The Importance of Overcoming Limiting Beliefs (With Examples)
Reuben O'Connell
5 minutes
June 1, 2023

Have you ever felt like there’s a daily battle going on in your head? We spend so much time thinking about what others think of us that we often don’t realise we’re our worst enemies. This is what’s known as limiting beliefs

In the wonderful journey that is life, we humans often encounter barriers that hinder our growth and progress. These barriers, known as limiting beliefs, can significantly impact our personal and professional lives. 

The worst thing is they’re completely self-imposed boundaries that only exist in the mind. Even the most confident people deal with limiting beliefs, and the good news is you can break through them and go on to conquer your fears and embrace new opportunities. 

In this guide, we’ll show you how to identify limiting beliefs and deal with them so you can unlock your true potential and achieve success.

Signs saying doubt and believe pointing in opposite directionsWhat are limiting beliefs?

Limiting beliefs are deeply ingrained convictions or assumptions about ourselves, others, or the world as a whole. They’re often formed in early life based on our experiences, upbringing, societal norms, or past failures. 

These beliefs act as filters through which we interpret events and make decisions.

However, they’re restrictive and prevent us from pursuing opportunities or taking risks. Self-limiting beliefs often leave you feeling unmotivated or without confidence – but you are not alone

Research reveals that many employees lack the confidence to put their ideas forward, ask for a pay rise and engage in meetings. Showing how much they can hold us back at work. 

Where do limiting beliefs come from?

Limiting beliefs can originate from a number of sources, and it’s not always about having a personal negative experience. You might not know where the limiting belief originated, but if you can work it out, it may help you move forward. 

Here are some common places limiting beliefs can originate from:

1. Childhood experiences

Negative experiences or feedback during childhood can shape our beliefs about ourselves and our capabilities. Criticism from parents, teachers, or peers can create self-doubt and limit our potential.

For example, if a teacher tells a student that they’ll never pass a particular exam, these experiences will impact their confidence later in life. 

2. Societal conditioning

Society often imposes certain expectations and norms that influence our beliefs. These societal pressures can limit our choices and create self-imposed boundaries. For example, if you’ve yet to reach a particular milestone, it might impact your confidence. 

The workplace is highly competitive, and failing to meet KPIs or other productivity initiatives can lead to limiting beliefs about your capability. 

3. Past failures

Previous setbacks or failures can instil fear and self-doubt, leading to the development of limiting beliefs. 

For example, going for a job interview and being unsuccessful or failing to get a promotion can impact your confidence, and your negative beliefs then act as protective mechanisms to avoid future disappointment or pain.

3. Comparisons and social media

Constant comparisons to others, primarily through social media platforms, can breed feelings of inadequacy and reinforce limiting beliefs. We live in a world of influencers and celebrity culture, so it’s sometimes hard to separate fact from fiction. 

4. Negative influences

Surrounding ourselves with negative or unsupportive individuals can reinforce our limiting beliefs, making it harder to break free from their grip.

A boss that criticises everything you do or negative relationships can slowly decrease your self-esteem, making it harder to believe in your abilities. 

Why do we need to overcome limiting beliefs?

Overcoming limiting beliefs is crucial for personal growth and success. These beliefs can hold us back from getting promotions, trying new things and so many more important steps in life. 

Here are some reasons why it is essential to challenge and overcome these self-imposed barriers:

  • Unlock your potential: Limiting beliefs prevents us from exploring our true potential and discovering our talents and abilities. We open ourselves to new opportunities and personal growth by overcoming these beliefs.
  • Increase self-confidence: Limiting beliefs erode our self-confidence and self-esteem. Overcoming them helps build resilience, belief in oneself, and empowerment.
  • Expand your comfort zone: Limiting beliefs create a comfort zone that keeps us within familiar boundaries. We can expand our comfort zone and embrace new challenges and experiences by challenging and overcoming these beliefs.
  • Achieve success: Limiting beliefs act as roadblocks on the path to success. By breaking free from these self-imposed limitations, we can pursue our goals with renewed determination and succeed.
  • Improve relationships: Limiting beliefs can hinder healthy relationships by creating barriers to intimacy, trust, and vulnerability. Overcoming these beliefs allows for deeper connections and more fulfilling relationships.

Examples of 10 common limiting beliefs:

So, now you know more about limiting beliefs, it’s time to look at some common examples of them in action. 

Ever said/thought any of these? 

I’m not: 

  • Talented enough to succeed in my chosen field.
  • Good enough to get a promotion or pay rise. 
  • Going to stay in this job because it’s not working. 

I’m too: 

  • Old to pursue my dreams.
  • Unimportant for anyone to listen to my ideas. 
  • Nervous to go to the interview, even though I want the job. 

I don’t: 

  • Deserve success or happiness. 
  • Take risks because they always lead to failure. 
  • Know how to do this so won’t try.

I can’t: 

  • Speak up in public because I’m too shy.
  • Do my job as well as others.
  • Ask for what I want because I won’t get it.

Mentoring, coaching and sponsorship e-book bannerHow to stop limiting beliefs holding you back in the workplace:

1. Identify your limiting beliefs 

Identifying your limiting beliefs will ultimately help you overcome them. You can start by reflecting on your thoughts and emotions to recognise any patterns of self-doubt or negativity. A journal can be helpful for recording and recognising patterns. 

2. Challenge your beliefs 

Question the validity of your limiting beliefs by asking yourself if there’s concrete evidence to support them or if they’re based on assumptions or past experiences.

Look for alternative perspectives that contradict your limiting beliefs. Confidence-building workshops and a supportive mentor are great for challenging our limiting beliefs. 

3. Reframe your mind

Replacing negative self-talk with positive and empowering thoughts can reframe your limiting beliefs into more constructive statements that align with your goals and aspirations. 

For example, instead of saying, “I’m not good enough,” reframe it as “I am not good enough YET but I am continuously learning and improving.”

4. Take action

Overcoming limiting beliefs requires action, so start by setting small, achievable goals that challenge your self-imposed boundaries.

Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and use them as evidence to reinforce your new empowering beliefs.

5. Utilise mentors and coaches

Getting a mentor or coach can provide invaluable support and guidance in overcoming limiting beliefs. Mentors can help you gain perspective, provide accountability, and offer strategies to overcome challenges.

If you’re looking for a mentor, remember to ask them the right questions to ensure it’s a good match. 

6. Embrace a growth mindset

Adopting a growth mindset allows you to embrace learning and resilience. It helps you to understand that failure is an opportunity for growth and that setbacks do not define your worth or abilities. 

Embracing challenges as stepping stones moves you further toward personal and professional development.

The bottom line 

Self-limiting beliefs can leave you feeling demotivated and worried about your future, but following the tips in this guide will make a massive difference to your personal and professional life. 

Finding a mentor is a fantastic way to get the support you need to conquer fears and gain the confidence to embrace new challenges. 

With a little time and motivation, you’ll go from hiding away to out and about, getting ready to take on whatever the world has to throw at you. 

Learn more with Guider: 

The Benefits of Mentoring

Personal Development and Career Goals

Importance of Positive Self-Talk

How to Take Responsibility For Your Personal Development

Career Progression Top Tips

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