How to Rise Above 5 Self-Limiting Beliefs That Hold You Back From Success

Leadership Team Coach, Author, Speaker
4 min read
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Entrepreneurs face not only the physical challenges of allocating space and acquiring capital, to name just a few, but also the mental and emotional challenges of overcoming doubt, facing uncertainty, building self-confidence and managing stress. It has been said that, “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” In other words, what we tell our brains is in direct consequence to the beliefs we create and the resultant behavior.

Related: Successful Entrepreneurs Exude Courage

The good news is that these “human” challenges are completely solvable, as many of them are self-induced. The critical first step, however, is to identify the self-limiting beliefs that stifle potential. Below are five self-limiting beliefs holding you back from success (and how to rise above them):

1. I’m not a salesperson.

You may not be in sales, per se, but if you think about it, selling is about relationships. It's about connecting with someone through emotion and that elicits a behavioral response. You don’t have to sell your soul to the devil to make a sale, but you do need to communicate clearly, listen actively, and follow up with promises -- just as you would in any relationship.

2. I can’t change who I am.

I once heard my aunt Joan say, “There is no can or can’t, only will or won’t.” That little phrase has stuck with me to this day. You may not be able to change other people or undesired outcomes, but you can change your beliefs about them.

Everyone has a mental model for how they deal with challenges. Some people get excited, others become overwhelmed. What this also means is that mental models are habitual, meaning that their reactions are executed without thoughtful intent and therefore don’t stimulate personal improvement.

It's behaving in a vacuum. 

Self-awareness disrupts this cycle of self-automation by questioning whether your current mental model helps or hinders your resultant actions. The next time you face a predicament, ask yourself, “What belief is holding me back right now? What new perspective, if I were to adopt, would help me work through this challenge?”

Related: Learning to Embrace Struggles

3. I can’t get ahead because I don’t know anybody in the industry.

There’s only one way to solve this issue: get out there and meet people. I don’t like using the term “network” because it connotes self-promotion, but there are literally thousands of different meet ups, groups and happy hours (which is where the best ideas happen, of course) all over the place. However, nobody can achieve greatness in this world acting as the Lone Ranger. Heck, even Rambo enlisted the help of others.

4. I don’t have enough time.

If there’s one thing that serves as an equal opportunity employer, it’s time. Everybody has the same amount of time in the day. If you’re someone who wishes you had more time (like 99 percent of the world), what you’re really asking for is a better way to manage your priorities so you can optimize the time you already have.

Here’s a quick remedy: for two weeks, track how you spend your time -- your meetings, your commute, hallway conversations, family time, “me” time -- and then look for gaps. Look for consistencies and inconsistencies. The former reflect priorities, whereas the latter indicate opportunities for development.

5. My team can’t operate without me.

If this is true, then you’re not optimizing yourself as a leader effectively. Great leaders learn, teach and coach others how to lead. To cite yet another 1000-year-old source of Chinese wisdom, Lau Tzu, the ancient philosopher, once said, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists. Of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, ‘we did this ourselves.’” 

Aiming for a stellar product is one thing, but believing you can do it is a learned skill. Manage your beliefs and you'll better manage your behavior, which means you'll also better manage -- and lead -- your business. Unleash the beast.

Related: Successful Entrepreneurs Challenge Themselves. Here's 5 Ways to Do That.

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