those two statements – you can feel it. So, the next thing I want you to be aware of is how do these goals, words or beliefs feel to you?
Get quiet and tune in. Speak out loud or write the statement or belief in your journal.
What do you feel in your body?
Does it feel good? Does it feel expansive? Are you smiling?
Or does it feel tight? Restricting? Is your face fixed in a tense grimace?
Only you will know how it feels to you.
And that’s it for this week!
There are loads of other tools I use, including ‘Working with your Shadow’,
but I will leave that for another time!
I’d love to hear about how you’ve used these tips to uncover any limiting beliefs and how knowing this information can help you make different choices about what you are capable of, please drop me a line and let’s connect. Or jump into our Facebook Group and join the conversation there.
Uncovering limiting beliefs forms a key part of the ‘Beyond Anxiety Blueprint’ and if you’d like to discuss any issue you are struggling with at the moment click on the image below and book a free call.
Hi there, my name’s Kathryn and I’m your Anxiety Recovery Coach.
My mission is to connect with, help and support as many open-minded, women as possible who want to transform their relationship with anxiety, fall back in love with their work and life, and willing to believe recovery is at least possible.
Over the last few years, I have honed and tweaked the tools and techniques which worked for me, into my ‘Beyond Anxiety Blueprint’ which focuses on identifying your personal path to recovery, and delivering three key outcomes:
Why not join us in our Facebook Group – our community for open-minded women from all walks of life learning to live anxiety-free, reconnect with their inner-selves, and shine in their lives, careers and businesses with conscious, calm, confidence?
Or you can download my guide: ‘Journal your way to CONSCIOUS, CALM, CONFIDENT‘ to give you a little ‘Consciousness Jumpstart’!