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Learn how limiting beliefs can hold you back from living your best life.

Learn How Limiting Beliefs Can Hold You Back

In this months blog post I wanted to help you learn a little about  how limiting beliefs  and how they can hold you back.

The easiest way to understand limiting beliefs is to think about them as a set of rules that we have accumulated throughout our lives. These sets of rules are often buried so deeply that we are not always consciously aware of them.

A limiting belief or a set of rules, is a judgement about something that you believe to be true about yourself, that restricts you or holds you back in some way.

Limiting beliefs can be something that comes from your childhood, your religious beliefs, the TV shows you watch and what you read in the media, culture, life experience are just a few examples.

When a coach asks you for example what is stopping you from achieving your goal, the answers given by clients are often limiting beliefs.

 Examples of limiting beliefs

  • I have to work hard to earn enough money to live
  • No pain – no gain
  • I shouldn’t do …. this one usually stems from childhood or family/ religious beliefs.
  • I need to be rich to be happy
  • I can’t trust anybody
  • I am no good at interviews
  • I’m not clever enough
  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m too old or too young

A great way to test out if you have any limiting beliefs is to ask yourself the following question and insert your answer. For example;

Life is like a …………….

Whatever metaphor you insert gives you an indication of where you might hold beliefs about life that could be holding you back! For example, if you inserted the word lottery you might hold a limiting belief that life comes down to chance like a game of lottery, where you can either win or lose.

The good thing is that you can learn to catch and correct your limiting beliefs. To do this you have to start listening to your language and the way that you think and speak out loud about something.

How to redirect a limiting belief

Let’s use a practical example. Imagine that you want to apply for a promotional role. You know that to be considered you will have to undertake further study. Your previous experience of studying was really difficult and you felt that you didn’t have what it took to be able to study at that level.

You might hear yourself say “I’m no good at academic study, I struggled the last time I did some studying. I’m just not cut out to go to uni.

Now let’s unpick this a little more. Ask yourself this question Is that true, every time? Did you get good marks on some of your assignments? Were some parts of your previous study easier than others?

The other scenario about this example is that maybe as a child you had a bad experience at school with learning or studying. This negative experience has influenced how you approach or feel about learning and studying ever since.

A personal example

I can give you a personal example of when I was at primary school and the teacher asked me a maths question that I couldn’t answer. The teacher threw the chalk duster at me and the result of this was that I hated maths from that point on.

I never did well in maths exams and my internal self-belief was that I was no good at Maths.  It was doubly difficult as my Dad was a maths wiz!

Fast forward to my adult years, I knew that this belief was not helping me especially when I wanted to go into nursing. I had to have a maths qualification so I had to face that my limiting belief that had served as a protective mechanism when I was younger was going to hold me back if I wanted to pursue a career in nursing.

If you identify that you have a belief that is holding you back from doing something what can you do about it?

How to tackle a limiting belief

Let’s go back to my maths example, one of the things that a coach will do is ask you to change your language. So then I can’t do math becomes;

  • In the past, I struggled with maths
  • I’m learning how to be better at maths

changing the language is called reframing. This is where you change the statement from a negative no can do to one that is positive. This helps to shift our thinking to view a goal in a positive light and to be able to see the possibilities in achieving this goal. So in my case I learnt to be good at maths as an adult.

This example gives you some practical ideas to catch your thinking and turn it into a positive statement that sets your intention to achieve your goals. This is an example of the types of things that a coach can help you with learning about how your beliefs could be holding you back from realising your true potential.

Free Quiz to find out if you have a limiting belief

Try this free quiz  here to identify if you have any limiting beliefs that might be holding you back.

If you would like some help with limiting beliefs, contact me to learn how coaching can help you overcome these beliefs.


Helpful resources

This is a great TED talk by Lauren Weinstein about how our beliefs can hold us back.

About The Author

Eva is a Registered Nurse and a professional Coach. She has 41 years of international nursing experience. She has held senior nursing positions in the UK, Qatar, and Perth, Western Australia.

Eva is passionate about two things, making coaching accessible to nurses and helping nurses who are newly- promoted into a leadership position or aspire to be a nurse leader, to navigate the often difficult transition from great clinical nurse to a great nurse leader.

Eva is passionate about helping nurses navigate this transition, as often new nurse leaders suffer from imposter syndrome, a lack of confidence and don’t know what they don’t know.

Eva writes blog posts and newsletters that speaks to new nurse leaders to shares some of the tools and tips that she has learnt as a leader in her nursing career.