Here's the tough but empowering truth: chances are really good that many of the barriers holding you back from achieving your full potential in life are self-imposed.

As I've reported here on Inc.com before, the Navy SEALs call this reality "the 40 percent rule." According to former SEAL Jesse Itzler, warriors in training are taught that when they feel they've reached their limits, they're only 40 percent through their true reserves of determination and energy.

We all have way more strength and ability than we give ourselves credit for, in other words. And what you perceive as outside limitations is often really self-doubt holding you back.

SEALs use their 40 percent rule to push themselves beyond these mental barriers, but according to a hugely useful new Fast Company post from Gwen Moran, there are other techniques that can also help you bust through of the limiting thinking that is holding you back.

1. Who is this "they" anyway?

For example, often times when we feel stuck, we blame some anonymous "they" out there for blocking our path. "They won't give me a shot," you might tell yourself. Or, "they just don't understand my vision." If you're looking to knock down self-imposed barriers, you should consider this type of language a red flag, Moran insists.

"When your beliefs refer to an ambiguous 'they,' there's a good sign that they're manufactured and not real," she cautions.

2. Fake it till you make it.

It's not just Moran who claims the tried-and-tested technique of 'fake it till you make it' is a highly effective way to overcome self-doubt. Science has apparently found the same thing, according to my Inc.com colleague Justin Bariso. But Moran recommends one approach to faking your way to greatness in particular.

"It's better to find a role model and engage in some healthy imitation. That's not to say you should start dressing and acting like that person. But notice how your role model acts in meetings or how they negotiate a deal. Pick up the successful habits they have and try them on for size," she explains, citing coach and author Cathy Salit.

3. Build in recovery time.

When you feel hemmed in by life, frustration and desperation can drive you to push constantly against the boundaries constraining you. But Moran -- as well as other experts -- suggests that, in the longer term, you'll probably do better to tackle your limitations in pulses, with adequate time to reflect and recover between each bout of intense effort.

"If you're constantly charging through to the next thing, that determination could eventually work against you," she warns.

Check out Moran's article for another five suggestions.

Published on: Aug 15, 2016
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