Connect with us

Personal Development

Do You Have Self-Limiting Belief? 3 Proven Ways to Break the Frame


Do You Have Self-Limiting Belief? 3 Proven Ways to Break the Frame

The words that you use shape your experiences, and there are some words and phrases that hold you back.

They’re like handcuffs, keeping you right where you are; dreaming big and playing small. I’ll bet you know a lot of them, and if we were in a workshop together, we could cover an entire whiteboard in 60 seconds flat.

  • Never
  • Always
  • Can’t
  • But
  • Hate
  • Bored
  • Not yet

All of these words and phrases are a part of the lexicon of self-limiting beliefs. If you’re not familiar with self-limiting beliefs, in a nutshell, they are those things that we tell ourselves are true, yet are functioning as an armour of excuses.

  • Excuses to stand still.
  • Excuses to stay safe.
  • Excuses to avoid the stretch.

Here’s the kicker: they’re not true at all; we made them up. We think that they’re facts but, they’re stories we tell ourselves (and just about anyone else that will listen) about why things are impossible.

It’s hard to be motivated when we’re experts at telling ourselves why we’ll fail.

There is one phrase in particular that I’ve heard over and over again and admit, I’ve probably uttered it a time or two. It’s a two-ton, confidence draining, dream squashing, self-limiting belief. Any guess?

Ready?  Here it is:

“I’m just a…”

  • I’m just a mom – I’ve been a mom for too long, and I will never be able to re-enter the workforce
  • I’m just a middle manager – There are too many layers for me to make a difference
  • I’m just a new hire – Nobody wants to hear my ideas
  • I’m just an expat – I need to wait until I’m in my home country to start my business
  • I’m just a blogger – I can’t leap to becoming  speaker
  • I’m just a desk guy – I’ll never be able to run a marathon
  • I’m just a – ???  (What are you telling yourself?)

You have a lifetime of experience that makes you, YOU. Not one other person on the planet has lived your life. I don’t have to meet you in person to know that you are a combination of many things: smart, funny, sister, brother, friend, parent, son, daughter, leader, writer, dreamer (I think you get it).  You do not need to be (and can’t be!) ALL things, but you DO need to embrace the complex, beautiful person who you are. 

Let me be clear: You are not “just a” anything.

Another self-limiting belief that is born out of the “I’m just a” way of thinking? The false belief that you need to have every detail of your plan worked out before you can start. There is no training, certification, title, or position required in advance to take the first step on your way to make the leap from where you are today to where you want to be.

You Can Break the Frame of Self-Limiting Beliefs

1) Cultivate awareness of your language

Notice the next time you even think, let alone say, that you’re “just a.” To take it a step further, for a full day, note either on your phone or a piece of paper the number of times you think “I can’t do it.” Forget about those times that you really can’t – like you’re in a meeting the same time as a friend wants to meet for lunch. Pay attention to those times you CAN but choose I CAN’T. What’s your daily count?

2) Journal your self-limiting beliefs

Spend time making the unspoken spoken through journaling. Self-limiting beliefs can be ingrained in who you are and you have to  consciously tease apart your experience from the belief. Writing frees us up to do just that and also gives us a chance to reflect on our thoughts as opposed to our words that disappear into thin air. Start to list out your self-limiting beliefs. Example: I hate looking at the P&L for my business. Self-limiting belief: I’m not good at it. I’m bad with numbers.

3) Celebrate you

Instead of “I’m just a,” fill in this blank: I AM ____________  What are you?  Strong, confident, silly, hopeful, grateful

Don’t stop at one word. Heck, don’t stop at ten words. CELEBRATE all that you are.


Make the Leap Action

Drop the “just a” which tells you that you are forever less than, or not enough. Imagine with me, if you were not “just a,” even for a moment, but powerful, present and your most creative self, what would you do next? Not five steps from now; just one over. Get it out of your head, write it down and post it where you can see it daily.

Remember, you do not need to leap this very minute but you do need to keep exploring, learning, growing. One thing’s for certain, to make the leap successfully, you need to be more than “just a.” Thankfully, you are oh-so-much more.

Continue Reading