It seems almost too true to need stating that, when you change what you believe, you change what you do. But there are those who do not fully understand that our beliefs have a huge impact on what we do and on whether we succeed.
If you have one or more beliefs that can properly be classified as limiting, then you are at a place in life where you shouldn’t be. You are being held back from realizing your full potential. And you may not even be aware of your limiting beliefs — they might be hidden. Find out by answering the following three questions:
• Is there an area of your life — an unsatisfying job, for example — that needs attention or needs to be scrutinized with an eye toward some major change?
• Is it time to reexamine justifications you have perhaps been using for years to stay where you are: stuck and frustrated?
• Are you afraid to leave your comfort zone, even though you know that taking on some temporary discomfort is the only path to longer-range satisfaction and accomplishment?
If you answered “yes” to these three questions, then almost certainly you’re suffering from one or more limiting beliefs: beliefs that have no basis in fact. Limiting beliefs are nothing but subjective perceptions, often used to create a risk-free place of comfort. Accept them if you will, but realize that, by doing so, you are diminishing your own potential and giving up the ability to be the best version of yourself.
Now, let’s get a little more specific. I want you to name and state aloud one limiting belief you know you have. For instance, “I am not good enough on job interviews.” Follow your answer up with a very revealing question along the lines of “What would happen if I were good enough on job interviews?” In other words, what would the result be if you didn’t suffer from limiting beliefs and had a more objective assessment of your skills and abilities?
I submit that, if you sincerely answered this question, you would absolutely take whatever steps are needed in order to realize your full potential. True, it is not simple to release your old limiting beliefs. You have probably had them for a decade or two, and they definitely have their purpose.
But isn’t it time to reflect on what you have failed to accomplish because of them? Isn’t it time to quit allowing them to hold you back from what you really want?
Here is a long list (13 steps) of things you can do in order to overcome a limiting belief:
1. Come up with an alternate outcome. In other words, what would the outcome be if you didn’t have this limiting belief?
2. Connect kinesthetically with your desired outcome. What feelings would you experience by achieving your alternate outcome? Name those feelings.
3. Acknowledge the fact that beliefs are the way we think about situations, and they are not reality. Your limiting belief might be “I should stay away from people, because I don’t know how to build lasting relationships,” but that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s true.
4. Recognize the fact that this limiting belief and its consequences are diminishing your potential.
5. Develop a new and higher belief about the limiting belief, such as, “I believe I can change that limiting belief.”
6. Learn to identify the voice of your limiting belief in your mind. Recognize that repetitive thought. What are you saying to yourself? List those thoughts.
7. Take full control of this inner voice of your limiting belief by either making it louder or reducing it to a minimum.
8. Come up with an alternative, new belief that will bring you a positive change in your life and release an old limiting belief. For instance, “By improving my communication skills, I will transform my relationships with others and build my circle of friends.”
9. Give this alternative new belief a powerful inner voice.
10. Compare the sound volume that your old and new beliefs make in your head.
11. Take control of your choices by reducing the sound volume for the old belief and increasing it for the new empowering belief.
12. Make a conscious choice to ignore the tiny ring tone that an old, limiting, disempowering belief makes, so that when it calls you again, you can choose an alternate and enabling belief.
13. Take bold actions from your new enabling belief, and be proud of them.
In going through the above steps, what was your biggest discovery? Can you see that your limiting beliefs represent a voice of self-doubt, while your enabling beliefs represent a voice of self-confidence?
Self-confidence is the key to unlocking new, enabling beliefs that will drive action — new, purposeful action. But first, you must get rid of those old limiting beliefs that have held you back for so long. So, as you see, it’s a two-step process: Get rid of the old, and adopt the new.
Your old, limiting beliefs might have enhanced your comfort, but they did nothing to improve your chances of achieving the well-lived life. Your new, enabling beliefs will motivate you to move toward your full potential and guide your future choices. Remember, fulfillment in life is a product of your bold actions that take you out of your comfort zone.
This article was originally published in Forbes.
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