Do you know how powerful your beliefs are?
Like your mindset, they play a pivotal role in shaping your reality.
Beliefs permeate almost everything – your belief system is the foundation upon which all your thoughts, decisions and actions are built.
For example, having a high level of self-efficacy (believing in your ability to achieve your goals) is the most powerful predictor of success.
It’s time to get unstuck and get rid of those limiting beliefs that hold you back from success!
Replace them with empowering beliefs, rooted in confidence and optimism, that will help you achieve your definition of success.
“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I shall have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it, even if I may not have it at the beginning.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Here is a Limiting Beliefs Worksheet to help you overcome the limiting beliefs that are holding you back from success. I've also included all the limiting beliefs examples from this article.
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Here are 10 Examples of Limiting Beliefs that Hold you Back from Success:
Limiting Belief #1: “I’m not ready”
A lot of us fall prey to this one. We wait until we’re “ready”.
But, “ready” is an illusion.
You’ll probably never feel truly ready, especially when you’re taking a big step.
There will constantly be things you’ll want to prepare for, things you don’t feel like you can face just yet.
You can figure everything out along the way.
You won’t be perfect anyway when you’re a beginner. Or be able to predict what’s going to happen. No matter how much you
If you wait to pursue your passion, you may never do it at all.
Sometimes, the difference between success and failure is having/building the confidence to take that first leap.
So, start now.
Don't let limiting beliefs hold you back from living your best life.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
Limiting Belief #2: “I can’t pursue my dreams because I might fail”
Society has taught us that failure is bad, that it is something to be ashamed of, that it is proof of something we did wrong.
But the truth is that failure is an inevitable part of success.
Whenever you go after big goals, you will fail at some point.
And that’s a good thing! Those failures provide you with the lessons you need to succeed.
No one just starts out being successful before they even try anything.
It’s the trial and error, the learning from mistakes, the perseverance through adversity that leads to eventual success.
When you see someone successful whom you admire, just remember that a lot of things happened in order for them to get there that you don’t know about.
They may seem like an untouchable guru now, but they weren’t always.
That person started out as a beginner.
Just like you.
There was a lot of hard work, rejection and failure going on under the surface before they rose to success.
When you accept failure as a necessary part of success, you allow yourself the opportunity to succeed.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
- Winston Churchill
Limiting Beliefs That Hold You Back #3: “I can’t”
Can’t is such a limiting word. It’s so negative, so definitive, so final.
Thinking you can’t do something is a very self-defeating mindset that does not invite success. It is one of the most insidious limiting beliefs that hold you back.
And the thing is, lots of times it isn’t even true!
The statement “I can’t” can be turned around with one simple word… YET.
I can’t quit my job YET, I can’t build a website YET, I can’t retire YET.
“Yet” leaves the door open for possibility, it assumes that you can in the future – a much more positive mindset.
So, the next time you find yourself saying you can’t do something, instead say, “I can’t do it yet.
*For confidence-building tips and motivation, check out these 5 TED Talks on Confidence.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Limiting Belief #4: “Everything has to be perfect”
Do you strive for perfection?
Set unrealistically high standards for yourself?
And then get upset with yourself when you can’t reach them?
If so, you may be a perfectionist.
And while on the surface, this seems like a good thing – you excel in school, you’re a top performer at work, you never let anyone down, etc. ... it’s actually one of the limiting beliefs that hold you back from success.
If you’re constantly trying to control the uncontrollable, you will suffer from stress, anxiety and perhaps a whole host of other health problems.
When anything short of perfect is not good enough, you have a pretty limited scope because – newsflash: nothing is perfect.
Let go of perfectionism and realize that your best is good enough.
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
– John Steinbeck
Limiting Belief #5: “It’s too late”
We’ve been taught that certain things must be accomplished by a certain age.
I ("late bloomer") did none of them. For example, in your:-Teens: Know what you’re going to do with your life (nope).
-20s: Get married and have children (nope).
