The Positive Energy Workplace

5 Ways Your Personal Beliefs Are Holding You Back

There’s something super powerful running your “show”… and you may not even be aware of it. See if any of these scenarios are familiar...

A colleague was in a tizzy because he was certain that one of his main clients was going to fire him. (That afternoon when he spoke with his client, he projected the energy of fear and resistance not serving the situation at all, and in fact creating new tension.)

A client, frustrated by her employee’s lack of “oomph" and leadership, decided she’d made a huge mistake and that her guy was not the right person to lead a project he’d been given. (The employee sensed his boss’ doubt and got even more “careful” perpetuating more of the behavior that concerned my client.)

A friend’s doctor told him he was bordering all sorts of medical havoc and that he needed to start taking better care of himself — stat. All my friend could think about was how much changing his behavior was going to suck, how he was never the “fit guy”, and how unfair it was that this was happening to him. (A cycle of misery ensued hindering positive action and energy.)

I had a business opportunity come up that at first I believed was over my head, I vacillated on it for days, and finally declined. (Upon further exploration and reflection I realized this would have been a great thing to say “YES!” to. Because of the underlying beliefs running my show, and my unconsciousness about them, I missed a very cool opportunity to create big impact and learn a lot.)

Each of these scenarios reflect beliefs. Beliefs impact how we feel, how we show up, what we do, and ultimately the results we create.

Let’s take another batch…

My daughter had a test (on a very challenging subject for her) and held the belief she was going to kill it. (She did.) I had a conversation I’d procrastinated on having for over a week. As challenging as it felt, I decided to believe it was going to open up an essential level of conversation, and that whatever the outcomes were — they’d be just right. (Amazingly they were.) A girlfriend started exercising. She held the belief that it was a valuable investment in time and in herself and that she’d succeed at sustaining her training. (So far so good.)

These scenarios also demonstrate beliefs. In the second batch, the beliefs served the individual in moving forward, feeling more expansive, and setting themselves up to get the best outcome possible. In the first batch — not so much…

Beliefs are slippery little suckers. They’re operating all the time. Anywhere you don’t like a result — you’ll likely find a lurking belief that’s simply not serving you. Anywhere you love a result — you’ll likely find beliefs that serve, amplify, and simply make you stand taller.

The great news is that regardless the belief, the result, the feeling, we can learn from all of it — IF we choose to stay conscious, get curious, and be honest with ourselves about what’s up. For example, in my declined business opportunity, I learned a lot about what happens for me when I’m on my “edge”. I now know the feeling that hits when I’m feeling intimidated or daunted by something. That feeling doesn’t necessarily mean “NO” — it means pause, breathe, learn more, explore my beliefs about “it” (and myself), get support, and then decide “YES” or “NO”. I’ve come to learn that this kind of feeling leads to a powerful “YES” about 90% of the time now.

Here’s what I know about these guys: Beliefs are always present. Beliefs are contagious. Awareness is often missing. It’s all figure-out-able.

Simply pause, breathe, and explore.

Here are some common areas and examples of beliefs I see get in the way of peoples’ success:

  • Beliefs about self: “I’m not good enough.” “I can’t do this.” “They’re going to find out I really don’t belong here” (good ole “Imposter Syndrome”.) “I’m not the kind of person to ___.”, "I’m a bad leader/I’m not a leader.”
  • Beliefs about others. “He’s incompetent.” “He doesn’t like me.” “She likes me only for ___.” “My child isn’t going to listen to me.” “They (the infamous organizational ‘they’) won’t let me.”
  • Beliefs about people/the world. “They’re good.” “They’re bad.” “People are out to get me.” “People are rooting for me to do well.” “People are rooting for me to fail.” "People are better than me.” “People are worse than me.”
  • Beliefs about money. “It’s evil.” “It’s hard to make.” “I don’t deserve it.” “I’m not the kind of person who makes a lot of money.” “There’s not enough.” “I’m not good at managing my money.” “Money should not be discussed.” 
  • Beliefs about results/processes. “This will not work.” “This is going to be impossible/hard/painful.” “This is going to suck.” “They’re going to hate this.”

Note that this is not about being inauthentic or ditching or diminishing your beliefs or pretending they don’t exist — they do, and they’re precious.  It IS about noticing them and what they TRULY are, questioning them, considering if they’re real (or even yours), and IF they serve, and then — if needed — exploring alternative options/beliefs/truths that might serve better.

Ready? Go. //

This article first appeared on on February 9, 2016.


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