I was speaking to a close friend the other week about limiting beliefs and how they impact our actions on a daily basis. We all see life through a different lens and this is shaped by our beliefs, values and experience. They can both serve or hinder you depending on what they are.
My friend’s narrative centred on exercise and success. He didn’t believe you could have the time to both exercise and achieve great professional success. To him they were mutually exclusive. The result for him has been excess weight, low energy and minimal resilience to fatigue and illness.
The narrative I told myself for many years is that you must work extremely hard to be successful. It was only was at a point of complete exhaustion and near burnout did I realise that this narrative did not serve me. It was embedded in my upbringing and I carried this into my professional career. I needed to change it or it would consume me. I also needed an enabling belief that replaced the limiting belief.
Narratives can arise from a place of self-protection. They provide a rationale and justification for our predicament and can protect us from hurt. My friend had justified is poor health with his narrative because he had achieved great professional success. Other limiting beliefs include ‘I’m too young’, ‘I’m too old’, I’m not talented/smart enough’ and ‘I’m don’t have the education for’ etc.
What limiting beliefs are holding you back? You need to look for patterns in your narrative. Are they based on facts or assumptions? What is the true feeling behind this belief and where does it derive from?
The great news is that the narrative is up to you. It is something YOU choose. You can redefine yourself at any stage by adopting a different narrative.
The process is:
- Becoming aware of it. Look introspectively at your reactions, patterns of behaviour and determine their source.
- Identifying the damage this narrative will continue to impart on your life if it continues. For my friend he could see an early death, inability to play with his kids and obesity.
- Replacing it with an enabling narrative. My friend now believes that exercise gives him energy, vibrancy and capacity to do his work at a world class standard.