Strategies for Female Entrepreneurs to Conquer Self-limiting Beliefs
An Effective Strategy for Conquering Your Limiting Beliefs About Yourself
I was listening to episode 252 of the Biz Chix Podcast and Natalie was talking about tackling limiting beliefs. As this is something I’ve been working on with my life coach for a couple of weeks now, I felt today’s podcast was God’s way of telling me someone somewhere needs to see what I have to say about it.
Whoever you are, whatever negative feelings you might have about yourself, this article is written with love, honesty, and a heavy-handed sprinkle of strength to help you get you to that next vital point in your life.
What are Limiting Beliefs?
I’m an ENFP, which means I read self-help books for fun. In fact, I read self-help books on things I don’t even need help on just because I find it interesting and someonesomeday somewhere will ask me for advice, and BOOM I have a wealth of knowledge to unload.
But I digress.
A self-limiting belief is a downright nasty lie formed by your brain during your years of development. It can be developed from as innocent of a reason as the way a child’s brain perceives certain situation or from what others have said to them. Or it could have its roots entrenched in the evils of a traumatic event. Either way, these beliefs are things we begin to believe about who we are, usually based in no truth whatsoever.
“I’m bad with money”
“I’m not an organized person”
“I’m not good at following up with people”
“I’m not worthy of a truly committed relationship”
Those limiting beliefs aren’t random. They’re some of the very beliefs I struggle with about myself and that I have been working on.
Limiting Beliefs Seem Very Personal, Why Would They Affect My Ability to Develop a Business?
When developing a startup, you barely have time to brush your teeth before your 9 o'clock meeting, and you don’t think that the mental energy you expend telling yourself these lies doesn’t count as a time-suck? As an early stage startup founder, your main goal in life is to maximize your time for what counts, and self-limiting beliefs can lead to massive problems – think interstate highway mass pile up.
Prevents You From Competing Effectively in the Marketplace
Limiting beliefs cause us to think less of ourselves. And when it comes to competing in an industry, your entire marketing strategy is built around why you are the better choice. For startups specifically, your entire brand voice needs to shout just how amazing you are because you’re a new innovation without proven success. If you as a person don’t have the confidence and belief in yourself to accomplish this success, how are you supposed to convince others?
Creates Patterns of Self-Sabotage
I’ve been here, in my old business. I knew what my max was as far as client load. But I used to promise the world to get a client to sign an agreement, and then not be able to deliver multilevel high-quality marketing across sometimes 6+ channels! It wasn’t realistic. But I told myself I could do it, and that it was the price I had to pay. But guess what, I couldn’t do it, and the quality of the work suffered because of it. Taking on too much was a way for me to self-sabatoge. My limiting belief was, “I don’t have what it takes to be a successful business owner” and so I took on too much work, and when my clients got mad at me, my mind was able to say to itself, “Look see, you DON’T have what it takes to be a successful business owner!”
Most of us know just how satisfying it feels to tell someone…anyone “I told you so”. Well our mind gets that same exact fulfilling feeling when it gets to tell us, “I told you so!”. Procrastination also falls under self-sabotage.
Self-limiting beliefs create this negative cyclic pattern:
1. Believe a lie about ourselves
2. Do something to sabotage our ability to prove that lie wrong
3. Get to tell ourselves, I told you so!
4. Continue to believe that lie because now we have proof
Draining of Your Emotional Energy Affects the Quality of Your Work
One of our massage therapists once told me that she can feel the manifestation of a person’s internal struggle with themselves. She has a certification in neuromuscular therapy, and with that she has a very deep medical understanding of the body’s ability to store the emotions that our neurons process every day. She says that depending on the side of the body where the muscle groups are the tightest, she can tell whether a person is going through emotional or mental stress…
Incongruence between who you want to be and who you believe you are can become a major problem for your overall health. You know in your soul what you are called for. But the mind typically tries to seek a way to go back to where it feels comfort, what it knows the best, and this tends to be the feelings we’ve developed in our childhood.
I’ll use myself as an example. I grew up in a third world country, where it was very difficult for me to fit in. In the schools I went to, I had so many problems with the Dominican and European students and so I did not have the chance to form friendships as a young child, I felt very isolated. In the 10th grade a boy from Amsterdam who had been tormenting me for years, didn’t like the way I spoke to him, launched himself at me in the middle of class and shoved me to the floor. He then proceeded to pick up the metal desk beside me and lifted it over his head to throw it onto my body as I lied there on the floor. One of the girls who did not like me pulled him back and spoke the words, “she isn’t worth it”. The school wouldn’t suspend him because he was a paying student, and I was on a scholarship. I spent the next 6 months doing all my classwork in the library by myself. Walking my assignments to their respective classes at the end of the day and then going home to the home in an isolated area at the top of a hill in a third world country. I was by myself until my brothers came home from school. I was isolated.
My brain, knowing nothing but isolation during the most crucial years of my development, puts me into situations or relationships in which I can become isolated again, so that it can do what is familiar. But I am a naturally social and enthusiastic person! I am energized by people and being in social situations. I struggled with myself a lot over the past few years between isolating myself to make my brain feel at ease, but feeling sad because I wasn’t getting what I truly wanted which was social interaction!
As a business owner, being drained of that emotional energy shows in how effective I am with my daily tasks. When you can find the way to bring your heart and mind together, you will see just how energized you truly can be.
How I Tackle My Self-Limiting Beliefs
I say “tackle” in the present tense, because work on these negative thoughts is constant. Just like exercising your body, you can get yourself into peak shape – competition ready! But, if you stopped working out, your muscles would atrophy and your shape would deteriorate.
Strategy 1: Spokes
Now, Natalie described an amazing exercise that I actually used on a self-limiting belief I am working on right now.
1. Become Self Aware
Think of a concept that you have negative thoughts about. What are some internal struggles you have about yourself or your capabilities? Take some time to write it out over the course of a few days.
2. Focus on One at a Time
It’s important to focus on these things individually. You’ll find as you first start unpacking all the feelings, it will be a lot to cope with.
1. Grab a blank sheet of paper and decide what belief you want to work on first.
2. Draw a bunch of spokes coming off of it.
3. Now write down all the words, phrases, sayings, or feelings that come to mind when you think about that.
4. Go through each of these and highlight which of all of these spokes you would consider to be negative.
5. Ask yourself if you actually believe that, and if so, why? Really dig to find the underlying meaning.
6. Now re-word those negative thoughts to reflect a more positive belief. Basically, flip the script – replace those with good thoughts!
Here’s an example of what this exercise should like when you’re done.
Strategy 2: Journaling
Now that you’ve identified these negative thoughts, start to write down in a journal any experience you think could have fed that from your lifetime. Why do you even believe this? Anything that has stuck with you that someone had said, experiences you’ve had, it doesn’t matter just jot down any instance that has reinforced this thought process.
Now you have a job to do. You have to prove the case against you. Find any concrete evidence that will refute this belief, not just in your own life, but from examples of other people as well. If you believe you can never be a dancer because you didn’t start young, find an example of a famous dancer who started their career late in life.
Write down the things you will say to refute those limiting beliefs and remember them. Truly write them on your heart with intention, because where your intention goes, energy flows. The more time you put into thinking positively about these concepts, the more you will start to react positively in the situations that will lead you to the type of happiness you want to feel! What then happens is this, regardless if you believe in a high being or not, the universe comes to meet you in the place of intention. The more time you spend there, the more chances you have to meet the positive in your life.