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How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs and Achieve Your Goals — Bright Space Coaching | Leadership Development for Women in STEM

(Last Updated On: July 18, 2021)

Last Updated on July 18, 2021 by Admin

Where do you want to be six months from now?

Do you believe you have what it takes to get there, or do your beliefs about yourself stand in the way of achieving that goal?

Limiting beliefs are the thoughts you have about yourself, your business, your life, or any given situation that hold you back from achieving what you want.

They prevent you from moving forward toward your goals because you believe you cannot achieve your desires, or that they are not available to you.

If you’re struggling to start something new or achieve a goal you’ve had for years, chances are your thoughts about yourself and your situation may have something to do with it.


Here’s how to overcome limiting beliefs and achieve your goals:

“If you accept a limiting belief, then it will become truth for you.” – Louise Hay

According to best-selling author Mark Manson, our beliefs can put healthy boundaries on questionable behavior. But limiting beliefs hold us back from what we want in life.

For example, if you believe that stealing is wrong, this prevents you from engaging in thief-like behavior. If you believe that it’s rude to interrupt people while they’re talking, you’ll politely wait your turn. So, in that way, some limiting beliefs are good and positive.

In the same way, we put boundaries around what we believe we can accomplish. These limiting beliefs hold us back from who we want to become.

There’s an old parable you may be familiar with where a baby elephant is tied to a fence. She tries to pull free from the rope, she tries to break the fence, but eventually she tires out and gives up. A few years later, she grows up to become a full-size elephant. Now, she can certainly break through the fence! But because she believes that she will never be able to break the fence, she doesn’t even try to break free. She accepts her fate as being stuck behind the fence forever. She has a false, limiting belief that she can never get away.

Does that sound familiar? Are there fence posts in your life where you feel stuck, helpless, or like you will never break free?

If you’re like most women, your limiting beliefs cause you to miss out on opportunities, hold yourself back from promotions or new jobs, shy away from networking events, or keep you from going after your dream of starting your own business.

You may not believe in your ability to achieve your goals, or you might believe that you’re unworthy of success.

In the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Related: How to Have Confidence in Who You Are


Examples of Limiting Beliefs

Limiting beliefs are false beliefs that prevent us from pursuing our goals and desires, keeping us from doing important things or taking steps outside our comfort zone.

According to Mark Manson, limiting beliefs can generally be categorized as:

  1. Limiting beliefs about yourself that make you feel like you can’t do something because something is inherently wrong with you.

  2. Limiting beliefs about the world that make you feel like you can’t do something because no one will let you.

  3. Limiting beliefs about life that make you feel like you can’t do something because it’s too difficult.

Some of the most powerful limiting beliefs we hold are the limiting beliefs about ourselves. So many of these beliefs are centered around emotional attachments or insecurities that must be processed before we can challenge the belief. 

Here are a few examples of limiting beliefs about yourself:

  • “I’m too old/young to start a business.”

  • “I’m not smart enough to enroll in that program.”

  • “I don’t have enough experience to apply for that job.”

  • “I’m too shy to put myself out there on social media.”

  • “I’m too depressed to try to meet new people.”

What limiting beliefs do you have about yourself?

Limiting beliefs about the world may include beliefs about disapproval or judgements from others, especially if you are considering doing something new or for the first time. If you’ve ever thought, “What will people think if I…” you’re limiting yourself with beliefs about the world around you.

Here are a few more examples of limiting beliefs about the world:

  • “People only reach out to me because they want something from me.”

  • “My parents will disown me if I change careers now.”

  • “My friends won’t understand my business; they’ll think I’m weird.”

  • “My family will be disappointed if I try this and fail.”

  • “My colleagues will lose respect for me if I don’t get this promotion.”

I’ll let you in on a secret: the reality is that people actually don’t care nearly as much as you think they do. They’re too busy worrying about what other people think of themselves to worry about what you’re doing.

It’s true, there are cultural norms and family traditions, and in some cultures, parents do push their children into certain career paths. In those cases, it might help to ask yourself, “would my parents rather I be a doctor, or would they rather I be happy?”

It’s important to be true to yourself, no matter how you think your friends or family or colleagues will react. Your life is yours alone to live, so live what’s on your heart.

The third category of limiting beliefs are limiting beliefs about life. In this category, time is the biggest limiting belief – the belief of not having enough time, or feeling like you missed the boat. This is definitely the one I find myself buying into the most.

Here are a few more examples of limiting beliefs about life:

  • “It’s too late for me to change careers now.”

  • “There are already too many coaches in the industry.”

  • “Someone else is already rocking the business I wanted to start.”

