Limiting Beliefs – Part 1 – Fear’s (Not so Distant) Cousins

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We each have a purpose and gifts we are meant to share with the world. And we all experience thoughts, feelings and beliefs that make us feel not enough, incapable, like we shouldn’t or can’t even try. Thoughts that hold us back.

Fear and interpretations (thinking we know everyone else’s story) are two we’ve talked about. Let’s take a look at a third one, Limiting Beliefs.

Limiting beliefs are general beliefs about the world, your environment and situation and the people around you that hold you back and keep you from – looking at all the options, moving forward, and sharing your gifts and purpose.

Here are some examples of limiting beliefs once held by most people:

  • No one can run faster than a 4 minute mile.
  • Women can’t vote.
  • Planes can’t fly (although they were not called planes yet…)
  • Talking to people far away, in real-time is impossible.
  • Horse and buggy is the only viable means of transportation.

We have overcome so many limiting beliefs you would think there wouldn’t be any left. Yet we still have so far to go. Limiting beliefs are a label we put on anyone or anything. How much does this drive our thinking – especially in today’s society? It is heartbreaking for me to watch on social media as people tear each other apart because of their beliefs (whichever way they lean). And yet I know I inadvertently do it too.

As a leader, limiting beliefs may impact the way you lead (or think you should). Some common limiting beliefs for leaders are:

  • Leaders have to be mean (i.e. Wicked Witch of the West…)
  • Leaders don’t show emotions.
  • Leadership cannot be learned.
  • Leaders are only interested in the bottom line.
  • Leaders have to know all the answers.

These beliefs hold us back when they cause us to think we can’t be a leader because this is not how we want to act. Others actually believe all of these to be true and soon find that they have no one to lead…

What beliefs about leadership are holding you back? What limiting beliefs do you see in the workplace? We’ll talk more next time about specific workplace limiting beliefs so I’d love to hear your thoughts!