A limiting belief is a state of mind or belief about yourself that restricts you in some way. Everyone experiences limiting beliefs, but learning how to identify them can help you proactively prevent these beliefs from limiting you. In this article, we cover how limiting beliefs affect everything from teamwork to workplace culture, plus four strategies to overcome limiting beliefs in the workplace.
Have you ever thought to yourself, I’m not good at something and therefore I should avoid that thing? These beliefs often come from a place of negativity and fear that keep us from experiencing new opportunities.
If you’ve had similar thoughts, you’re not alone. Many professionals and even entrepreneurs struggle with self-limiting beliefs that can hinder potential success. The key is learning to identify limiting beliefs in order to overcome them.
When it comes to teamwork, limiting beliefs can affect everything from culture to overall performance to team efficiency. We’ve put together 10 of the most common self-limiting beliefs and provided ways to overcome them in your daily life.
A limiting belief is a state of mind or belief about yourself that restricts you in some way. These beliefs are often false accusations you make about yourself that can cause a number of negative results.
For example, if your limiting belief is that you’re bad at inspirational speaking, you’ll likely decline any opportunity to share your knowledge with others in a group setting. Or, if you have to speak in front of people you may think you'll be more likely to fail. This is because you have preconceived notions about your ability to speak that limit your potential.
Limiting beliefs can also keep you in a negative state of mind, hindering you from encountering new opportunities and life experiences while wreaking havoc on your mental health. That’s why it’s so important to not only work on your self-awareness and self-esteem, but also recognize unconscious biases. Holding on to biases about others hinders your ability to collaborate effectively, ultimately impacting your quality of work.
When it comes to limiting beliefs in the workplace, negative thoughts can decrease both creativity and team morale. Imagine you’re working on a new process but don’t believe in yourself enough to propose a better solution to the problem. The outcome certainly won’t be innovative.
If you lead a team, helping your team members address their limiting beliefs can unlock their creativity and engagement. Holding on to these negative beliefs can prevent individuals from reaching outside the box to bring new innovative ideas to the table. There’s nothing that stifles team success quite like recycling old ideas.
It’s in these adventurous moments when real growth happens and it’s important for each team member to believe in themselves enough to push past boundaries. That’s why it’s so important to encourage positive thinking in the workplace to empower your team to do and be their very best.Explore the link between burnout and impostor syndrome
Limiting beliefs are any self-deprecating thoughts that hold you back from growing as a person. From verbal beliefs to body language and defense mechanisms, learning the most common limiting beliefs can help you identify them if they arise.
In order to work on self-improvement in the workplace, here are 10 common examples of limiting beliefs to recognize and correct in real time:
I’m not good enough: “I’m not good enough to manage this project.”
I’m too old or too young: “I’m too young to be a manager.”
I don’t have enough time: “I don’t have enough time to invest in myself.”
I’m not smart enough: “I’m not smart enough to lead this meeting.”
I don’t have enough experience: “I don’t have enough experience for this big career move.”
I’ll never be successful: “I’ll never be successful in my industry.”
I don’t have enough money: “I don’t have enough money to enjoy my life.”
I’ll never be one of the best: “I’ll never be one of the best on the team.”
I’m not talented enough: “I’m not talented enough to get a promotion.”
I’ll never be a great leader: “I’ll never be a great leader with my lack of confidence.”
These types of beliefs come from a place of fear, and everyone has them. The goal is to learn how to identify and combat limiting beliefs so they don’t prevent you from getting out of your comfort zone.
You may be tempted to tell yourself you’re not good enough or that you’ll never be good enough in order to keep you safe, but in the end, these beliefs prevent you from empowering yourself and your team from being the best.
The trick is to recognize your own limiting beliefs when they come up and use that recognition to reframe how you think about yourself. You can also build your team management skills by encouraging your team to do the same.
Limiting beliefs are caused by a number of factors but they all stem from the same place: your brain’s desire to protect you from pain in the future. These triggers can include fear, impostor syndrome, and past experiences.