  • “I don’t have enough time to start a side hustle.”

  • “Everyone already has an accountant – who would hire me?”

These beliefs cause you to give up before you even start. Instead of believing there’s more than enough to go around, you believe that there’s not enough for you, so why bother?

Marie Forleo puts it like this: Think about your favorite Italian restaurant. What if the owner of that restaurant decided there were already too many Italian restaurants in your town? Your favorite restaurant might not exist today!

There is more than enough to go around. No one can do what you do the way you do it, and the world needs you to live your purpose. Because if every woman lived her purpose, every need in the world would be met.

Related: How to Shift from a Scarcity Mindset to an Abundance Mindset 


Overcoming Your Limiting Beliefs

Now that you know a little more about the kinds of limiting beliefs you encounter most, let’s look at a few ways you can overcome them.

The first (you know I had to do this) is with journaling. Journaling is a powerful way to deepen your connection with your inner world in a supportive environment.

Journaling also helps you replace old, negative thought patterns or limiting beliefs with new, empowering thoughts and abundant beliefs. 

To get started, try some of these journal prompts to help you better understand your limiting beliefs:

  1. What do I believe I’m incapable of?

  2. What makes me believe this?

  3. How is this belief serving me?

  4. What if I’m wrong about this belief?

  5. What evidence do I have to disprove this belief?

  6. What could I believe about myself instead?

The second way to overcome limiting beliefs is with my BE YOU Mental Model. You’ve probably heard that “your thoughts create your reality.” Well, this is how that works:

Our Beliefs create Emotions, which create Behaviors, which create Effects. And the effects, or results, we get serve to reinforce our beliefs.

Remember that Henry Ford quote? “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

If you believe you’re not good enough to start your own business, you’ll avoid starting it. If you believe you’ll never land a paying client, you’ll continue doing things that attract freebie-seekers. If you believe you can only earn a certain amount of money each month, you’ll only earn that much.

Your beliefs about yourself, your life, and the world have a major impact on your success and whether or not you reach the goals you set for yourself.

My BE YOU Mental Model is a way to identify and reframe your limiting beliefs so you can choose empowering beliefs. This is easier said than done and it definitely takes intention and practice.

You came to believe certain thoughts over 30, 40, 50+ years of your life – they will not change overnight. Consistency is key when reframing thoughts and choosing empowering beliefs.

Here’s an example:

  • Belief: “I don’t have enough experience to start a business.”

  • Emotion: You might feel disappointed, frustrated, embarrassed, foolish

  • Behavior: You avoid working on your website, posting on social media, or telling others about your business idea. OR, you might continue enrolling in courses or programs to gain more experience instead of taking action.

  • Effect: You’re still in the same place you are today – wishing you had a business, but holding yourself back from starting it.

Can you see how that Effect then reinforces your Belief? No matter how many courses or programs you enroll in, you still don’t believe you have the experience to start a business. So the cycle of avoidance continues.

What if you changed to a more empowering belief? Choose something that feels believable to you, something that feels attainable.

  • Belief: “I have 10 years of experience in this field, and my skills can translate to a successful business!”

  • Emotion: You may feel excited, optimistic, proud, determined, motivated

  • Behavior: You start to work on your website, launch a social media account, and begin telling people about your new business.

  • Effect: You launched your business! And maybe you even got a word-of-mouth referral by telling your friends and family about what you do. 

Can you see how this Effect now reinforces your Belief that you do have what it takes? In fact, it not only reinforces that belief, but it helps you create more empowering beliefs like “I got this, I can do this, I am a great consultant, etc.” 

Now it’s your turn! In your journal, take time to identify some of your limiting beliefs and follow the BEBE framework to choose empowering beliefs instead. How do your Effects reinforce your Beliefs? How do they create new Beliefs for you?

I also recommend writing BEBE on a sticky note and posting it where you can see it as a daily reminder when you find yourself caught in a limiting belief!


The Takeaway

Limiting beliefs are false beliefs that prevent us from pursuing our goals and desires, keeping us from doing important things or taking steps outside our comfort zone. You can overcome your limiting beliefs by identifying them, then choosing empowering thoughts to change your reality. 

Take action now: Choose one of the strategies above and work through your biggest limiting belief. How can you think differently about yourself or your situation? 

Then, leave me a comment and let me know how you’ve shifted your limiting belief!


Sign up for the free masterclass, Thrive Beyond the 9-5, where you’ll learn how to turn your strengths and passions into a thriving business. You’ll learn how to leverage your strengths, skills, and career experience to start a business that aligns with who you are, so you can get paid for what you already know – at double (or triple!) your current rates. Click here to sign up for instant access to the free training!

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