If you find yourself on the other side of big plans or dreams, but routinely fail to pull the trigger and do what you say you want to do, you may wonder what’s keeping you stuck. More than likely it’s your limiting beliefs – thoughts that play like background music in the backs of our minds and inform how we make decisions, how we navigate relationships, and how we show up in the world. As a personal branding coach for high achievers, my job is to help women craft a strategy to increase their visibility around their gifts and talents, but often that also means helping them identify, address, and clear their limiting beliefs so they can show up in the world as who they really are.
Over the years, I have noticed a number of limiting beliefs that pop up for women who are on the cusp of a new personal frontier. There is something about personal change that brings up all of your fears and replays them like a broken record. If you are on the cusp of something new – maybe you’re considering a career change, you want to start a business, or even approach a new friend or love interest, but can’t muster the courage, one of these limiting beliefs may be holding you back.
Limiting Belief # 1 – “I can only have success in one area…”
Many women I have the privilege of working with are hard workers who have been giving their best effort since they were children. By that I mean they were the women who made good grades, studied hard, got into prestigious schools, and obtained advanced degrees. After all of that education, successful careers in law, medicine, media, or manufacturing are just par for the course. But when a high achieving woman wants to change course, she is often haunted by the nagging feeling that if she’s already been wildly successful, it’s not likely that she will find success in a different arena. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is no limited amount of success – if you have success in one area, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll succeed when you do something different, but it also doesn’t guarantee that you’ll fail because you’ve somehow “used up” the success you’re allowed in your lifetime.
Limiting Belief # 2 – “If I’ve tried once before and failed, I will more than likely fail again…”
On the opposite end of that thinking is the woman who has had the opportunity to put herself out there in the past – perhaps she’s put her resume out there to switch careers and didn’t get any bites. Or maybe she pitched her business idea to investors and no one is interested. Whether this happened ten days ago or ten years ago, the sense of past failure can haunt you when it’s time to try your hand at something new. But the same way you don’t have to accept success in just one area, one failure (or ten) doesn’t automatically mean that your next idea, venture or career path won’t work.
Limiting Belief # 3 – “My current circle has to understand and support my plans…”
Whenever you’re up to big things, it’s natural to seek out the support of others. Most of us go to the first and most obvious place – our friends and family – for support. But what if our current friends, colleagues, and family have no experience in what we want to do? Or, what if they are much more conservative than we are and want us to simply stick to what we know? After working with dozens of women and men, I can tell you that one of the most important factors for your momentum and ability to stick with something new is the support you receive. What messages are you hearing on a daily basis? Are they positive or filled with doubt? Likely, these will be the voices that fill your head when you’re questioning a big decision. You may think you have to share your big moves with the people in your personal life, but you don’t always have to – especially if they don’t have the experience or awareness to be supportive. It’s fine to seek out a supportive network elsewhere – you can find a Facebook group, local meet up group, or try to meet some new people in your community or at your church. Or you can always just keep your plans to yourself until they are at a less fragile place.
The New Year is a great time for self-examination and reflection. If you’re looking for a comprehensive program to help you prepare to make your big dreams a reality, check out my personal branding toolkit The Branding Box It’s been used by hundreds of men and women since 2014, and was described by a Wharton Business School professor as “more than a mechanism to develop a marketing campaign, it’s a potent, easy-to-use and engaging tool for self-examination.”