Don't Let Beliefs Hold You Back

Have you ever looked at someone else and wondered “how in the world did she ever pull THAT off?”  Maybe it was getting a big raise when company finances were tight, or creating a brand new, exciting position for herself, or even breaking the “rules” of how things are “supposed” to work?  How DID she do that?

We’ll get to that in a second. Let us first examine beliefs and fears (we’ll look at fears in our next blog post).  These two things dictate how we perceive the world, ourselves, and our expectations.

Beliefs are “an opinion or conviction” whether right or wrong.  These form your mind’s “rules” of the game of life.  People once believed that the earth was flat.  This belief prevented them from exploring and understanding their world, because they were convinced that you could sail a boat right off the edge of the earth, so sailing off into the sunset would be a suicide mission!

So what beliefs might you have (consciously or subconsciously) that hold you back?  Here are some examples — which of these do you believe?  What other beliefs do you hold?

  • I have to work hard to get ahead.
  • I get fulfillment from my personal life, not my work life.
  • I’m not skilled enough (or don’t know enough) yet.
  • I’m too old.
  • I’m too young.
  • I’m not good enough.
  • I’m a fraud – my success is due to luck/my company/being in the right place at the right time.
  • I can’t have it all.
  • If I (make a lot of money / make Executive / get the promotion), my friends won’t like me as much.
  • To get ahead here, I’d have to give up my personal life.
  • I can’t get a new job in this economy.
  • Everyone in leadership is a jerk — they don’t care about the “little people” like me.

You may know the story of the four-minute mile.  For years, the fastest runners in the world could not run the mile in less than four minutes.  Everyone therefore believed it could not be done.  When Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3 minutes 59 seconds in 1954, it seemed an earth-shattering feat. Within 46 days, another great runner, John Landy, had also broken the 4-minute threshold.  And by the end of 1957, sixteen runners had recorded sub-four-minute miles.  As soon as people let into their thoughts and their beliefs that it could be done, it was. Over and over. 

Look at your list of beliefs.  What if you could shift your beliefs and …

…you didn’t have to work so hard to get ahead?

…you could be fulfilled in all areas of your life?

…you were skilled enough and knowledgeable enough right now?

…age had no bearing on your decisions?

…you were good enough just as you are?

…you deserved your success?

…you could have it all?

…achieving your goals made you more of who you are, and your friends appreciated that?

…you could get ahead and have a meaningful personal life?

…the right job was right around the corner, and you were perfect for it?

…leaders were just like you and cared about the people who work for them?

Is it possible that you’re holding yourself back based on some of your beliefs?  If you believed the opposite or something better, how would you look at the world differently?  What might you do that you’re not doing now?  What conversations would you have?  What actions would you take?

And finally, how much of a difference would it make in your life?

To return to your “how in the world did she pull that off?” friend, think about the beliefs that person holds, and how they contrast with the beliefs you hold.  What does she believe that you do not (or vice versa)?  All of a sudden, it’s not quite so strange that she did pull it off, after all.