Tanya Chernova, a strategic business coach, author and professional speaker, was a recent guest on EO Wonder, a podcast by Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO). Chernova is renown for inspiring and empowering business leaders to maximize performance and achieve their potential through the neuroscience of leadership. We asked Melissa Matthews, entrepreneur, author and co-CEO of MAM squared, to review the podcast and provide her takeaways. Here's what she shared:

Ever heard the expressions, "Your toughest opponent is yourself," or "You are your own worst enemy?" In a recent EO Wonder podcast, business strategist Tanya Chernova confirms what we all suspected: Those sayings can absolutely be true. She walks host, Kalika Yap, through the seven self-sabotaging beliefs that create unhealthy and limiting behaviors that hold us back from reaching our full potential.

You might be wondering, "Am I self-sabotaging?" Good question. While only you can look within to answer it, here's what you need to know to delve deep and ask that difficult, honest question of yourself.

The Seven Self-Sabotaging Beliefs are:

  1. I am not enough
  2. I am not loved or lovable
  3. I am not worthy
  4. I do not trust myself / others / life
  5. I am all alone
  6. I am not safe
  7. Life is hard

Now, if you're thinking―"Whew! None of those are me; I'm out of the woods!"―hang on a second. Chernova says that most often, we hold these limiting beliefs deep down in our subconscious minds and sometimes have done so since childhood. Because we aren't aware of these negative thought patterns and their power over us, they manifest in seemingly small decisions and behaviors we execute every single day.

Chernova gives illuminating examples of how self-sabotaging beliefs work against our best intentions for success. For example, if your limiting belief is "I do not trust myself or others," you might find yourself thinking, "If I want it done right, I'll have to do it myself." She explains that most leaders who use this statement have a history of poor hiring choices, high turnover rates and micromanaging their teams. Because we are blind to them, beliefs we're unaware of can become self-fulfilling prophecies, creating the reality that we dread most.

Another good example relates to the statement, "I am not worthy." She spoke about a client who was stingy with praise and displayed a not-good-enough attitude toward his team and contractors. Chernova's explanation for this behavior is that often when we harbor any of these limiting beliefs subconsciously, we inadvertently ascribe them to those around us. Therefore, in this case, the CEO left his team constantly striving for approval which he could not or would not give because he had not fully accepted his own worthiness. In other words, because deep down he felt that he was not worthy of praise and success, he felt those surrounding him weren't worthy either.

Chernova also explained that people who believe they are alone subconsciously self-isolate. You might see this manifest in an inability to maintain professional and personal relationships or in those who wall themselves off when working on a big project. Eye-opening, right? It gets even better!

The Aha! moment of the episode came when Chernova referenced a famous Einstein quote, "You cannot solve a problem with the thinking that created it." The revelation in this is that even if you do hold one or more of these limiting beliefs, you can turn it around.

Chernova suggests that once you've identified your limiting belief(s)―and she gives tips on how to do so―you can change them, but it takes a persistent, conscious effort to reverse your thinking patterns. She says, "Even if you don't believe it deep down," changing the narrative in your head by turning negatives into positives will help you begin to untangle self-sabotaging beliefs and unlock your full potential.

When trying to reverse a self-sabotaging belief, repetition is critical. Catch yourself in the act of limiting your outcomes, then counter negative thoughts with positive ones as they occur. Chernova calls this "productive thought."  

As entrepreneurs, we thrive off of productivity. Based on Chernova's description, these seven self-sabotaging thoughts are a masterclass in unproductivity with wide-ranging effects on success, including an impact on company culture. Chernova explains, "If you aren't getting what you deserve it's because, deep down, you don't believe you deserve it."

Start today: Release one limiting belief and replace it with a productive thought--put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror or set a daily reminder on your phone to prompt you to reverse your thinking and revise that all-important internal script. Only you have the power to change your thinking, reverse self-sabotage and create the outcomes you most desire and deserve.

Published on: May 29, 2018
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