Identifying your limiting beliefs

Mairi Doyle

I have been doing some work with clients on limiting beliefs – it is such an interesting topic and I personally think it is so powerful that it should be taught to school children. When looking at culture change there is a huge focus on behaviours, and that is important, but what drives our behaviours is our beliefs and how we see the world, based on what we have observed and experienced.

Most of our beliefs serve us well and they shape our behaviours in a really positive way. They are largely subconscious; we are not actively thinking about them, but they drive what we do on a day-to-day basis. Often, these beliefs are shaped early in life, at school, through our families or in work situations. Along the way many of us pick up a couple of beliefs that are not so helpful and they constrain us in some way. At Walking the Talk, we call them limiting self-beliefs, essentially the negative self-talk in our head. Here are a few examples of common limiting self-beliefs among leaders - ‘I must have all the answers;’ I get better results when I do it myself; I cannot fail.’

It is so enlightening to identify your limiting belief and explore what impact it has on you and on others. It’s also helpful to consider the impact on business outcomes. For example, a belief such as ‘I cannot fail’ is likely to stifle innovation and prevent your organisation from growing.

Having reflected on all this, you can then be guided to reframe your limiting belief into something more productive such as ‘Failure helps me learn; I don’t have to have all the answers; I can trust others to do a job well’. As you start to embed your new belief into your daily routine, you soon realise that this small shift in mindset can make a significant difference in how you now view the world.

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