What are limiting beliefs?

Sometimes referred to as self-limiting beliefs, limiting beliefs are the beliefs which we hold about ourselves or a situation that somehow constrain us. We are all full of them. Mindset coaching is about changing the beliefs and ideas we have about ourselves, and we start with these limiting beliefs, aiming to release ourselves from the constraints.

How do we recognise limiting beliefs?

Limiting beliefs are easier to recognise in other people than in ourselves. You know your friend who thinks she isn’t attractive/lucky/funny/whatever enough to meet the right person, and you think she is properly cray-cray for thinking that? Or the other friend who self deprecatingly puts herself down, and says things like “I knew I’d mess that up, I always do.”  Limiting beliefs are most often stated as a fact of life. They start with I am, or I can’t, I always, I never. Among others.

And because you are an awesome friend you probably want your friends to stop with those limiting beliefs.

But you have them too. Loads. And when I point them out to you you will say something like no Rebecca, that’s not a limiting belief, that’s just fact.

An example,and this is one I come across A LOT. “I’m no good at maths. Well, I’m NOT. That is just a fact of life, my brain can’t handle figures. You will just have to believe me, that’s the way it is.” You can replace maths with pretty much any skill. Cooking, driving, public speaking, writing, confrontation, negotiation. But somehow maths seems to pop up a LOT. And how will you ever be good at something if you have convinced yourself you can’t ever be?

When I hold a discovery call with a new client I ask questions which will allow me to get a handle on what their limiting beliefs might be. Sometimes they know themselves, and a desire to change them is the reason for the call. More often they want to change a situation, and in order to get results I need to work out the mindset and limiting beliefs the client has, and start work on those, rather than the situation.

Can limiting beliefs be changed?

Of course. Otherwise I wouldn’t be in business. Sometimes they are tricky little sods though, thoroughly entrenched in your mindset and unwilling to be prised out. But that’s OK. With patience they can be dealt with. Others are almost waving and shouting, ready to be plucked out and replaced with positive beliefs.

The first step to changing them however is identifying them.

Have a little practice. Off the top of your head you might find it a bit tricky to list your limiting beliefs. But keep it at the back of your mind so that you can identify them as they pop up. Listen to your inner critic – she is full of limiting beliefs.

Let me know what you come up with.

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