What limits your success?
Secrets I wish I’d know for running my small business.
George was a popular kid in my old neighborhood. George had a minibike. And sometimes he’d give the rest of us a turn to ride it.
A minibike is a lawn mower engine on a bicycle frame. Back then the only safety feature was the governor on the engine. The governor limits how fast the engine goes. And George’s mini bike only went about 15 mph. Yes, we could still get hurt from a crash, and none of us had even heard of bicycle helmets. But most of our parents deemed it safe enough for us to ride.
But George had a secret. He’d reach down into the engine and push on the governor. The engine revved to a scream and he’d streak by us and down the street.
George showed us where the governor was, but it was next to the exhaust, and none of us were willing to risk getting our hand burned. So we puttered around while George flew at break-neck speed.
Your unconscious and limiting beliefs
Your unconscious mind is like that minibike governor. It’s full of stories and beliefs that hold you back when you try to change or set goals. These limiting beliefs range from minor speed-bumps to crippling fears. Your limiting beliefs will be different from mine, but you have them for sure. Everyone has a few limiting beliefs.
Your limiting beliefs form when you’re little. Your unconscious mind is like a sponge when you’re a child, and it has no filter. You’ll pick up the good and bad from the people who raise you, typically your parents and close family. The tricky part is that your unconscious mind will grab on to the unspoken beliefs of your personal culture. “Do as I say, not as I do!” doesn’t work when it comes to your unconscious mind.
Losing at tennis
Let me give you a personal example of one of my limiting beliefs. I defended the next-to-last position on my high school tennis team. I had to beat the guy above me to move up. I’d play well enough to tie the score. Sometimes I’d even get a point ahead. But I’d always end up losing the game.
Losing at ping pong
After I was married, our good friends would have us over and the guys would play ping pong. We were evenly matched, but my games turned out just like my tennis matches did. I could play to a tie, but I couldn’t score the two points in a row I needed to win the game.
Good Christians aren’t winners
It took years before I was aware of my unconscious limiting belief. Heck, back then I didn’t even realize that my unconscious mind controlled 95% of my actions and decisions.
My limiting belief was that it was wrong for a good Christian to strive for winning, competition and success. Explaining why I believed this would take far too long. And the why doesn’t really matter much when it comes to your unconscious because logical arguments won’t convince your unconscious mind to change what it believes.
How do you figure out your limiting beliefs?
I’ve seen how my limiting beliefs were a lead-weight drag on both my small business and my personal life. But it took me years of trial and error to see them. Wouldn’t it be good if I could give you a short-cut.
A Google search will give you a bunch of blog articles, surveys, free eBooks and paid mini courses about how to uncover your unconscious limiting beliefs. After 10 minutes I felt dazed and confused. Everyone had a different opinion, and I didn’t think any were all that helpful.
Here is what I did to find what was holding me back.
Step 1: Identify your resistance
You won’t have a problem with any of your limiting beliefs if you stay inside your limits. Your limiting beliefs hit you when you’re trying to change, when you’re trying to grow, when you’re working for a big hairy goal. Consider your goal and look for where you feel the resistance.
Step 2: Name the fear
Fear is the emotion resistance most often uses to keep you in your box. Usually you can feel this fear just by thinking about your big goal. Name your fear and write it down.
Step 3: Find the belief underneath the fear
This step takes some time and reflection. Think about the sayings from your past you remember that relate to the fear or worry you feel. Sometimes you won’t have words to describe the belief, but you can remember times in the past you’ve had that same fear. Keep going back in your memory and see if there’s a pattern related to your fear.
Step 4: Write down the limiting beliefs you find
Writing our your limiting beliefs will help you condense your impressions and feelings into a solid idea you can get a few mental hooks into.
Your mental state matters
Practice day dreaming. When you relax your body and let your conscious thoughts drift you’ll have better success listening to your unconscious mind. When your conscious thoughts are somewhat distracted you’ll find bits of insight from your unconscious floating up from the depths.
It may take more than one try
You don’t have to be like me, spending years trying to figure out the weight you’re dragging. But it will take some effort, reflection and time to get the results you want.
Recognizing your limiting beliefs is just the first step. What you really need to know is how to change them. That’s a topic for next time.
Get notified when I post the next installment: