Many woman are aware that they might have thoughts that are working against them. But we don’t make them a priority because we think they are no big deal. It’s like that pile of magazines you keep meaning to sort out and throw away. They aren’t hurting you, so you can keep putting that chore off. But I believe I can prove that limiting beliefs are not harmless.
What are limiting beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are personal beliefs or assumptions that prevent us from doing things. These range from simple things like thinking you don’t have time to eat breakfast to more serious things like a belief that you can’t get a promotion because of your age or gender. When you think about the range of limiting beliefs they don’t seem quite so harmless, do they?
What are some of the most common limiting beliefs?
All of us have beliefs, some of them limiting, which we cannot seem to overcome. Most of the time, these beliefs have been with us since childhood and they have very deep roots. The house we grew up in, our early teachers, our circle of friends, all of these are sources of beliefs.
Many women hold limiting beliefs about what we can do in the world because of our gender. I worked with a client who was raised in an environment in which the girls were taught lots of limits, while the boys were not. Even though she didn’t like them, she grew up to be a woman with limited thinking based on her gender. Here are some other common limiting beliefs:
I can’t change who I am.
This belief limits us in terms of changing thoughts and behaviors and progressing in our careers and personal lives. While aspects of your personality may not change, there are many things that you can change about yourself, and the first step is believing that you don’t have to be stuck in the same old patterns for the rest of your life.
I’m not motivated enough to do ___.
Whether it’s finding a job, getting a degree or going out each morning for a run, many of us believe that we’re just not motivated enough to accomplish these things and there’s nothing we can do about it. WRONG! Not many people are naturally full of never-ending motivation and commitment, so it’s something you need to check on regularly.
Remember that old adage about taking a bath every day? You can think of your motivation as an ‘encouragement bath’, it needs to be repeated at regular intervals.
Changing your mindset and creating new behaviors can be done with a little bit of focus. Start with a list of the reasons why you want to do a certain thing.
I’m too old/it’s too late to ___.
There are so many examples of women who found success ‘later’ in life including Vera Wang, Julia Child, and Martha Stewart. It’s amazing how as we get older the ‘later’ stage of life keeps moving. If you still have the dream, it’s never too late to bring it to life.
How do limiting beliefs impact your life?
Limiting beliefs come from a variety of sources, including our childhood, our friends and peers, the media (particularly social media) and the books we choose to read.
Many of us are not aware of our limiting beliefs, and these beliefs have become so normal to us that we don’t even think about getting rid of them.
Each of us have different limiting beliefs, but they all keep us from doing things we would like to do. For example, if you believe that you can’t speak in public, you won’t work on your communication skills or look into jobs that would require public speaking.
How can you change your limiting beliefs?
Acknowledging that limiting beliefs are not harmless is simple. Becoming aware of what your limiting beliefs are is the first step to getting them under control so they won’t affect your life.
Make a list of all the things you believe are limiting you from living to your full potential and you will become more conscious of them each day and in a better position to fight them.