I’ve heard about limiting beliefs…I’ve been around the block a bit with leadership and various entrepreneur and coaching activities. I’ve also tried to do a little work in this area over the years. But you know, sometimes you hear something a different way from a different person and the light bulb went on.
Yesterday was a light bulb moment for me. I was listening to the ‘Art of Online Business’ podcast, by Rick Mulready. On Episode 270 “How to Overcome the Limiting Beliefs that Are Stopping You.”, he interviewed Dr. Shannon Irvine. Everything they discussed during the program stuck with me for that day, and I found myself coming back to the ideas and solutions several times. Especially, when I woke up fully rested at 3:30am and not ready to get out of bed…so I meditated on it.
As I said, I’ve thought quite a bit about limiting beliefs over the years but I never quite felt like I had settled on the exact belief that was tripping me up. I knew it was somewhere around ‘Not being good enough’, ‘Who do you think you are,’ and ‘You don’t deserve it.’ But today it struck me…and I think I can see where it came from.
‘I’m just not that special’.
I’m generally average. Average height, average grades, middle income, average size, average looking…heck, I even have the most popular name for females born from 1970-1984. There’s not too much that’s unique about me. And even if there was, it’s egotistical if I admit it, right? Wouldn’t that be bragging? What would that say about me?
In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe that. I know that I have been through things others have not, I have been places others have not, I have had experiences others have not. And all of those things make me unique…and dare I say special. Beyond that, I have learned so many things that would be helpful to other people, that could help them get past their own challenges or get them quicker to their goals. Shouldn’t I be sharing these things so that I can help others?
And. I know that logically, but it’s still there as a limiting belief. Something holding me back in the core of my neurology, causing me to play small, question my goals, and limit myself.
Even despite my yearning desire to be relevant and make a difference. That desire that’s been with me from the very beginning…to be significant, to leave a legacy, to be important to someone. It actually seems unnatural when I think about it. How important significance is to me (it’s even one of my top 5 Strengths Finder strengths) and how ‘not special’ I think I am. What the heck is going on here?
If you know about limiting beliefs, you know that they are created in your formative years, to protect you. They are the way your brain decides to respond to avoid hurt or failure. So probably, when I was slapped in 7th grade by a bully in front of all of my friends, just for looking like I thought I was a big shot, or those times I used to cry on my birthday because I was never treated like a queen, or any other of a hundred situations that made me think I was average, or normal, or nothing special, this is the belief I formed.
Overtime it has been reinforced by voices telling me that I didn’t deserve that promotion, or no one is interested in what I write in my blog posts, or I need to be less ambitious, or any of the other things.
These days, when I start to make progress toward big goals, or get rewarded for some result, inevitably there is a naysayer saying that I’m not that special, or I don’t deserve it. Subconsciously, I think my brain believes that, and starts to set boundaries around what I can or can’t achieve, and I don’t even notice. Our brains are smart…they are trying to protect us. They notice the validation of our fears at a miniscule level and cause us to take actions that will keep you safe.
“If you accept a limiting belief, then it will become a truth for you.”Louise Hay
Like when my husband and I launched our new product last month, and I was so proud of the marketing and videos I was doing that would help promote our business and our product…and then I got sick. Like down with the flu for three days and a disgusting cough for three weeks sick. All because my brain said…”Be careful Jenn, you might get criticism, people might not agree with you. You should slow down, go offline a bit and back away.”
While I see clearly now what the limiting belief is, and the challenges it is creating, that struggle with my soul remains. I want to be relevant, I want to do something that matters, I want to share my struggles with the world so they don’t have to struggle. Those aren’t things I can do if I continue to let my brain allow me to believe those limits.
Now that I see it, I’m going to fix it. I need to change the programming that no longer serves me, and instead begin to build a message of uniqueness, value, and contribution. I need to teach myself, not only that I am special, but that it’s okay to be special. So, I’m starting this journey today, and according to the podcast above, it should take about 67 days for me to change my programming. I hope you will join me on this journey…I’d love your support and encouragement along the way.
Watch out world, there is a brave new me coming soon!