Humans have limiting beliefs. Leaders have limiting beliefs.
One of those pesky limiting beliefs popped up in a recent coaching session I had with a group of leaders. They were feeling the pressure of deadlines and being understaffed around the holidays due to team members taking time off, all while trying to embrace some new skills. The prevailing sentiment was that they would have to wait to integrate the new learning (Do NOTHING) because they didn’t have the time it would take to fully utilize the new tools right now (Do it ALL).
Limiting beliefs are sly! They often take hold long before you notice! I shared one of my own limiting beliefs in a recent post: believing that situations and choices were permanent. It has kept me from silly things like hanging pictures on the wall and important things like making critical decisions. After all, if things are permanent, you don’t want to leave room for error! The truth is, my choices are actually temporary. My permanent belief has also created a forever feel in bad situations which is disheartening, and disappointment when good situations end.
I love the freedom that has come with my shift to embracing the temporary!
Is it time for some shifts in your beliefs? Which of these limiting beliefs have been holding you back?
Limiting Belief #1: All or Nothing Thinking
While the timing might be challenging for the leaders I was coaching to fully practice a new way of doing things, it doesn’t mean that they can’t do SOMETHING. There was no disputing that the new tool was more effective, and that they were currently not getting the results they desired, it was just more effort than they wanted to put out right now.
Rather than giving in to all or nothing thinking, ask yourself, “what can I do?”
New ways of doing things typically take more effort at first. There is a certain investment that must be made up front in hopes of great rewards down the road! When you are able to take baby steps towards incorporating something new it increases the chances that you will continue working on integrating that skill as a leader. When you do nothing, odds are you will keep on doing things the way you have always done them and never add the new skill to your repertoire.
Where is all or nothing thinking popping up for you?
Limiting Belief #2: It’s Not the Right Time
Maybe your struggle is more along the lines of “the timing isn’t right.” You find yourself putting off dreams, important tasks, incorporating that new skill or habit until “someday” down the road. It doesn’t take long to discover that you never actually arrive at “someday.” Whatever the timing isn’t right for never gets done.
What if you asked yourself “What small step can I take towards “x” today, this week, or this month? It truly is amazing what you can achieve when you add up a few baby steps!
Limiting Belief #3: I Can’t…
This sneaky limiting belief shows up in a variety of ways. Sometimes you don’t even know it’s at work! Do you find yourself saying things like…
I can’t say “no” – I might miss out on a fabulous opportunity or what will people think if I say no? Meanwhile you are over-committed and hating life! The Truth: only a few opportunities are right for you – those that align with your values and priorities in this season.
I can’t say what I really think – if I do, people will judge me, think less of me, or not like me. The Truth: people are attracted to genuine and authentic people and when you withhold your thoughts people aren’t able to experience the real you.
I can’t pursue my dreams – I might fail, I don’t believe I have what it takes, I don’t have the knowledge, education, resources, etc. The Truth: you may not have everything you need today to pursue your dreams – some of what you need is discovered along the path while pursuing your dreams.
I can’t be vulnerable – If I am, I will get hurt, and people will think I am weak, or take advantage of me. The Truth: it is difficult to connect with other people without being vulnerable. People actually prefer someone who is willing to be imperfect over someone who is pretending to have it all together. Vulnerability is key to building trust.
I can’t change – I’ve always been this way. Thank heavens we are capable of changing! The Truth: it is possible to make changes and rewire your brain! We have to choose!
Limiting Belief #4: I Am…
How you see yourself is makes a difference. Sadly, how you view yourself determines, to a large degree, what you are capable of. Performing beyond what you believe you are capable of rarely happens.
What limiting belief is coloring how you view yourself?
- I am not perfect
- I am not smart enough
- I am too old or too young
- I am underqualified
- I am not educated enough
- I am too shy
- I am too much to handle
- I am __________
The Truth: as a believer, your identity is in Him. He is eager to work on your behalf – He longs to make up for your lack.
Limiting Belief #5: I Must…
The “I must” limiting belief makes you feel like you have to do certain things in order to be successful, loved, or valued. The “have-to-dos” that are a heavy burden! What’s your version of the “I must” belief?
- I must work extra-long hours in order to be successful
- I must keep a perfect house in order to be liked
- I must look a certain way to belong, be loved, or to be successful
- I must know all the answers in order to be a great leader
- I must have it all together in order to do ____________.
- I must ______________.
There may be a grain of truth in your “must” thinking. Being successful at something you are pursuing often takes hard work, however, if work is all you ever do, the quality of your work will be hindered. It would be better to work hard during designated work hours and be sure to include time with the people you love and doing activities you enjoy when you are not working.
Or while you may have some areas where you need to grow, it should not prevent you from taking steps towards something God has given you to pursue.
Limiting Belief #6: Your Core Fear aka Your “Fear Monster”
The limiting belief that tends to hold you back the most is your Fear Monster – the overarching belief that you repeatedly see being confirmed in how you view your circumstances and interactions in your relationships. You can read more about your core fear here.
As long as you are in the dark when it comes to your limiting beliefs, they will continue to hinder you. Once you become aware of your limiting beliefs, you can begin challenging them and embracing truth!
How are your beliefs limiting you?