What’s holding you back from getting what you want from life?
If you’re like most people, you’ll have a long list of answers.
Time. Money. Knowledge.
Sometimes, it can feel like there’s far more holding us back than there is helping us move forward.
However, I truly believe that there is only one thing that can hold you back from achieving success in life and business.
What is it?
To be precise, the stories you tell yourself that hamper your progress. The faulty models of thinking you’ve developed over the years.
Our limiting beliefs are ultimately the main impediment to the success we all deserve.
The secret isn’t to avoid or run away from these beliefs. Instead, we need to analyze and find ways to overcome them.
Here are three limiting beliefs that might be holding you back.
I Need to Be Perfect Before Starting
On the surface, perfectionism might seem logical. Sensible, even.
After all, isn’t it a good idea to be as perfect as possible before starting something? To gain as much knowledge as we can before diving headfirst into a new project or pursuit?
More often than not, the feeling of needing to be almost perfect before starting is nothing more than disguised procrastination. Rather than admit to ourselves we lack the bravery to get started, we rationalize it as something else entirely.
So how can we break free from this limiting belief?
First, seek out empowering examples of people who started in less-than-perfect circumstances.
Consider Richard Branson, who first succeeded in business with a magazine called Student, despite having dyslexia and leaving school early after performing poorly! He managed all this without the benefit of the modern resources we have, such as specialist software and the Internet.
Or, from the world of athletics, Wilma Rudolph, who overcame infantile paralysis, not to mention a severely racist society, to win multiple Olympic gold medals.
Once you realize that people have experienced massive levels of success in spite of drastically imperfect circumstances, you permit yourself to do the same.
Next, it’s time to build some momentum. Set yourself deadlines. Find an accountability partner. Let people know you’re getting started. Do everything in your power to make not starting more difficult than getting going.
Finally, make a plan to improve any weaknesses you have. While perfectionism is harmful, self-improvement is one of the best investments you can make. Accept that you’ll improve as you go, rather than needing to be at a certain level before even starting.
Being perfect is impossible. Don’t allow the pursuit of perfection to hold you back.
I’m Not the Kind of Person Who…
Too often, we see our identity as something fixed. Something we can’t change. Something that dictates what we can and can’t do in our life.
Have you ever found yourself saying something like ‘I’m not the kind of person who…’ or ‘People like me just don’t…’?
To be truthful, I used to be this way. I was never great at English in school. I told myself I wasn’t the kind of person who was good at writing or who enjoyed it. I let a past limitation become my identity.
However, I managed to overcome that particular limiting belief in my own life. I wrote and published several successful books, and now dedicate my time to helping others do the same.
I see this belief often in the writers I help to publish books. A lot of them see themselves as authors, but experience resistance at the thought of learning a skill such as book marketing, as it doesn’t fit with the story they believe about who they are as a person.
Do you recognize something similar in yourself?
If you do, don’t worry. Here’s how to stop this limiting belief from weighing your life down any further.
The first thing to do is to try and get to the root of the belief. When did you start feeling like this? Perhaps you grew up hearing things from your family, friends, or teachers that made you doubt yourself. Or perhaps you didn’t always feel the way you do, but some kind of setback led to your doubt.
By exploring where your belief first came from, you see it as something that can be changed, rather than some immutable truth.
Next, try and find some examples of people who disprove the rule you’ve imprisoned yourself with. Say you’re a shorter person who has decided that people of your height shouldn’t play basketball. Blow that limiting belief out of the water by recalling the example of Muggsy Bogues.
The final step is to take positive action to give yourself proof that your old, self-limiting identity is gone. For example, if you see yourself as someone who lacks the confidence to talk to strangers, go ask someone for the time. If you have ideas you want to share, but don’t see yourself as a writer, choose a tool to empower your new author identity.
Give yourself the smallest possible proof that your old identity won’t hold you back any longer. You can then build on this first step over time.
I Find Rejection and Failure Too Painful to Try
Ultimately, almost every limiting belief out there stems from the fear of failure.
While fearing failure and rejection will hold you back in life, you shouldn’t see yourself as bad for feeling this way. Or weak. Or abnormal.
We all feel these things. Not only that, but we feel them for a reason. We are hardwired to avoid pain, and our defense mechanisms run deep.
After coming to understand that the fear of rejection and failure is both inevitable and natural, any guilt or negative emotion you have will lessen. This gives you the emotional and mental breathing room to find ways to push past your fear.
One of the most powerful ways to move past the fear of failure is to reframe the way you think about it. Instead of labeling your result as a failure, with all the negative baggage that word entails, think of it as feedback instead.
Would you believe it if I told you it’s better to fail before succeeding, rather than succeeding straight off the bat? It’s true!
If you succeed straight away, you don’t build up resilience. You won’t have a tank of strength to draw from when failure inevitably arrives.
Therefore, embrace failure as feedback. Accept rejection as the process of finding the right opportunity.
Stephen King experienced 30 rejections for Carrie before eventual acceptance. Sir James Dyson is responsible for over 5,000 versions of the bagless vacuum cleaner that didn’t work out! Seek out further inspirational examples and quotes to empower you.
Once you realize that almost everyone successful had to fail to get to where they are and that they became stronger for it, you free yourself from your deep fears and unleash your potential to pursue your most meaningful dreams.
Don’t Let Your Thoughts Become Prison Bars
As we seek success, it’s rare to find something totally within our control that can massively determine our destiny.
However, the way we think is exactly that. We have the power to change our thoughts, to modify our beliefs.
I’d like to leave you with one final challenge.
Right now, I want you to take a piece of paper, or open up the notes app on your phone.
Try and write down at least three beliefs you have that are holding you back, and an actionable step you can take to overcome each one.
Don’t put this off. It will only take you a moment.
Give yourself the gift of a new set of empowering beliefs. I promise you’ll love where they lead you.