Ever felt like you're not good enough, too old, or lacking experience? Welcome to the realm of limiting beliefs. In this article, we'll explore what these mental roadblocks are, how they affect your professional journey, and most importantly, the actionable steps to break free from their grip. Get ready to rewrite the script of your career with a fresh perspective.
What are Limiting Beliefs According to Psychology?
A limiting belief is a state of mind or belief about yourself that restricts you in some way. These beliefs are often false accusations you make about yourself that can cause a number of negative results.
Limiting beliefs can also keep you in a negative state of mind, hold you back from encountering new opportunities and life experiences while create damage on your mental health. That’s why it’s so important to not only work on your self-awareness and self-esteem, but also recognize unconscious biases. Holding on to biases about others blocks your ability to collaborate effectively, ultimately impacting your quality of work.
I will give one short example to illustrate the power of beliefs. Before 1945 people believed that you could not run a mile in under 4 minutes. So, people and athletes were telling that “people tried and failed”. In 1945 Roger Banister ran a mile in under 4 minutes instantly breaking that belief, the following year 37 other runners ran a mile in under 4 minutes – that’s the power of beliefs.
7 Common Limiting Beliefs in the Workplace
How Do Limiting Beliefs Impact Your Work Success
Have you ever gone for 2-3 job interviews, been rejected and been left feeling bad/embarrassed about the whole experience? Your mind rather than go through this negative experience again, you will start to believe “I will never get a job” and stop yourself from applying for a new position, keeping you safe (short term pleasure) by not feeling rejected. You need to ask yourself what is my limiting belief stopping me from doing? Is my limiting belief doing more harm than good? If I had a new belief or could change a limiting belief would this help me move forward? Would I get a job? Would I feel I have more choices?
In order to move forward you need to understand your own beliefs and which beliefs are limiting. When you believe your life will be hard, your mind will concentrate on this belief and will search for evidence to back up this belief. This happens all the time. Here’s an example of a very common situation in every day life: have you ever been searching for your car keys saying to yourself “I can’t find my car keys”, you look everywhere without being able to locate the car keys, this leads you to becoming angry and frustrated. Your partner comes in and tells you that there on the table in front of you – the place you checked three times! By telling yourself you can’t find the keys, stops you from finding them.
What Causes Your Limiting Beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are often formed by your unconscious mind to protect you from pain in the future. Our mind never sets out wanting you to have a hard life, we can presume that there is a positive intent for every thought and belief you have. Your limiting belief may have been adapted through past experiences, repetitive negative comments (from yourself and others) or your environment. Your mind rather than having you repeat this past distressful experience will allow you to believe it’s not worth putting yourself through it again.
Often, limiting beliefs start from a young age and progressively evolve and reshape throughout your life as you encounter new experiences. Whether you’ve had a painful experience that caused you to fear similar encounters or are scared of what’s to come, limiting beliefs can prevent positive new beliefs from forming.
Knowing the cause of your limiting beliefs is a great way to understand the thought process behind them and begin to manage them. That said, there are a number of additional techniques you can implement to overcome your fears in the workplace.
How To Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs: 3 Steps
Now is the time to start working through your own limiting beliefs and mindset struggles. The process is not going to be easy, but eventually is going to be worth it 100%. You will have to challenge yourself and see the big picture here. Whatever scares you, is the one which is going to bring growth and personal development. Cause if you think about it growth comes from the things that scare us the most.
Step 1: Write a List
What I would like you to do is to write a list of all your limiting beliefs; your beliefs that stop you from moving forward. Take some time to think.
Step 2: Create Doubt
Afterwards, pick one of your limiting beliefs – why do you believe this statement? Because in your mind you have backed this belief up with evidence, if you challenge the evidence you will break your belief.
To change your beliefs, question and challenge the evidence that backs up your limiting belief, look for the generalizations, check to see what is missing – essentially create doubt in your belief.
So, let’s see an example: I have the limiting belief that “I’m too young to become a manager”. The evidence that I might have used to back this up could be: “Everyone says you need to be at least in your 30s to become a manager ” or “My colleagues assume that I lack experience because of my age” or “Everyone else in my team is older than me”. Now, is the time to challenge the evidence. For example: “Would you be the only young manager ever existed? Think of how many amazing managers are young. Are you going to leave what everyone believes to bring you down? Our age doesn’t define us” etc.
As you can see once you start questioning your limiting beliefs you will start to create doubt which will lead you to start changing your beliefs.
Now do the same for each one of your limiting beliefs and the evidence you use to back up this belief.
Step 3: Challenge Your Beliefs Over & Over
Next, take your limiting beliefs and update them, giving yourself a new opportunity. Devote some time to finish that list.
Let’s see a few examples:
Record your new positive belief and look for evidence to back up your belief and I would add once you find evidence to back up your new belief you will truly believe this belief which will result in the belief becoming reality. Your new reality!
Your beliefs are powerful, as you already know you will search for evidence to back up your beliefs; be certain that your new beliefs have a positive purpose, re-read your new beliefs and say them out loud. Imagine yourself living your new beliefs feeling more positive about moving forward.
To sum up, everyone experiences limiting beliefs especially in the workplace, but you have to remember you’re not alone. The important thing isn’t to completely eliminate limiting beliefs, but to learn to overcome them and focus on the positive. When you change your perspective, you change your life. The key to encourage positive self belief in the workplace is communication, this way you will be able to connect with your team on tasks and everybody can support each other to reach their potential.
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