Undoing Limiting Beliefs Starts Here
These 3 Steps Will Help You Live Into More Full Range
During my kids' virtual school lunch break yesterday, we played the game "Would You Rather".
Have you ever played?
In the game, you're presented with 2 options and you have to choose which one you'd rather have/do/be.
Usually the options aren't great (sometimes they're downright disgusting), but you still have to choose.
- Would you rather have body odor that can be detected across the yard - or - be hairy like Bigfoot?
- Would you rather marry a whiner - or - marry a bully?
I mean, honestly, how does one choose? I guess I’d go with hairy (and promptly invest in a lot of razors and Nair!) and a whiner (better than a bully, I think?).
What would you choose?
Here's the thing: as silly as the game is and as hard as the choices seem, unconsciously, most of us are playing the 'Would You Rather' game all the time in our heads.
Would you rather be successful or be fulfilled?
Would you rather make money or make a difference?
It sounds a little different, so we don’t even realize we’re playing, but I hear it all the time when I speak with clients:
I'd love to do something more impactful but I don't want to give up my lifestyle.
I'd love to pursue my dream, but I can't afford to make less money.
The difference is, in real life, we don't *actually* have to choose - we just think we do.
Instead of saying "either/or", our lives and our choices truly can be "both/and". It always starts with our minds.
To start busting through these limiting beliefs, start here:
Awareness: Become aware of these limiting beliefs.
Again, most of the time we have no idea these old scripts are running in the background of our minds because they’ve faded into the background like white noise.
To help you identify some of your limiting beliefs, try this:
Finish the sentence: I can’t (make the change) because…
Why can’t you? Is it because you’re too old? Can’t make money? Because, what would your loved ones think?
For each reason, go one step deeper and keep asking yourself Why.
This is called the “Five Whys” method and helps you get to the root of the issue.
Hint: The root issue is always, almost without exception, fear.
That’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with you for being scared. But, as I’ve said before:
We can learn how to have fear without letting fear have us. If we stay stuck and believe we can’t live life on our terms, fear wins.
Sometimes awareness can be uncomfortable - most of us don’t like to acknowledge or sit with our fears. In fact, our conscious brains try pretty hard not to let that happen because we’re more motivated to avoid pain (like facing our fear) than seeking pleasure (like making important changes to our lives).
Avatars: Find your heroes - inspiring people who are living "both/and".
Look for the people who are living the way you’d like to - who, for instance, have managed to find both fulfillment and financial success or found happiness later in life or…
I promise: when you start to look, you will find examples.
Don’t worry about the “how” they did it or how you can; stay focused on the dream for now. Asking “how” too early will kill every dream.
As I considered leaving my job at Google, I realized nearly every inspiring thought leader I respected didn’t start out that way: they started as normal people with humble backgrounds. If they could do it, why couldn’t I?
The more we look for and find evidence to support the idea that both/and is possible, the more our brains will begin looking for even more evidence. This is called the confirmation bias and it means that your brain is filtering through reality and prioritizing those things which agree with or support your existing beliefs.
When you find new evidence which shows you a more expansive belief is possible and you hold on to it, your brain will start to find even more evidence - and from there, plans begin to take shape.
Action: Start taking baby steps forward because confidence comes from action, not contemplation.
The way to actually undo the power of limiting beliefs is to replace them with something more empowering. And, the best way to do that is through action.
It’s also, often, the part that trips us up. We love to read all the ways we can improve ourselves, can talk about all the tools for development, and yet just can’t make any real progress actually doing it. (Ahem, I’m talking about myself here too!)
Our brains, in an effort to keep us safe, lull us into believing we should wait to take action until we feel more confident and have more clarity.
Here’s the uncomfortable truth, though: we get confidence and clarity FROM awareness and action.
You do need both.
Action without awareness ends up feeling a lot like Groundhog’s Day. And awareness without action can send you in a spiral of guilt and shame and endless frustration.
Neither is fun, and believe me, I’ve felt both.
Start small with baby steps. Any step you take is a microwin worth celebrating. The more steps you take, the bigger they become, the more confident you will feel and the more clarity you’ll get about where you’re going.
Any time we step beyond our narrow path, we expand our possibility and live into more full range. And that’s exactly what I want for each and every one of us.
Share in the comments: What is a limiting belief you’ve worked through? What helped the most?
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