We all have the potential to achieve great things. But sometimes, our own thoughts and beliefs can hold us back from reaching our full potential. If you are familiar with my blogs and resources then you are likely to be aware that I talk about limiting beliefs a lot. Maybe you are aware of your own limiting beliefs. Whether it’s a familiar concept or not, this is the first step to understanding how you are holding yourself back.
Ways you might be holding yourself back
We all hold ourselves back in some areas of our lives, but why? Here are 6 ways we hold ourselves back:
Fear of failure
This is one of the most common ways that we hold ourselves back. We're afraid of failing, so we don't even try. This can be especially true when it comes to new things or things that we're not good at. It might show up as:
- Playing it safe in our career
- Not starting a new fitness routine or health programme
- Avoiding investing in our future
- Closing ourselves off from relationships
Of course, no one likes to fail, but the truth is that failure is a natural part of life. We all fail at something at some point. But it’s also true that we often allow the fear of failure as a way to play it safe. We don't put ourselves out there, and we don't go after our dreams. But if we want to achieve anything great, we have to be willing to fail.
- Learn from your failures. What can you do differently next time?
- Creating a growth mindset
- Where failing has been helpful
Perfectionism can be a great motivator, but it can also be a major obstacle and is actually another way that fear of failure can manifest itself. It might show up as:
- A fear of not being perfect that we don't even try
- Putting off starting new projects or taking on new challenges because we're afraid of not doing them perfectly
As I tell my kids, perfection doesn’t exist and if we are constantly searching for perfection, we will never be satisfied. If you feel like perfectionism holds you back focus on:
- Accepting that perfect is an impossible goal
- Aim for a 10% decrease in where you think you 'should' be
- Focus on the quality of your work, not the perfection of it
We all do it. It's easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves to others, and this can be a major source of self-doubt and another big way we hold ourselves back.
We see someone who has more money, a better job, or a more successful career, and we start to feel like we're not good enough. But comparing ourselves to others is a surefire way to sabotage our own success.
If this is something that affects you, remember that everyone is on their own journey. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, and we all have different goals. Comparing ourselves to others only makes us feel bad about ourselves, instead, focus on:
- Your strengths and weaknesses, not the strengths and weaknesses of others
- Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem
- Creating the life that you want
We all talk to ourselves in our heads, and sometimes our inner dialogue is negative. We tell ourselves that we're not good enough, that we'll never succeed, or that we're not worthy of happiness. This is where you might notice your self-esteem is low and your mental health may be suffering. If your inner critic is keeping you stuck then focus on:
- Your positive qualities and your strengths
- Replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations
- Challenging your inner critic - is that really true? Where has it not been true?
- Seeking out professional support for your mental well-being if you need it
We set unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others, and when we don't meet them, we get discouraged and give up. Here are some common expectations we set:
- Being able to change overnight
- Achieve our goals without any effort (different to effortless action!)
- That everyone should like us
- Being able to control others and/or the outcomes
I have found that creating agreements with myself and others is a more effective way of moving towards my goals (and staying motivated). If you find yourself creating unrealistic expectations, focus on:
- Exploring what’s going on and why these expectations show up
- Creating transparent agreements instead of secret expectations
- Staying flexible
Fear of rejection
We all fear rejection, but it's important to remember that rejection is not a reflection of your worth as a person. It simply means that the person or opportunity wasn't right for you. Don't let fear of rejection hold you back from taking risks and pursuing your dreams. Focus on:
- Accepting and acknowledging your feelings
- Treating yourself with kindness and compassion
- Taking action - tiny, sustainable steps are best
Create the life you want
You are capable of anything you set your mind to. I have found the key to stepping into your potential is to find a new perspective. Remember, you are not alone. We all hold ourselves back in some way. But it's never too late to start creating the life that you want.