In last month’s article we discussed how to stop sabotaging your business. One of the major ways that business owners sabotage their success is via their limiting beliefs. This month, we focus on limiting beliefs, what they are and how to identify and address them, and so that they stop limiting your business success.
What you believe becomes real
All our behaviors are driven by our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, etc. If our beliefs (what we know to be true about ourselves and the world around us) are positive (eg. I am a successful person) they support us in creating a successful business. If our beliefs are limiting (eg. I can't trust people) then these can limit our success in business and in life. Whatever you believe, whether positive or negative, becomes real through your behavior.
While many of our beliefs were developed during our childhood, early schooling and early adult life, they can significantly limit our success today. Therefore, it is important to change any beliefs which limit us today. Here are a couple of case studies to illustrate the power of limiting beliefs and how they can limit a business owner, until they are addressed.
Case Study 1
A business owner with three retail outlets sought help. He admitted “I am the biggest procrastinator” and kept putting off a key business decision. He calculated that this procrastination cost him $10,000 per month plus much financial and emotional stress. While he knew that, he still procrastinated about the decision. We discovered that he had a limiting belief “I need approval from other people” and because of this belief, he procrastinated on the decision as he waited on approval. Once we helped him to address this limiting belief, he stopped procrastinating and took action. This saved him $120,000 each year, dramatically reduced his stress levels and freed up his focus and energy to grow his business.
Case Study 2
A graphic designer found herself struggling financially and working really hard to make money in her business. She was undercharging for her services and panicking about money. We discovered several limiting beliefs that held her back, including “I have to work really hard to make a living” and “I am not worthy of success”. Once these beliefs were addressed she reached her business targets for the first time, and started to exceed them within a couple of months. She also started to attract higher quality clients and her cash flow increased significantly. While her volume of work increased, because she became more efficient, she was also able to create a much better work life balance.
Identifying limiting beliefs
One way to identify any limiting beliefs is to look at your behavior because your beliefs are reflected in your behavior. Here are some examples of limiting beliefs and how they could be reflected in various behaviors. Please keep in mind that there are many possibilities and these are simply examples which may or may not be relevant to you.
- being a perfectionist can have the business owner rework things so often that they end up putting off the tasks for so long, sometimes totally missing the deadline. Alternatively, it can lead to unrealistic expectations of themselves or staff, so never being happy with their own or others' performance. It may even result in a hesitation to delegate, outsource, set up alliances, etc.
- fear of failure can have the business owner pursue activities and business strategies which lead to a series of failures as a result of the fear ie. the fear becomes a self fulfilling prophesy.
- fear of being judged by others can have the business owner avoiding doing things that have them and their business stand out from the crowd, can have them avoid expressing themselves easily, can have them avoid giving presentations, networking effectively, etc
- a limiting belief of not trusting themselves can have the business owner also procrastinate about making decisions, can have them be less trusting of staff and other people, can have them questioning their own decisions, etc.
Another way to identify if you have any limiting beliefs is to consider all aspects of your business (eg. strategy, finance, marketing, sales, operations, people/HR, etc) and look for any patterns that you are unhappy with. For example, do you find yourself avoiding sales and marketing? If so, what are your beliefs around sales and marketing and your ability to do these effectively? For example, one business owner I worked with believed that all salespeople are sleazy and therefore avoided selling, which had a hugely detrimental impact on his cash flow.
Do you have a pattern of putting off calling late paying customers? What are your beliefs around doing that? Another business owner refused to chase up late customer payments which severely affected the cash flow in her business, because of her limiting belief of “I don’t want confrontation”.
Addressing limiting beliefs
Once you have identified your own limiting beliefs, it is important to address these so that they stop limiting your business success. Because our beliefs are stored at the unconscious level, the most effective way to address them is by working with the unconscious mind in such a way to address them permanently. This way the limiting beliefs will stop limiting your success once and for all and you will be freer to create and maintain the business success that you desire.
Dr. Vesna is an author, sought after speaker, and empowers aspiring and existing business owners to achieve exceptional success. For more techniques on mastering business success and for your FREE gifts, visit www.qttransformation.com and empower yourself today.