What are self limiting beliefs?

What gets in the way of accomplishing our goals and our dreams?  Self limiting beliefs.

I was working with this really phenomenal sales coach about two or three years ago.  The guy is awesome! Scott…you’re awesome.  And when we first started working together, it was actually during our first session, he asked me, he said, “Kevin, tell me about your self limiting beliefs”.

And I had never heard that term before. I’ve spent probably half of my life now studying a variety of topics, probably the same sorts of topics that you’re all interested in; psychology, NLP, persuasion, body language, habits, success, and all that other good stuff.  I don’t ever recall coming across this term “self limiting beliefs”.

But as soon as Scott defined it for me…BOOM…I knew what he was talking about right away.  

My definition of self limiting beliefs

A self limiting belief is this thing that we impose on ourselves, it’s negative, and it’s something that we use as a crutch or an excuse, to not get stuff done, right?

Something that we can use to justify our “inability”, our lack of achievement, because it’s really excuses to make excuses, it’s human nature.

So Scott defined it to me and he said “so Kevin, what’s your self limiting belief”? And I told him and right away, his eyes were wide open and he said, “Kevin, that’s ridiculous, that’s nonsense, you’re nuts!   There’s no reason for you to have that self limiting belief.

Well the reality is, most self limiting beliefs aren’t rational, and we’re not deserving of them. But again, we have them to plant our own seeds of doubt to justify why we don’t get stuff done.

One of my biggest self limiting beliefs that I learned to overcome

So I’ll tell you what mine was and listen, we all have self limiting beliefs, and we’re all always dealing with at least one.

At the time, my self limiting belief was that I didn’t like the sound of my voice and I really went through this for probably about a year or two, where I felt this huge disconnect between my thoughts and what I wanted to say versus what came out of my mouth. Or even worse, it was my thoughts and nothing coming out of my mouth.  I wasn’t speaking up at times because I didn’t like the sound of my voice and I feared others didn’t like it either and I wouldn’t be taken seriously.  Or I felt like my voice was unpredictable and I didn’t know how it would sound.

It’s actually a pretty ridiculous thing.  Listen, I don’t have a voice like James Earl Jones right….I’m a horrible singer y the way. But my voice is my voice.  So even though I described it to Scott in that moment, I wasn’t at all prepared to let go of that belief, that self limiting belief.  That negativity.  That seed of doubt.

I actually went to speech therapists, voice coaches, ENTs, and you name it. I actually went for a while.  And I went through all these different consultations and diagnoses from all of these healthcare professionals.

And they came across something here, and something there that could be leading to it.  Too much acid in your diet Kevin.  You drink too much coffee, stop drinking coffee.

When the doctor told me to stop drinking coffee, I stopped immediately, because I wanted my voice to sound better.  I wanted to believe that my voice could be better. And giving up coffee was hard for me, but I made that sacrifice in favor of this self limiting belief right here.

Anyway I gave up coffee for a year and it was actually hell for the first three weeks or so.  I had massive headaches and stuff, but whatever.  Give it up!

There were actually ebbs and flows of improvement in my voice, and I’d go back for another doctors visit, and they would shove a scope down my throat, and they would say “hey, it’s less red (my throat), or whatever it was.  But my voice never really consistently got better.  

It requires self awareness to overcome your self limiting beliefs

So I’m sharing with you, but what we need to do, when it comes to relieving ourselves of our own self limiting beliefs, first and foremost, we need to be aware of what they are.

We have to be self aware.  We have to be honest with ourselves and whether the self limiting belief is real or not, in our own mind, the trick is realizing that it’s never as important as a way to justify why you’re not getting something done that you know you should be getting done or something that you want to get done.

Video: A Definition of Self Limiting Beliefs That Anyone Can Understand