Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Five Most Common Self-Limiting Beliefs

There are a set of theories that I call Monica’s Laws of the Universe. Granted, these theories are not based in science, or documented research… just behaviors and results that I observe in family, friends, clients, colleagues, and even enemies.

One of the Laws is called Greatest Fear – Greatest Success. It states that your greatest area of fear, the thing you are most afraid of, the thing that causes your hands to get clammy and shake, your heart beat faster, and your stomach churn, whatever that is … your greatest fear will be your ultimate area of success and triumph...

I believe for example that people who are terrified of getting in front of a group of people to speak really have something to say that others need to hear. Your main area of fear is more than likely the area where you are called to shine.

In every situation that you face there is a filter that frames your perception of the world and the Law of Perception says, “You do not see the world as it really is, you see it as you perceive it to be.” Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you see someone being successful in something and you say, “I could never do that?” That kind of statement is based in a habit of fear or self-limiting belief.

Although I grew up with an athletic sister, I never saw myself as an athlete. Only 18 months older than me, people often compared us and my earliest memories involve comparisons of our looks, singing talents, brains, athleticism, and weight.

I have an old black and white photo that became the main theme of my beliefs and habits that shaped my childhood, teens, and most of my adult life. It is a picture of Melanie (my sister) and me. Melanie is about 4 ½ and I am 3 years old. In the picture we are facing each other; my sister has a pink and white gingham bikini with ruffles on the butt… cute, cute, cute! I have on the ugliest navy blue tank suit you have ever seen.

The annoying thing is that my sister has no “fufu” in her at all – she could care less about those adorable ruffles on the butt. I asked my mom if I could have a cute suit like Melanie’s, and I was told that I was too “chubby” to wear a bikini that I need to cover my belly and my thighs.
So from the age of 3 all my decisions were based on the belief that I was the chubby girl and when you are the chubby girl you make decisions based on the “chubby girl factor.”
I learned that big and beautiful aren't ideas that go together. Chubby girls aren’t the most popular, don’t become cheerleaders, never date the hot guys, and aren’t as smart as the thin, pretty girls. Most of my important life decisions were based on my belief of the “chubby girl factor” – that I was not good enough, thin enough, smart enough, strong enough, or pretty enough.

I only did those things that are appropriate for chubby girls to do – play an instrument in the band, sing in the choir, become a cast member in the musicals, earn straight B’s, and serve as editor of the yearbook – all acceptable for chubby girls. I squashed many of my own desires, dreams, and ambitions because of these feelings of unworthiness.

Reality Check: Your fear or self-limiting beliefs may have nothing to do with being a chubby girl, but you've got something. Here are five of the most common self-limiting beliefs:
  1. Believing that you are not good enough to do anything. You weren't born into the right family, not the right race, not the right gender, born on the wrong side of the tracks, whatever it is; you are just not good enough to achieve anything. Maybe someone said you weren't smart enough, that you don't have special abilities or qualities, or that you just need to do the “best that you can.” If you aren't smart enough, have no special qualities, than you aren't worthy enough to achieve great things.
  2. People just don't like me. This is a big one a lot of people believe. Now I'm not talking about rude people, I'm talking about your basic nice person. This belief makes you think that no one wants to be your friend or would like you because of the flaws you have. The reality is that we all have flaws. We are all likeable. People like people who like them. To have a friend be a friend.
  3. You will be rejected. Driven by fear that people might not like what you have to say, or may object to what are asking them to do. One of the main reasons that sales people don't “ask for the sale” is because they are afraid they won't get it, they are afraid they will be told “No.” The trouble is, if you don't ask, you don't get.
  4. Something is impossible to achieve. For example, I've been told for a couple years now by people who hear me speak that I am as good as the $15,000 keynoter they saw recently. I've not yet been paid that kind of money, so evidently I'm not. It’s not that I actually believe that it is impossible to achieve, it’s just that I don't know how to make it happen, and if I don’t learn, it is impossible. The same may be true for you, you think that you can, but you don't really know how to achieve your dream, and if you don’t find out how, study with the right people, study, learn, change mindsets, etc. it will be impossible to achieve.
  5. The belief that you are destined for failure. This is one of the most damaging self-limiting beliefs that you can have, the belief that whatever they do will end up in failure. If you try, it is not going to work, so why bother. So they don't do anything beneficial or you stop half way and then ultimately you do fail. That could be why you haven’t started or put much energy into the 3 or 4 things that you know will make the difference in achieving your dreams. Perhaps you are afraid of failing, or you believe that you will fail. So, if you don't do it, then you can’t fail.
As an adult I still fight that chubby label. I often take clothes into the dressing room that are way too large, but when eyeing up the smaller sizes, my belief is that I would never fit into them. It is amazing how the faulty belief system causes you to make certain decisions such as a career choice, fees charged to clients, the friends, colleagues, and even lovers you choose.

So what is your greatest area of fear? Push through it because it may be your  ultimate area of success and triumph!

About the Author: 
Monica Cornetti
Founder and CEO, Sententia

A gamification speaker and designer, Monica Cornetti is rated as a #1 Gamification Guru in the World by UK-Based Leaderboarded. She is the author of the book Totally Awesome Training Activity Guide: Put Gamification to Work for You, writes The Gamification Report blog, and hosts the weekly Gamification Talk Radio program.

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