-30s: Have a wildly successful career and financially stable lifestyle (nope).
The truth is that each of our lives unfolds differently. Things don’t happen at the same time or in the same way for everyone.
Just because you haven’t achieved something by the time society tells you that you should have, doesn’t mean it’s "too late".
You’ve still got some life left to live … use that time wisely!
As long as you’re alive, you can try.
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."
– Chinese proverb
There are countless individuals who achieved success later in life. Here are a few:-Stan Lee- created his first comic at age 39
-Susan Boyle- her singing career took off at age 47
-Julia Child- released her first cookbook at age 50
-Colonel Sanders- founded KFC at age 62
-Grandma Moses- became famous for her artwork at age 78
-Gladys Burrill- ran her first marathon at age 86
-Harry Bernstein- published his first book at age 96
Limiting Beliefs That Hold You Back from Success #6: “That’s just the way things are”
There are times when it’s appropriate to say, “it is what it is” and surrender to the flow of the universe.
Accepting a life that’s less than desirable is not one of them.
Seeing outcomes as fixed is a surefire way to put a cap on your success.
Most things can be changed with time and effort … even your brain. Thanks to neuroplasticity, you can change your thoughts, reactions and behaviors.
So, snap out of that state of learned helplessness and realize that you are in control of your life. You have the power to change the limiting beliefs that are holding you back from reaching your goals.
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker
Limiting Belief #7: “I’m not good enough”
This limiting belief typically stems from making unhealthy comparisons.
Like comparing your beginning to someone else’s end. Or comparing yourself to someone else at all!
The only fair comparison we can make is to compare who you are today to who you were yesterday.
In today’s age of social media, we only see the parts of people’s lives they allow us to see.
Then we take their “highlight reels” and compare them to our “behind the scenes” – apples to oranges.
In a 2016 study of 1,000+ participants, those who took a one week break from Facebook reported greater life satisfaction and more positive emotional states. Maybe it's time for a social media break?
None of the criticisms you faced, failures you endured or rejections you dealt with are reflections upon your self-worth.
You don’t have to do a single thing to be “good enough”.
You're inherently enough just by virtue of you being you. Always have been, always will be.
“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here …”- Max Ehrmann
Limiting Belief #8: “I’m not motivated”
A lot of people think they lack the motivation to get the things they truly want in life.
But, it’s not a lack of motivation. It’s a lack of direction.
If you have trouble achieving the goals you set for yourself, it probably has something to do with the goal itself.
Goal setting can be tricky.
You have to set a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG).
But, then you’ve got to:
1. chunk that BHAG down into manageable tasks.
2. make sure that your goals are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound).
3. Make sure your goals are intrinsic; they should mean something to you personally.
When you have a clear “why”, you have all the motivation you need to succeed.
“He who has a why can endure any how.”- Friedrich Nietzche
Limiting Belief #9: “There’s a limited amount of money/success/joy and it’s hard to come by”
This limiting belief is rooted in a scarcity mindset.
A scarcity mindset is premised on the belief that money, success, etc. are all finite resources … not everyone can have them and they are hard to come by.
When you believe there is a deficit, you focus on the negative. You become stressed and anxious, trying to get your share and not lose it.
This only invites more stress and anxiety into your life as you fight a never-ending battle against the universe. It's a limiting belief that holds you back from your maximum potential.
On the other hand, when you operate from an abundance mindset, you know that there is more than enough for everyone. You focus on the positive and do not act from a place of fear.
When you are grateful for what you have and believe that there is an abundance of it, you will attract more of it into your life.
“Gratitude is one of the strongest and most transformative states of being. It shifts your perspective from lack to abundance and allows you to focus on the good in your life, which in turn pulls more goodness into your reality.”
Limiting Beliefs That Hold You Back #10: “Self-care is selfish”
Do you feel like you’re being selfish whenever you care for yourself?
Many of us high achievers mistakenly believe that self-care is selfish because there’s always something more important we could be doing – something for our business, our kids, our boss, our wife, our friend, our dog, etc. etc.
You allow anything and everything to take precedence over the most important part of the whole gig – YOU.
This is a dangerous way to live and eventually it will catch up with you.
We’re all human and we need to recharge. Stress, overwhelm and burnout are real – you can really do some damage to your health by neglecting self-care.
So, stop feeling guilty about it!
You’ve got to carve out time for yourself or you won’t be able to take care of anyone/anything else. Here are 33 Self Care Ideas for Stress Relief.
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
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How to Defeat the Limiting Beliefs that Are Holding You Back from Success
Think about what you really want … your big life goals.
What does your dream life look like?
Is there anything you think you can’t achieve?
If so, examine those things to see if they are truly impossible or if you only think they are because of an underlying limiting belief.
Once you identify your limiting beliefs, you can challenge them and release them.
What Made You Believe It?
Try to pinpoint what it was that made you start believing the limiting belief.
Some can be traced back to one pivotal event while others are a result of several life experiences.
But, more often than not, we as humans tend to overgeneralize. It’s just the way our brains work.
We are constantly bombarded with more information than our brains can process.
To continue operating efficiently, our brains take cognitive shortcuts – otherwise known as heuristics.
These mental shortcuts help us to make decisions or solve problems by relying on the existing information we already have.
While heuristics certainly help to simplify our decisions, they can also give rise to limiting beliefs that hold us back.
Sometimes our brain doesn't have enough information to come to a logical conclusion, so it just uses what it has.
For example, you may think something occurs more frequently than it really does simply because you are able to remember it easily:
“My aunt smoked for 30 years and didn’t get cancer” (availability heuristic).
Or you may misjudge the likelihood of something based on your existing idea of what it should be:
“The defendant probably committed the crime because he looks like a criminal” (representativeness heuristic).
Is the Belief Serving You?
If the belief isn’t serving you, why hold onto it?
Consider all the negative consequences that limiting belief has caused or contributed to.
Has it held you back from pursuing your dreams? From achieving the success you know you deserve?
Now, consider all the possibilities that would open up if were not true.
For example instead of thinking, “I’m not good at anything”, think, “My intelligence and creative ability can be developed”.
You don’t have to be a prisoner to the fear and self-doubt of limiting beliefs that hold you back in life. You can choose to adopt a different perspective – one that is supportive of you and your goals.
Replace Limiting Beliefs with Empowering Beliefs
So, you’ve identified your limiting beliefs and decided that they are no longer serving you.
Now, it’s time to replace them with empowering beliefs that will help you succeed. Here are some examples using the 10 limiting beliefs I discussed earlier:
Limiting Belief that Holds You Back vs. Empowering Belief that Supports Your Success
- I’m not ready => The best time to start is now
- I can’t pursue my dreams because I might fail => Failure is an inevitable part of success
- I can’t => I can’t YET
- Everything has to be perfect => My best is good enough
- It’s too late => As long as I’m alive, I can try
- That’s just how things are => I am in control of my life
- I’m not good enough => I am enough; always have been, always will be
- I’m not motivated => I set achievable intrinsic goals with a clear “why”
- There’s a limited amount of money/success/joy and it’s hard to come by => There is an abundance of money/success/joy that flows to me constantly and effortlessly
- Self-care is selfish => I’ve got to take care of myself before I can take care of anyone/anything else
Strengthen Your New Beliefs
Once you’ve replaced your limiting beliefs with empowering ones, strengthen those new beliefs with thoughts, affirmations, role models, actions, inspirational quotes … whatever helps to reinforce it in your mind.
Here are Limiting Beliefs Worksheets to help you overcome the limiting beliefs that are holding you back from success. I've also included all the limiting beliefs examples from this article.
Sign up to get it free now!
I hope it helps you to identify and change all the limiting beliefs that are holding you back from success!
Over to you … what limiting belief do you think holds people back the most? Let me know in the comments!
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