5 top tips to banish self-limiting beliefs and improve your self-esteem.Jun 07, 2021
What you think about isn’t nearly as important as the way you think about what you think about
Why is it when we’re facing a challenge or tricky situation in life, rather than mentally ready ourselves and believe we’ve got what it takes to handle it, more often than not, we fear failure, and convince ourselves we’re not capable or good enough to succeed? Those nasty little gremlins start their whisperings, and the self-limiting beliefs are activated. We put up the self-imposed barriers which stand in the way of potentially fabulous and marvellous things which we can achieve.
The thing is, most of the time, we know the stuff we need to know but once the gremlins move in and set up camp, we forget everything. The analogy I liken it to is that all the knowledge we have, or the resources we possess to solve a problem, are behind a row of doors in our brain. When we feel calm and in control, the doors swing open and we have access to all that we know. However, when we’re full of negative thoughts, our brain cannot be open and resourceful, and all those doors slam firmly shut.
I remember on a hen night once, one of the activities was an Escape Room, or a Panic Room as it's sometimes known as. Five of us were locked in a themed mad professor’s office and had to discover his magic serum. There were combination locks and padlocks everywhere, random things written on the wall, batteries to a UV light torch strategically hidden and numerous books which we weren’t sure as to whether they held clues or not. We had 60 minutes to solve the riddles. We earnestly cracked on and made great headway to begin with but then we seemed to hit a brick wall and couldn’t seem to move forward. As time ticked by, we became more panicked about not being able to solve the clues (we were a competitive and determined bunch!) and thus the simplest things seemed to fox us.
There was CCTV so if we got stuck on something for a long time, the guy outside would type a cryptic clue on the small TV screen for us. A bell would sound indicating he’d sent a message. I think the most laughable moment was when we realised we’d kept moving between two rooms by crouching down and crawling through the fireplace door that we had revealed, only to be told there was a full length door we could open and walk through into the second room – the very same door we had been staring at for 30 minutes because on it were names of chemistry elements which we attempted to link together somehow. Our panic meant we hadn’t even put two and two together and turned the handle of that door to move between the two rooms…! We’d got to the point where we couldn’t see the wood for the trees and that of course meant we reached stalemate. We plateaued and it was quite literally Game Over.
The quality of my actions cannot exceed the quality of my thinking
Self-limiting beliefs can be hugely debilitating. They can cripple us in terms of not being able to move forward. We believe the voice in our head telling us we’re not good enough, that we can’t do it, why would we even think we could achieve such a thing etc etc. If we believe that voice, then we’ll stay exactly where we are, that Escape Room becomes the Panic Room.
Sometimes, we manage to conquer the self-limiting beliefs and go for it but sometimes, we allow those self-limiting beliefs to manifest themselves in another guise - the dreaded Imposter Syndrome. We get good at what we’re doing, too good by all accounts because we then feel things are going too well and surely, we can’t be that good at this. We have thoughts of inadequacy- we’re here because luck has had a hand in it and someone sooner or later is going to suss us out, we’ll get a tap on the shoulder and be told our promotion was a mistake, that the job we were employed to do isn’t working out for us, that our performance isn’t quite what was hoped for.
This is when you don't feel worthy of your success. You don't feel able to take the credit - you think it's all a fluke and you're unable to realise you're where you're at due to your skills, qualifications, experience and personality. Very often high achievers find themselves feeling an Imposter, including the fabulous Michelle Obama!
Strategies to reframe your mindset
So, how do you banish those self-limiting beliefs? How do you build your self=esteem so that you believe in your capabilities and know that you’re worthy of achievement? It's about looking at your self-image – the combination of your self-competence and your self-worth. You need to think about the way you think about yourself and what you can do to realise you’ve achieved where you're at through hard work, tenacity and skills. You need to realise you deserve this success!
So, here are my top tips to get yourself out of the Panic Room:
- It starts with the nature of your thinking so think about why you have these self-limiting beliefs – where does this stem from? Past comments by parents, teachers, peers, managers? This is not your whole story. This is not the whole truth. Even if past mistakes have been made, learn, grow and move on.
- Monitor your self-talk. Is it serving you well? If not, turn it around and ensure the way you describe yourself to you and to others, is positive in nature – that rather than hindering your progress, it’s helping you to move forward.
- Banish the gremlins! Every time that voice in your head is rubbishing you – tell it to do one! Turn down the volume on the negative thoughts and amplify the sound of the positive ones. Remember - you run your brain, it doesn’t run you. So, replace the unhelpful thought with one that empowers you.
- Eyeball yourself in the mirror and tell yourself – like you mean it – that you are awesome! Every. Single. Day.
- Journal and write down how you’re feeling and if it’s been a challenging day, write down how you can change it up for the next day. Re-read and see how far you’ve come. The only person you should compare yourself to is you from a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago. Acknowledge the differences you have already made since then and know that you can and will continue to do so.
We're all worthy of success, whatever that might mean to us, we just need to allow it for ourselves.
Then great things can be achieved and celebrated!
Here's to you and all you achieve!
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Do you find it challenging to run your brain? Is your head full of self-limiting beliefs?
Would you like to feel more in control of the nature of your thoughts, to take your life in the direction you want to take it?
The Mindset Coaching Membership can help you understand the tools and strategies needed. With Masterclass Teachings + Coaching + Accountability, we will help you to create the future you want. Find out more here.
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