“That was too easy” “You didn't work hard enough on that” “You got lucky that time. Luck never lasts.” These are the things that I believe about my work, myself, and my business. These are the words that kick me in the back of the knees as I try to move forward. These are limiting beliefs. And limiting beliefs are poison, success-limiting inner mantras that almost everybody carries with them.
How Limiting Beliefs Truly Limit Success
My dad has always been a workhorse. He sometimes wakes up at 4:00 AM and leaves for work by 4:20. He works long and hard for every dollar he earns through his business. On family vacations, he'd spend hours on the phone closing deals. Out to dinner? Answering client calls. On weekends? Advertising, selling, processing. So, growing up, I came to believe that earning money had to be hard work. It required long days, early mornings, and late nights, and that success doesn't come easily.
I didn't realize how much of that belief I carried with me, how heavy that anchor was. My limiting beliefs have caused stress and stagnation as I build my businesses. And building my website has uncovered just how limiting those beliefs are. If a post only takes me two hours to write, I don't publish it. My limiting belief is telling me I didn't work hard enough on it. It doesn't deserve to be a success because it only took two hours to write. Those things that come naturally to me are garbage – they aren't good enough.
So I write and I write and I write, and instead of measuring quality, I measure quantity – quantity of time spent toiling over a post. And if something comes easily to me, and becomes well read and popular, I feel like a fraud. Like it was luck or chance and it will never happen again, and I actually hope sometimes that it won't, so that people won't find out the truth: that I didn't slave over the piece for hours on end.
Limiting beliefs held me back from quitting my job to become a digital nomad sooner. They have held me back from getting my first freelancing client, from achieving my true potential, and ultimately from making an impact. Sounds crazy, right? But I bet you have some limiting beliefs that hold you back, too. I've listed over sixty of the most common limiting beliefs from an analysis of hundreds of comments on limiting beliefs across the internet. Do you think any of these things?
63 Limiting Beliefs that Hold You Back from Massive Success
- I'm not somebody who follows through
- I'm good at starting projects but I can't finish them
- I'm not an expert
- Nobody cares what I have to say
- I'm not perfect. Why would anybody listen to/buy from/hire me?
- I didn't work hard enough on this
- I'm not worth it
- I don't deserve [money, recognition, success]
- I don't have time
- My family isn't entrepreneurial (“Smiths don't start businesses!”)
- People will judge me
- I'm a creative
- I'm not creative
- I'm a procrastinator
- I'll sound stupid
- Somebody has thought of this before
- Other people can do it better than me
- Nobody is interested in my ideas
- My idea is weird. It's not the norm
- If I succeed, I won't be able to sustain it
- I don't have the skills
- I'll never be creative/analytical/mathematical/good at selling enough to be an entrepreneur
- People who have something to sell are evil
- Nobody would want what I have to offer
- I don't know enough
- I'm not a [numbers, business] person
- The people who are successful in this are out of your league
- You're not going to be successful so there's no point in trying
- I'm too old
- I'm too young
- I owe it to others to always work for them
- I'm beneath these people
- I'm a quitter. I don't finish things. I don't persist
- I'm lazy
- Entrepreneurs are sleazy
- I'm not original enough
- People like me don't … (build businesses, become entrepreneurs, become successful)
- People won't take me seriously because I'm..(female, male, young, old, fat, thin)
- I'll look foolish
- I don't feel like I could give enough value
- I've tried it before and failed, so I'll fail if I try again, too
- I can't because I have kids. I can't because I.
- Regardless of how hard I might work at something or how well I might do, I'll never measure up
- I will always avoid pursuing goals that matter to me
- What is meant to be will happen
- I can't ask for anything. I'll be rejected
- I don't/wouldn't know where to start
- The only way to success is to go to college, get a degree, and work your way up the corporate ladder
- I don't have the willpower
- I'm just not motivated
- I'm happy with how things are now
- I'm not smart enough
- I can't do that
- There is no point
- I don't have enough money
- I don't have enough support
- I don't have the connections
- I'm too shy
- I'm too scared
- That's just not “me”
- I'm not tech savvy
- I don't know what I want
- Now is not the time.
The First Step to Beating Your Limiting Beliefs and Empower Yourself to Accomplish More
If you're wondering how to overcome limiting beliefs, it's simple. And you've probably already taken the first step: Gain awareness. Because you can't fix a problem you don't know exists. After you've gained awareness of your limiting beliefs, you can start defying them.
That's what I'm doing right now. This post? It only took me two hours to write. It came naturally. The words flowed from my fingertips. It's not crap, just because I didn't labor over it. And for now, at least, I've come to accept that hard work is not necessarily good work, and good work doesn't have to be hard.
If you just read through that list and found even one of these beliefs resonated with you, you've taken the first step. So acknowledge these beliefs you hold with you. And when they crop up, beat them down. Prove them wrong. Flip them around. Because as Henry Ford has said, “whether you think you can, or you think you can't–you're right.”