Limiting beliefs are negative thoughts that we all experience from time to time. Whether it’s worrying that we don’t have enough experience or comparing ourselves to others, these feelings often coincide with pivotal moments during our entrepreneurship journey. While self-doubt is a totally natural instinct, limiting beliefs can quickly turn into obstacles that have significant impacts on our business.
The good news is that once we recognize these feelings, we can work through them. Limiting beliefs in business can provide wonderful learning opportunities to enhance our business journey and improve our overall well-being.
To help us get there, we have rounded up some common examples of limiting beliefs and how to overcome them.
- Someone else is doing better than me
- I’m not good enough
- I don’t have enough experience
- I’m not ready
- I’ll never be one of the best
- The market is too saturated
- It’s (my product/service) not perfect
I also have this podcast episode, How to Change Fear-Based Thoughts and Beliefs to Empowering Ones, where I get into more depth about overcoming negative thoughts and beliefs.
“Someone else is doing better than me”
Comparing ourselves with others is a natural instinct that follows us through school, college, work and beyond. In the social media era, it is something we simply can’t get away from. In business, it often coincides with moving out of our comfort zone. Not only can these thoughts destroy our self-confidence but they can also prevent us from seeking new opportunities or trying new things.
Rather than allowing this feeling to consume us, identify what success means to you and use it to set goals for your business. Maybe it’s finding the right work-life balance or helping others to lead a more fulfilling lifestyle. Perhaps you want financial success or maybe you just want to travel and laugh each and every day. Whatever it is, be sure to focus on your values. Use this to your advantage and build a business that makes you proud.
“I’m not good enough”
“I’m not good enough” is a common feeling that often stems from other limiting beliefs on the list. The culprit? Perfectionism. It goes without saying that entrepreneurs are perfectionists. It’s a trait that makes us stand out from the crowd. But what happens when things do not meet our expectations? We might miss out on an opportunity or fall short of our desired outcomes. When this happens, we need to find a way to accept it. If we harbor the feeling of inadequacy, it is likely to show up in our work. People who experience this limiting belief tend to hold off on opportunities for fear that they won’t make the cut.
Before we get to this point, it’s a good idea to take a good look at your goals. Are they realistic? Be kind to yourself and set targets that are achievable. This will leave you with a newfound confidence that will shine through everything you do.
“I don’t have enough experience”
As entrepreneurs, self-doubt can often feel like our closest friend. There is always someone in the field who is more qualified or has been in the industry for longer. In fact, sometimes it can feel like everyone has an advantage over us. If we’re not careful, this feeling can leave us questioning our own abilities. When we experience a setback, it can also prevent us from bouncing back. We then develop a lack of confidence which shows up in our communications with others.
The thing to remember is that everyone has to start somewhere. If we let this belief get in the way, it can leave us feeling deflated. Whatever your background, the fact that you are even considering going it alone means that you have what it takes. Trust yourself and enjoy the journey.
“I’m not ready”
Starting out as an entrepreneur is never easy. In fact, it’s probably the hardest thing you will ever do. Doubting our capabilities stems from a fear of success that can lead us to put things off. In a worst-case scenario, this belief can prevent us from getting off the ground altogether.
Take some time to figure out why you may be feeling this way. It could be due to family commitments or other time constraints. Once you discover the source, you can put together a plan that will support both your personal life and career. Stepping outside of your comfort zone offers a ton of benefits but it’s certainly no easy feat. Take time to build a business that fits into your life but don’t leave it too long.
“I’ll never be one of the best”
This crippling thought is often the result of other limiting beliefs on the list. For example, if you continuously compare yourself to others and feel like you’re not good enough, then your mind is likely to be filled with negative emotions. The problem with entrepreneurs is that we are constantly moving forward. We reach one goal and head straight to the next without really recognizing our achievements. This constant need to be the best is grinding, to say the least. Over time it can lead to severe burn-out.
The answer? Shift your focus onto your achievements. If we put our attention on the journey rather than the end goal, we will lead a far more fulfilling life all round. You have probably already come a long way over the past year. Focus on that and set some realistic goals for the year ahead.
“The market is too saturated”
With so much competition out there, it can feel very overwhelming. When we first start out, it is totally normal to look for obstacles. The idea of a saturated market can quickly become a barrier that prevents us from pursuing our business idea altogether.
Instead, use it to your advantage. Undertake some thorough research and look for gaps in the market. How does your business idea stand out from others? What could you do differently? Turning this thought around and using it to guide you is a skill that, once developed, can benefit you for years to come.
“It’s not perfect”
If your product doesn’t live up to your expectations, then there is a chance it will never get off the ground. While it’s important to feel confident, your business is unlikely to be perfect at the beginning and that’s OK. In fact, that’s actually ideal. Having a perfectly imperfect product means that there’s room for growth. If we strive for perfection before we begin, we risk never getting started at all.
Find out what it is that’s lacking. Is it something you can resolve effectively and efficiently? If so, then go for it. If not, give it a go and see how it develops. Being an entrepreneur involves a lot of trial and error. It’s a journey that we are constantly reviewing, analyzing, and improving. Just enjoy the ride!
How to overcome limiting beliefs in business
Now that we have identified some examples of limiting beliefs, we can work on overcoming them. First of all, it’s important to remember that we all have these feelings at some stage in our career. They may come and go but if we ignore them they could damage our ability to move forward. Limiting beliefs can prevent us from achieving our goals and severely impact our own mental health.
As different challenges arise, these thoughts are likely to creep in. Identify the source of the feeling and find a way to work through them. Seek support from a coach, undertake some research, and talk it through with other like-minded professionals. Using mantras or other mindfulness techniques is another way to bring things back into focus. Limiting beliefs in business can become crippling, but they can also be used to enhance our skills and transform our entire mindset.