Limiting beliefs are the ultimate antagonist to any entrepreneur’s success story. If you let them take the reins of your life, you may never reach your full potential as a business owner.
As an entrepreneur who has taken multiple leaps of faith in my business ventures, I’m no stranger to self-doubt.
Once my business Online Profile Pros began taking off, imposter syndrome hit me hard.
I found myself questioning if I deserved all of the opportunities, successes, and rewards that came with the hard work I put in. Even though it was my business, I struggled with believing that I was the most qualified person to be crafting an elevator pitch.
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In the end, I overcame those feelings. And I’ve been relishing in my work ever since.
Now, it’s my goal to help other entrepreneurs do the same.
Tell me if this sounds like you:
“I would leave if I could, but I just don’t have the time or the money to start my own business.”
“I’m already so tired with work, how could I ever do what she does?”
“Their branding is so consistent, but I don’t know enough about marketing to make mine look like that.”
Ahh… yes. So many excuses, so little time, right?
We’ve all had these thoughts, and, obviously, they do more harm than good. That’s because limiting beliefs are dream killers.
Before I found myself pitching my business to a room of investors, I made the jump from a lifestyle blogger to a personal brand strategist. I knew that this was the right move to make for my career and that it would take me countless steps closer to achieving my goals.
However, my confidence wasn’t always rock solid.
But if I had let those doubts keep me from transforming my brand, I would never have made it to where I am today.
We’re not immune to ideas that start with “I don’t,” “I can’t,” and “I’ll never,” but if we let them consume us, we may never feel fully satisfied in either our professional or personal lives.
What are limiting beliefs?
We reserve these sorts of ideas for the unmotivated and the unsuccessful, right?
Even the minds of the most successful CEOs are not impervious to limiting beliefs.
A single limiting belief is a state of mind or an idea you tell yourself that constricts you in some way. Once you’ve convinced yourself these faulty ideas hold any truth, they prevent you from reaching your full potential— professionally and emotionally.
Feelings of fear, endless excuses, and notions of self-doubt are all side effects of limiting beliefs. It’s not abnormal to have these experiences, but they could be damaging to your business goals and your health if left unchecked.
So, where do we learn these toxic thoughts and why do they come up so often?
Mostly through our upbringing and life experiences. Education impacts the ways we think and what we choose to adopt as truth.
In school, teachers give us one way to do something. They tell us that everyone has to have a specialized degree, and then we get to look forward to climbing the corporate ladder.
Familial beliefs also play a significant role by acting as a catalyst for our morals and values. When your instinct is to never question authority, the idea of wandering off the path of least resistance can be scary. If you grew up in a family of accountants, it might feel like you’re betraying them when you start to imagine a different career for yourself.
Beyond our structural upbringing, negative experiences leave a bad taste in our mouths. This is also what kickstarts toxic thoughts.
For example, if a relationship ends in heartbreak (or if a business venture ends in failure), we may develop adversity to putting ourselves in similar situations.
Now, there’s no shame in identifying with any of these factors. No one is perfect. But a part of being successful is recognizing these unhealthy thought patterns before they wreak havoc on your life.
Top 10 Most Common Limiting Beliefs
Everyone’s doubts stem from our unique memories, experiences, and upbringing. But there are some things that we all find ourselves worrying about at some point.
Here are some of the most common limiting beliefs that plague the bright and motivated minds of all entrepreneurs:
1. I don’t have time
We all know there’s nothing more valuable than time. If you find yourself envying people for appearing to have more hours in their day, then you need to take a hard look at how you’re prioritizing your schedule. With a bit of rearranging, time will be on your side.
2. It’s too expensive.
Some believe dreams require a financial investment. However, the idea that it takes money to make money isn’t necessarily true. Investing your time and effort into your brand can be just as fruitful as writing a check.
3. I’m not creative enough.
Being a left-brained, academic person doesn’t mean that you’re incapable of realizing your creative identity. Find what works for you and your brand rather than constantly trying to mirror someone else’s branding model. And if things just aren’t clicking, don’t be afraid to do research and seek help from other creative minds.
4. I don’t want to fail.
Fear of failure is the most damaging limited belief that keeps people from achieving success. Change your mindset, and you’ll realize that there’s no such thing as failure, only results.
We’re human, so that fear is there to keep us out of risky situations. However, if you let it rule you and your business decisions, you’re bound for disappointment.
5. I don’t have what it takes.
You shouldn’t write your dreams off because you think you don’t have the right education, skillset, or determination. Use the sources available to you to help you get started. Then, set attainable goals for yourself to keep you on a path of positive growth.
6. I don’t deserve it.
Nobody has the right to succeed more than anyone else. You deserve to reach your full potential, find success, live a happy life, and – most importantly – live without limiting beliefs. Show up for yourself, and your business goals will become much less intimidating.