Often, limiting beliefs start from a young age and progressively evolve and reshape throughout your life as you encounter new experiences. Whether you’ve had a painful experience that caused you to fear similar encounters or are scared of what’s to come, limiting beliefs can prevent positive new beliefs from forming.
Knowing the cause of your limiting beliefs is a great way to understand the thought process behind them and begin to manage them. That said, there are a number of additional techniques you can implement to overcome your fears in the workplace.Explore the link between burnout and impostor syndrome
While being able to identify self-limiting beliefs can help you correct them in the moment, learning how to overcome them takes time and practice. When looking at how to overcome these fears in the workplace and how to train your team to do the same, there are a few tips that can help.
Whether you use one or a combination of the four is up to you, but each of these techniques can help you overcome limiting beliefs in the workplace.
The first step to overcome your limiting beliefs is to first identify them. Oftentimes these beliefs present themselves as a thought in your head rather than something you say out loud. Getting these thoughts out on paper can help you separate them from fact or fiction and allow you to see how untrue they really are.
Writing your thoughts down in a journal can help alleviate any stress associated with the belief. You can also ask yourself if this thought is relevant to the next 10 minutes of work. If not, close your journal and leave your negative thoughts on the piece of paper.
While this exercise is done in an individual setting, you can encourage your team to practice this each morning. You can also create a weekly meeting where team members share limiting beliefs with coworkers if they feel comfortable doing so. This gives team members a chance to increase trust. However, make sure the experience is completely optional—and plan to participate yourself in order to lead by example.
If writing down your thoughts isn’t enough, it can be helpful to analyze whether your beliefs are coming from a place of accuracy or falsehood.
Getting to the bottom of your limiting beliefs can help you see them for what they really are. Next time a negative belief presents itself, take a moment to pause and analyze the thought. Evaluate whether it’s self limiting and if there is any concrete evidence to back up your belief. Ask yourself if the thought is coming from fear of the unknown or from a past experience.
Perfection can wreak havoc on your productivity and cause you to want to give up when things aren’t going perfectly. One way to combat this is to enlist the help of your team members for feedback. If you aren’t sure if your limiting belief is accurate, simply ask. This way, you’re receiving an objective perspective outside of your own point of view, which can help you separate the facts from the stories you tell yourself.
One of the best ways to combat limiting beliefs is to use positive affirmations. Affirmations are sentences that you repeat to yourself in order to build self belief.
Use positive affirmations to turn self-limiting beliefs into positive self beliefs. For example, if you’re telling yourself you’re not good enough for a promotion, reframe that belief by assuring yourself that you are a hard worker and deserve success. This way, you can combat any negative thoughts by making them positive. While this can be done in many forms, saying these out loud to yourself or others can help reinforce the belief.
You can use this technique when negative feelings come up or implement it into your daily routine to prevent self-limiting beliefs in the first place. Examples of reframing negative self thoughts include
Reframing “I’m not good enough to manage this project” to “I have the capabilities necessary to succeed at everything I do.”
Reframing “I don’t have enough time to invest in myself” to “I have the ability to reorganize my time in order to focus on what's most important to me.”
Reframing the way you look at challenges can train your mind to see the positives in everyday situations rather than the negatives.
Lastly, never give up when limiting beliefs creep in. Remember: you’re not alone. Everyone experiences limiting beliefs, even leaders and entrepreneurs you admire.
The important thing is to persevere through the limiting belief and not let it hinder you. Among the many qualities of a leader, not giving up on yourself or others is one of the most important.
Though it can be easy to feel down when going through a cycle of negativity, push limiting thoughts away by taking a moment to yourself. Sometimes all you need is a breath of fresh air to set yourself on a more positive path.
Everyone experiences self-limiting beliefs, so when you experience one, remember that you’re not alone. The important thing isn’t to completely eliminate limiting beliefs, but to learn to overcome them and focus on the positive. When you change your perspective, you change your life.
In order to encourage positive self beliefs in the workplace, your team needs to have the confidence and support to reach their potential. With team communication software, you can give your team a way to connect on tasks and build each other up.Explore the link between burnout and impostor syndrome