Have you ever thought about all the businesses that do not exist because someone with a great idea didn't feel smart enough or worthy enough to pursue it? I constantly wonder if the next life-changing company is sitting in the mind of someone who believes the self-limiting thoughts they tell themselves every day.
I certainly understand this dynamic because I did the same thing in my twenties. Before I co-founded SkyBell, I was a financial planner - avoiding my true calling as an entrepreneur because I never felt good enough. I stayed in that role for three depressing years. Finally, I said "enough is enough," and took steps to live out my purpose as an entrepreneur.
If you have that feeling in your gut that you're not living your purpose, or living up to your potential, then it's time to examine your thoughts. When you become aware of the lies you tell yourself, you can use the power of focus and intention to turn them around.
Here are 28 toxic and limiting beliefs that prevent you from creating the life and success you truly want.
- I'm not good enough.
- I don't know how to do it.
- It didn't work out last time.
- I don't have the right experience.
- I'm not a natural entrepreneur.
- I might fail.
- I don't have enough money.
- I need to go to grad school first.
- I've never done it before.
- My friends will know if I fail.
- I'm not smart enough.
- I don't know enough people.
- My parents said I shouldn't
- It's too risky.
- It might not even be possible.
- I didn't go to a top university.
- I don't have time.
- I'm not the top expert in my field.
- It'll be bad for my resume.
- I won't have work-life balance.
- My idea isn't good enough.
- Other people are smarter than me.
- No one will believe in me.
- It'll take too long.
- I can't leave my job.
- I'll do it later.
- It'll be too hard.
- Someone has already done it.
Turn Self-Doubt Into Fuel for Success
There are four key steps to turning these self-imposed limitations into the fuel you need to elevate your life.
1) Determine if it's something you can control
Immediately cross out the items on this list that you can't control. Trying to control what can't be controlled is a recipe for frustration and exhaustion. For the remaining items, move to step two.
2) Transform a negative into a positive
True change requires a new belief system. You must replace the limiting beliefs with new affirmations that act as the "antidote" to the original untrue thought.
Write positive affirmations for each item and keep them in a visible place. Reach each one aloud at least twice a day. Soon, you'll start to shed the negative self-talk and sub-consciously act in alignment with the new belief system.
3) Find the evidence
We focus on the negative things in our lives when we're in a state of contraction. Challenge yourself to find evidence that proves the affirmations you wrote in step two are true.
For example, if you don't think you can go for it because you don't know how, find all the times in your life when you didn't know how to do something, learned, and then became great at it. You didn't know how to drive a car, yet you learned. It's no different with the next big thing you want to do.
In my experience, I wasn't able to feel expansive until I "unlearned" the self-limiting beliefs I acquired from my family, friends and society. While it's not easy, you must identify where each untrue belief came from and use empathy to forgive yourself and others for creating it in the first place. You can't move forward with anger, so best to forgive and be grateful for the gift in a lesson learned.
Self-doubt is something we all experience. However, success cannot be achieved when you believe in thoughts that hold you back. Successful people face their doubt and move forward with mindfulness, intention and action. By changing your negative thought patterns, you empower yourself with the belief and worthiness to move forward and create the life you want.