Common Beliefs That Hold YOU Back
Your beliefs, including your limiting beliefs, are influencing you every day! While often running in the background unnoticed, your beliefs are hard at work helping or hurting you in profound ways.
Those beliefs that are hurting are limiting beliefs. They are birthed out of your experiences and are intended to protect you from pain.
Limiting beliefs keep you from developing the habits you need to succeed. They negatively impact your relationships. And limiting beliefs hold you hostage and keep you from stepping into all that God has for you. That means you miss out on making a difference and pursing work and opportunities that make life meaningful.
Here’s the good news: overcoming your limiting beliefs is possible! It’s not always easy, but with God’s help, a little persistence, and desire, breaking free is possible!
Noticing the beliefs or thoughts that are running around in your head – that’s the very first step. Paying attention to what you are thinking and feeling when faced with opportunities that are outside your comfort zone. Remember your limiting beliefs are there to keep you in the safety of your comfort zone.
When fear bubbles up, that’s an opportunity to pause and dial into the beliefs that are contributing to your fearful feelings.
When funky emotions surface, that too is a chance to dig deep and see what beliefs might be lurking underneath those feelings.
Once you’ve identified the beliefs, it’s time to determine the truth. If your belief is a lie, then it’s time to dwell on Truth!
There are dozens and dozens of limiting beliefs, but here are some of the most common:
1. All-or-Nothing Thinking
All-or-nothing thinking is about extremes and misses out the many shades of gray in the middle.
One group of leaders that I worked with a few years back had all recently been through a leadership training. At that time, they were understaffed, had deadlines looming, and it was around the holidays.
The prevailing sentiment among them 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 implement the new tools right now (Do it ALL).
Here’s the kicker: those leaders were not getting the results they needed! They admitted that the tools they received would have made a marked difference and enabled them to be far more effective, but they didn’t believe they had the capacity to utilize them now.
When you put off practicing anything new, the likelihood of you coming back to it is next to nil. No matter how amazing the new tools and training were, they would never take those leaders to the next level as long as all-or-nothing beliefs were at work.
The antidote to all-or-nothing thinking is believing that “something is always better than nothing!”
A baby step in a new direction is better than no step in a new direction. Practically, what could that have looked like? Perhaps reflecting back and choosing the one principle or change that would have the greatest impact and focusing on that for the next couple of weeks – something small. Another possible step would have been to set aside 10-30 minutes a day or on Fridays to read back through the materials and look for small ways changes they might be able to make.
Imagine how even those small somethings would have served those leaders!
Where is all-or-nothing thinking popping up for you?
2. It’s Not the Right Time
Here’s another version of all-or-nothing thinking or having beliefs that cause you to operate in a very black or white way. Remember, the good stuff is in the “happy middle” not in the extremes!
Have you ever found yourself putting something off because “the timing wasn’t right?” Perhaps you’ve put off…
- Your dreams
- Starting a business
- Getting a degree
- Important or hard tasks
- Incorporating a new skill or habit
- Confronting someone
- Activities that make your heart happy
It doesn’t take long to realize that the timing is rarely ideal.
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 are able to achieve when you add up baby steps!
3. I Don’t Have Enough Time
This belief really messes with your ability to make the most of your time! It’s a belief I wrestled with myself. Believing that I didn’t have enough time left me perpetually stressed and rushing, not to mention me making unnecessary mistakes which made everything take longer.
My belief about time had a negative impact on my relationships, because when you are short of time you don’t want to be bothered with people. And when you don’t want to be bothered with people, it creates conflict and hurt feelings, all of which take more time to resolve!
Making the shift to “I have all the time I need” has made a huge difference in how I feel, but also in my level of productivity!
4. I Can’t…
This sneaky limiting belief shows up in a variety of ways. 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 are a good fit and 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 real thoughts people aren’t able to experience or connect with 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 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’s difficult to connect 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.
5. I Am…
How you see yourself makes a difference. 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? Do you tell yourself that I am…
- too old or too young
- not smart enough
- too much to handle
- not educated enough
- too shy
The Truth: as a believer, your identity is found in Him. God is eager to work on your behalf – He longs to make up for your lack. And He wants you to see yourself the way He sees you in light of His dear Son!
6. I Must…
When you believe “I must” it causes you to feel like you have to do certain things in order to be successful, loved, or valued. “Have-to-dos” are heavy burdens – beliefs like I must…
- work extra-long hours to be successful
- look a certain way to belong, be loved, or to be successful
- have all the answers to be a great leader
- have it all together in order to do ____________.
- keep a perfect house in order to be liked
What’s your version of an “I must” belief and how is it limiting you?
7. Your Fear Monster
Your Fear Monster’s primary role is to keep you from becoming all that God created you to be. He convinces you to believe one big lie – just one that significantly limits you in nearly every area of your life! Until you recognize the lie, you will view your circumstances, relationships, work and more through that lens. When you know who God created you to be, and walk in that truth, it sets you free! That requires God’s help, but it is a powerful shift!
Where in your life have you been unable to move forward the way you’d like to? That’s a great place to pay attention to the beliefs that are at work and limiting you.
If identifying those limiting beliefs has been difficult for you, you are not alone! That’s one of the many reasons to enlist the help of a coach! Spotting limiting beliefs is something they are trained to do!
Once you are aware of your limiting beliefs, the next step is embracing the truth!
How are your beliefs limiting you?