How to Overcome Self-Limiting Beliefs

                                           By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC


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Sarah had spent years working as a web designer. She happily created websites for small business owners and soon, her clients were asking for more than just beautiful websites. They wanted branding advice and they looked to her for answers.

When Sarah first noticed this shift, she was nervous. She didn’t think she had what it took to be a branding expert. But she decided to take a chance and slowly started focusing more on branding. Within a year, Sarah transformed herself from a web designer to a brand consultant, who was making even more money in less time. Her clients loved her new shift and Sarah was happier than before.

You can probably relate to where Sarah was a year ago, stuck between two different paths. To achieve this new level of success, Sarah had to challenge some pretty big beliefs that were standing in her way. She’d been taught that working for someone was better than working for herself. She didn’t feel as polished as the other brand consultants she met. She didn’t feel very confident.

Like Sarah, you probably carry around a lot of self-limiting beliefs. These beliefs are preventing you from taking that next step in being successful Here’s how to tackle your self-limiting beliefs and send them packing.

Take Responsibility

Your self-limiting beliefs are acting as a safety net. They’re trying to protect you. But it’s your job to decide whether these thoughts are helping you or keeping you from true growth. 

Become Aware

Pause and listen to your thoughts throughout the day.  Become aware of negative and positive thoughts surrounding you as you work towards your goal. Write these thoughts down. Evaluate the thoughts that have merit and the ones that don’t. Take action to change the ones that do have merit and journal through the ones that don’t. Where did they come from? When is the first time you had that thought? It is probably a deep seeded belief that is coming up from your past to be healed. Take the time to heal it and consider seeking professional help from someone who can help you untangle and release your false beliefs.

Acknowledge the Belief

Approach self-limiting beliefs with kindness and follow up with gentle questions. Try to approach your beliefs as if you were talking to a young child. For example, you might say, “I understand that you feel scared of this new direction. But are you really happy where you are or is it just that you feel safe here?”

Use Journaling

It can be helpful to use journaling to get to the root of your belief. Is the belief that you’re struggling with an echo of what others told you or made you feel like at some point in your life? Is the belief out of perspective? What is the worst that can happen?

Reframe the Belief

Self-limiting beliefs don’t have to keep you stuck. You can counter them with positive affirmations that help you move toward your goals. For example, your self-limiting belief might be that you can’t earn above a certain amount. Challenge this belief with affirmations like, “My earning potential is only limited by my choices. I do good work and I deserve to be well compensated for it.”

Remember that you’re in control. You can succeed at your goals. Make it a priority to challenge and change your self-limiting beliefs.