15 November 2007

What are the limiting beliefs that keep your life out of control?

Limiting beliefs are very interesting. Most of us have inherited them from our parents or people of influence in our lives or even from the media. These can be beliefs that stop us from excelling in life.

I noticed an example of a limiting belief on a trip to Sri Lanka recently in an elephant orphanage. There were giant elephants that seemed held in place with a length of string around their back leg. Clearly the elephants could have broken the cord in a second but apparently they never did. The reason for this was explained by one of the handlers.

When the elephant babies are bought in to the centre they have a chain attached to the leg to hold them in their pens. Of course they struggle and fight, but eventually they give up, accepting that whenever they are chained it is pointless to resist. Over time the chain is replaced by a thick rope, then a thinner rope until it is virtually only a piece of string. But the slightest pressure on the elephants leg makes it think it cannot move from that particular spot. So without thinking about the ethics of this treatment, it is clear to see how the negative belief is used to control the elephants.

People are not a lot different. We have our own limiting beliefs and there are many books written on this concept and various ways to overcome our negative core beliefs. In business I see the following negative beliefs every day and I believe they really do stop people from succeeding and they make life so much harder for business owners than it has to be:

1. Small business is meant to be hard.
2. You have to work really long hours to be successful in your own business.
3. You can never make huge amounts of money in a small business.
4. You have to sacrifice a lot to have your own business.
5. Most small businesses fail.

Now if you have those core beliefs, why on earth are you in business? I have to admit, somewhat ashamedly, that I did have these negative beliefs for many years and I almost saw it as a personal challenge to prove them wrong.

Over time and with experience from too many people to list I realised they are not right.

1. There is no reason at all why owning a small business should be tougher than any other way of making a living.
2. Working really long hours is not a prerequisite to building a successful business.
3. I know many, many people who have made and are making millions of dollars per year from their small business.
4. I don’t consider anything I do in business to be a sacrifice, it is more a matter of determining my priorities.
5. Most small businesses fail for very predictable reasons. If you are aware of these your chances of success are very high.

What negative beliefs are holding you back? Search deep within and see what nerves are touched when you explore some of the above thoughts. Once you have identified your limiting beliefs, replace it with a positive belief and read it daily. It takes time to change these beliefs but with perseverance you will.

What can you do today? Identify your own negative beliefs, whatever they may be. Write them down and then write the belief you want to have next to it. From now on, read the positive belief every day for at least a month.

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