Are you living your best life?
Are you feeling that main character vibe?
If your answer to the above questions is a big “no”, then let’s sit down with some calming lavender tea and reflect upon why that is the case. Let’s inspect the self-limiting thoughts that are often the culprit, because how we feel about ourselves is rooted in our belief system.
I’ll let you in on a secret: You don’t have to believe everything you think!
This is especially important if the thoughts you have are negative or demotivating. The more you believe in restrictive thoughts, the more they manifest in your life! Scary, right? It’s like creating your own Frankenstein reality!
Self-limiting thoughts and phrases to Ctrl+Alt+Del
Here are some thoughts that might be limiting your beliefs and acting as growth barricades in your journey to success, so let’s discuss them.
1. “I never do anything right and my [boss/parent/teacher] thinks I’m a fool!”
There’s a saying, “a small act of kindness can change the entire trajectory of someone’s life.” While we understand the significance of this advice, we often forget to be kind to ourselves.
You need to remember that everybody makes mistakes, so why can’t you? Forgive yourself for errors and mishaps and be gentle with yourself.
Learn from your mistakes. You can do daily journaling about work and add instructions or even a checklist to track your progress. Most importantly, don’t forget to appreciate your efforts and set realistic timelines to achieve certain goals.
Things to avoid: Instant gratification and hyper-pessimism
Things to implement: Having gratitude and learning about Imposter Syndrome (and methods to cope with it)
2. “If I’m not constantly busy, I’m not successful.”
When you tie your worth to your ability to earn money and multitask, you start missing out on this thing called ‘life’.
This lifestyle glorifies workaholism and shames leisure time and breaks. You shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time out for non-work activities. Excessive work can result in premature exhaustion and burnout, impeding you from achieving your goals.
3. “I’m just here for the paycheck.”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some people believe in doing the bare minimum so they won’t get fired.
This attitude damages personal and professional growth as it causes stagnation and a monotonous work life. The growing trend of people “acting their wage” or “quiet quitting” limits learning and makes you avoid challenges at work, ultimately leading to a lack of team bonding and even missed promotions.
Things to avoid: Rigid attitude
Things to implement: Learning new skills, asking for new and challenging roles, being proactive
4. “It’s too risky.” / “No, thanks! I’m afraid.”/ “People will think I’m a fool if I fail in this task.”
According to the CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
This sounds risky, right? perhaps even intimidating. But just imagine the infinite opportunities you can grab if you stop questioning yourself with the haunting words, “what if I fail?”
Things to avoid: Fear of judgement, fear of failure
Things to implement: Building confidence and courage, taking risks
5. “I was born under a bad sign.” / “I just have rotten luck!”
Let me share a million-dollar secret about ‘lucky’ people who post stunning vacation photos on social media, manage to close impossible deals, and secure those ultra-cool jobs: why do these people look like they are riding a lucky streak?
The secret is they believe good things will happen to them! It sounds so simple, but ‘lucky’ people expect fortune in their life and endeavors. This series of optimistic expectations act like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Rhonda Byrne, the renowned author of the book, The Secret describes it as having an ‘abundance mindset’.
Things to avoid: A restrictive ‘scarcity mindset’
Things to implement: The law of attraction, positive thinking
6. “I’m not good at small talk.” / “I’m not a great people person.”
“I wish I could’ve told the VP about my crucial contribution to that project before everyone else joined the call, but I am not good at small talk”
Do these phrases sound familiar (okay, super specific on that second one, but you get the point, right?)
Do you feel like your talent and hard work often go unnoticed due to your inability to express yourself? If so, there is one approach you can consider: shift your focus from perceiving yourself as awkward at social interactions to actively seeking opportunities for meaningful social engagement.
Take small steps, start actively listening, offer help, show genuine interest in people and their opinions, and ask people questions. And as you grow, don’t forget to celebrate your small wins and acknowledge your progress along the way.
