How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs, According to a Career and Life Coach

August 20, 2020
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Limiting beliefs hold us back from achieving our goals, claiming our unique voice, and putting forth our genius, which the world desperately needs from us right now and always.

As a coach for emerging and established female entrepreneurs, I see time and again just how much limiting beliefs hold women back. A leadership coach who feels as though she isn’t experienced enough to increase her prices. A designer who believes she’s too sensitive to conquer entrepreneurship. A new educator who’s afraid to invest in her development since her dream job is “just a side hustle.” 

The presence of these beliefs is even more significant in periods of challenge and growth (which, hello, is basically 2020 in a nutshell). When we don’t identify and unpack our limiting beliefs, we can’t show up as the leaders we are capable of being. They can get in the way of your cultivating the career and life of your dreams and can have a negative impact on executive skills like creativity.

So, I’m going to break down what limiting beliefs are, how they show up, and practices you can explore to change your narrative. Because, girl, if there was ever a time to release those beliefs and become the powerful woman you’re meant to be, it’s now.

What is a limiting belief? 

First, let’s define it. A limiting belief is something we believe to be true about ourselves that keeps us from full self-expression, growth, and transformation, or taking action on the things that matter to us.

These beliefs are usually formed from trauma or micro-trauma we’ve experienced and are reinforced via feedback loops throughout our lives. An original experience shapes the belief, then we integrate the belief into our sense of self and find evidence to support it, which breeds more of the original feeling; often guilt, sadness, inadequacy, embarrassment, lack, fear, or anger.

Our false beliefs unconsciously inform our thoughts, behaviors, and choices. This year we’ve experienced uncertainty and unrest, and our false beliefs have been exposed. When so many things are changing and challenging us, we can gravitate towards our limiting beliefs because they present a false sense of safety. 

What do limiting beliefs look like? 

Every person’s limiting beliefs are different. We each have a core belief we hold about ourselves that, once we can identify it, is evident in most major life events. 

Here are some examples you may relate to. 

1. Filters. 

An example of a filter is the belief: “This is hard.” We all see through our own unique lens and perspective. If your lens is “this is hard,” everything is automatically going to seem hard because you’ve already decided it is so.

2. Negative self-talk.

An example of negative self-talk is the belief: “This is hard because I’m not smart.” What we believe to be true about ourselves is how we show up in the world, which causes others to believe it too. When we make circumstantial events about us, our identity becomes wrapped up in things we can’t control.

3. The stories we tell ourselves.

An example of a story is: “XYZ people don’t like me because I’m not smart enough.”A story is what happens when we don’t address our limiting beliefs. We allow them to inform us of our experience, usually replacing facts or evidence if we don’t identify and integrate them.

Your core false belief is deeply rooted; it’s been with you for most of your life. So it can take some deep thinking, journaling, and maybe even counseling to unearth it. And it’s not necessarily enjoyable work. The thing I always tell people before I lead them through guided exercises to uncover their false belief is this: 

You’ll know you’ve landed on the belief when it feels like you just got punched in the chest. When you don’t want to say out loud or share it with your peers. You might even be embarrassed that you feel that way about yourself.

I shared at the beginning of this piece that limiting beliefs are something we all experience, and I want to normalize that. So, here is my core false belief: I believe that I don’t belong because I’m not a good person.

Just because you believe it, doesn’t make it true. However, you do have to acknowledge it. And if you can do the work to overcome it, it’s actually a key to unlocking your leadership, sharing your voice, and using your authenticity to make a difference in your career.

How to tackle your limiting belief

Unpacking your limiting beliefs is lifelong work. Here are the steps we like to follow to cultivate that work daily:

Lack of capability isn’t the source of what holds people back from creating the career they dream of; it’s more often their limiting belief. If you believe you’re not the smartest person for the job, you don’t have the experience required to tackle the project, you can’t make a living doing what you love—you won’t be able to choose the alternative. 

Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to use your false belief to step into your leadership and cause change.

By doing this work, you’re not only creating the space to show up as your fullest self, but you’re also leveraging your experiences to hold space for others to become themselves too, to use their voices, and to align their actions with what matters. 

About the Author: Pia Beck is a life and business coach known for turning pain points into action items. As the CEO of Curate Well Co., coined “the queen of implementation,” her expertise is in connecting the big picture vision with the nitty-gritty details in order to create an instinctual strategy, systems, and steps. She helps her clients and community organize, implement, and execute. 

At Curate Well Co., she combines purpose and process to help emerging and established entrepreneurs start and scale savvy, streamlined, sensational businesses, make an impact, and launch a life they love and leave a legacy. At Curate Well Co., we believe in a curated life on purpose through sharing your unique gifts. Curate Well Co. has been featured in Thrive Global, Darling, Buzzfeed, Medium, and more, and has collaborated with brands like Bumble, Havenly, Lululemon, and The Riveter.

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