7. I’m too old.
Your dreams don’t have an expiration date, so why should you? It’s never too late to rethink your career or to reimagine your future. With the right support and determination, I promise you anything is possible, no matter where you are in life.
8. I don’t understand.
It’s easy to dismiss things that come off as confusing or unachievable. But before you cut yourself short of success, take a deep breath, and make time to do a little homework. There are many people out there who are willing to share their knowledge with you for free (that’s why I write these blogs for you!).
9. I’ll never be able to retire.
Let’s be real – nowadays, just about any job comes with questionable retirement security. No matter what you’re doing, retirement comes down to your personal investments and savings. So, why not spend your time in the workforce doing what you love?
10. I’ll never make enough money.
Money is one of the most significant stressors in modern life.
The good news? It doesn’t have to be.
Before you settle for less than your business goals, take the time to reevaluate your money management. A structured business and branding model will have you sleeping peacefully at night.
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Are any of these sounding familiar? Don’t stress – you can prove yourself wrong.
Failure and doubt are never permanent.
But challenges can lead you to an entirely new approach to your personal brand. These challenges help reveal the key to the doors you never thought would open.
How do limiting beliefs harm us?
Limiting beliefs do precisely what they promise they’ll do – they limit us.
These damaging thoughts can quickly creep into your professional life. The last thing an entrepreneur needs is for these fears to manifest themselves into irreversible business mistakes and missed opportunities.
When you always doubt yourself, you’ll never become a thought leader. And when you’re not a leader in your industry, your brand will inevitably suffer.
Successful brands aren’t afraid to break down barriers by consistently doing more than what they expect from themselves. These people have zero to few limiting beliefs anchoring them down.
How can we tell? Because they’ll do almost anything to thrive as a business.
Take Amazon, for example.
Back in the mid-90s, Amazon was an online bookstore. A few years later, the company added the third-party marketplace to its site. This is what helped Amazon dominate the online retail business. Now, the company is all about innovation
Who would trust “Earth’s biggest bookstore” to sell them anything other than a bestselling hardcover?
Everyone, apparently. Jeff Bezos’s refusal to give into limiting beliefs and failure is also probably why he’s worth $182 billion dollars today.
Even more notable might be Apple’s release of the iPhone. Blackberry ruled the workaholic class with its revolutionary keyboard and email access. But Apple swooped in and took the modern world by storm with its futuristic touchscreen and clean marketing.
Would you believe that back then, tech leaders mocked Apple’s ideas? This is what you can achieve when you don’t others’ opinions get in your way.
I’m not promising that you’ll be the next Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos, but challenging the norm is the common denominator here.
So, while it’s important to share doubts (like imposter syndrome), you can’t let those doubts consume you – or else they’ll consume your business, too. And you’ll fail.
Ever notice how no one has a Blackberry anymore? That’s because it went out of business after losing to the underdog.
Everyone’s business journey is different. But I promise that checking your doubts at the door will result in unbelievable growth and confidence in your abilities as an entrepreneur.
How do you get rid of limiting beliefs?
Frankly, no one is entirely immune to limiting beliefs. But with a shift in mindset and a few additions to your toolkit, you and your brand can thrive.
We must keep limiting beliefs in-check as a means of self-preservation and maintaining a happy life.
A little guidance can go a long way to helping restore your confidence as an entrepreneur. Start by finding a mentor who understands and supports your goals.
A mentor could be a previous boss, professor, coworker, or family friend. It’s their job to provide impartial advice on how to meet your goals. If they’re someone you admire and think you could work well with, then reach out and discuss what you want to achieve together.
With a strong support team behind you, it’s time for you to dig a little deeper into your business and what you want out of it.
Educate yourself on trends, business management, and the inner workings of successful leaders in your industry. If you have the means, I highly suggest workshops, lectures, and other how-to classes like my personal branding masterclass,
And no matter what happens, keep publishing content.
Many people tend to feel despair when their content doesn’t perform well. For some reason, we all inherited this limiting belief that vanity metrics equal success.
So don’t back down. An ill-performing post isn’t the death of your brand by any means. Instead, take what you’ve learned and go back to the drawing board to try again tomorrow.
In the age of instant gratification, it’s vital to remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. Keep putting yourself out there. Make sure you’re talking about what’s important to you. Eventually, you’ll see that you have just as much potential as anyone else.
And my biggest suggestion? Unfollow people who make your feel inferior or people you constantly compare yourself to.
Stop subjecting yourself to these unhelpful comparisons. A little competition is healthy, but if it’s killing your confidence, then it’s doing more harm than good. Remember, what you’re seeing on other accounts (such as followers, likes, and comments) are purely vanity metrics. Just because they have thousands of followers doesn’t mean their business is thriving.
So do whatever it takes; write this down, commit it to memory, and take a step back before you succumb to liming beliefs.