Things to avoid: Working in silos
Things to implement: Empathy, practicing communication skills
7. “I can’t do this because ….”
“I can’t find time to exercise because of my work schedule.”
“I can’t attend that training program, I already have too much on my plate!”
“I would love to read a book every month, but there’s just no time”
We do all kinds of mental gymnastics to convince ourselves that certain tasks are beyond our reach. We don’t challenge these self-limiting beliefs, because they provide a false sense of security, and venturing beyond can lead to discomfort, potential failure, and rejection which can disrupt our self-image. Many things are at stake here – and the risks can be daunting.
However, once you start challenging these thoughts, you will unlock the path to overcoming these fears. There will be struggles and setbacks along the way, but with determination and patience you can continue moving forward.
Things to avoid: Self-doubt, procrastination
Things to implement: Self-compassion, acceptance
8. “I’m too young.” / “I don’t have enough experience or knowledge for this.”
There is no better time than being young and inexperienced. You can be anything you want to be!
Take this time of life as an asset rather than a limitation. To start something new or to take on a new responsibility at the workplace you don’t need years and years of experience.
Your fresh perspective, new ideas, and untapped creativity can establish a strong personal brand. You can be seen as someone who has unique strengths and skills!
And when it comes to experience and knowledge, seek guidance from mentors, dive headfirst into reading, conduct research, and gather the insights you need to thrive.
Things to avoid: Comparison to others, underestimating your abilities
Things to implement: Having a growth mindset
9. “I’m too old for this.”
Have you ever heard these backhanded compliments from those around you:
“You look good for your age.”
“You’re well versed with the technology like these new kids!”
“Do think you can do this [task at hand] at your age?”
“Aren’t you a little old for this job?”
Remember to smile and keep doing the awesome work you’re doing. Challenging and destroying age stereotypes is such a satisfying feeling! Age shouldn’t be used as an excuse for not learning new skills, achieving goals, taking risks, or just about anything else. Your age has nothing to do with your potential.
Instead, focus on harnessing the value of your age, experience, failures, and accomplishments. Your age is a valuable asset, so don’t let age be a limitation you place upon yourself.
Things to avoid: Negative talk
Things to implement: Developing a positive outlook on life
10. “It’s too late for me anyway.” / “I ‘ve missed my chance.”
Oprah Winfrey once said, ‘If you’re still breathing, you have a second chance’.
She refuses to allow past mistakes or regrets to hamper her progress, preferring to focus on present and future possibilities. In her view, missed opportunities do not exist and this mindset has enabled her to cultivate a positive outlook on life and kept her motivated and focused on the opportunities that are still available to her.
Taking a page from her book, just remember that it is never too late. Instead of dwelling on past mistakes and worrying about the future, you should redirect your efforts on marching forward with a sense of optimism and resilience.
Things to avoid: Fixating on past mistakes or regrets
Things to implement: Focusing on present and future possibilities, being optimistic
How can you change your self-limiting beliefs?
You need to embrace your life and allow yourself to face the most exhilarating, beautiful, and scary moments life has to offer.
Here are some steps you can follow to change your negative outlook and nurture a more growth-oriented mindset instead:
- Recognize when you have a negative thought
- Reflect on the thought to understand where it comes from
- Question the validity of the thought
- Reframe your thought – and focus on growing and becoming better
- Make positive thinking a habit
Negative thoughts can affect how people perceive themselves. These thoughts can impact how people are at work as well. Such negative self-beliefs can be a strong deterrent, preventing people from engaging in professional development and growth activities, often even making them more reserved as they stay aloof from their teammates.
As an employer you can help uplift your employees by understanding their personal struggles and deconstructing such limiting beliefs. But to do so, you need to first understand what these are. The best thing to do is to understand their current engagement levels.
Sogolytics helps you better understand your employees’ sentiments with automated pulse, while anonymous surveys encourage candid responses.
Put self-limiting beliefs to rest and help your employees flourish with SogoEX!