A fabulous guest blog from the very lovely Midlife Maven – Suzanne Mountain, Navigating Change
Sometimes we women are our own worst enemies! We know that we wan to have a great business idea and that we have a contribution to make to the world but then we allow our mind monkeys to run riot and tell us all the reasons we are deluded! If there is one thing that holds us back from fulfilling our potential, it’s often our own self-limiting beliefs. We choose to believe that what we tell ourselves is real and is our reality.
- I’m all alone so can’t run a business without support!
- I’m not clever enough to know how to run a business
- I’m under qualified to run a business, I don’t have qualifications!
- I’m too fat to step out and own this business, I’ll do when I lose a stone!
- I’m too young and no-one will take me seriously!
- I’m too old and everyone will think I am past it!
These are just some of the ones I’ve heard from my clients and, if I’m honest, I’ve even been guilty of saying a couple of them too.
Let’s look at the 4 self-limiting beliefs that women most commonly tell themselves.
1. Need not to fail.
One of the most common reasons is the fear of failure. Let’s be honest no one wants to fail, do they? However, I realised that this was one that I had to overcome in order to run be successful in my business. I was frightened of the risk I was taking of leaving a company and of no longer having a monthly salary payment! I was frightened of failing and also of the what failing would do to my own self-perception!
There is something very British about our fear of failure! Along with it comes the worries about how other people will react and the shame, blame and disgrace we will feel.
2. Need to be more confident.
Low self-confidence stops so many capable women from stepping forward and owning their business. In order to be really successful, you need to be prepared to be the face of your business. Women tend to feel that as they don’t like the way they look they don’t want to be seen and judged.
3. Need to be more like a man.
Popular programmes on T.V such as The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den feature aggressive types pitching for investment. These shows often focus on the loudest, most opinionated individuals. This leaves women to feel that business is not a safe place for those of us with big hearts and spiritual businesses.
4. Need to get it perfect.
Too often we strive to make things perfect. Our products need to be perfect, our pitch needs to be perfect, our website needs to look perfect. Often, this is just an excuse not to overcome our fear and make ourselves vulnerable by getting out there and seeing what happens next.
Now I’m not saying that men do not also suffer from these limiting beliefs but it certainly seems more common in women.
Generally, our fears relate to not being able to cope with a particular situation that we think we might have to face.
So how can you go about it?
Susan Jeffers in ‘Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway’ suggests that in order to overcome fear we need to re-educate ourselves to accept fear as part of growth and then move on.
Here are some suggestions to try.
Use affirmations to remind you of what you want to do.
Gabrielle Bernstein suggests that the following affirmation can help us move through our fear.
“I am willing to witness my fear.” And
“I am willing to see this differently, I am willing to see love.”
Pay attention to your self-talk
Are the messages you are sending to yourself helpful and empowering or are they just escalating your fear? Practise positive thinking. Just like the body needs refuelling with food and water so does the brain. Make sure you keep your topped up with positive messages.
Each day take a few moments to remind yourself of everything that you have to be grateful for.
Get specific about what it is you are telling yourself
Write it down. Then ask yourself, is this always true? When is it not true? Get curious about when it is not true and it may throw some light into the circumstances that make it true. This could lead to a solution.
Ask yourself… What is the worst thing that could happen?
I find when working with clients and they tell me about their fears and we identify their limiting beliefs, I ask them to tell me about the worst possible outcome of the situation. We then discuss what they would do if that happened. Often it is not as bad as they thought it might be. This can be quite liberating and helps get things back in perspective.
Practise free flow writing in your journal. Set yourself 5 minutes and open your journal and write down everything that comes into your head. Do not edit it or stop to check spelling or audit it. Just write. This helps get it out of your head. You don’t even need to read it back. It is useful just to get it out of your head.
Accept that many things will happen in your life over which you will have no or little control. These can range from small things in our individual lives to things happening elsewhere in the world. If like me, you have a high need for control, this might take some work. However, learning to let go of this need, will help you reduce your fear.
Overtime, I have come to realise that I learn my best lessons when things don’t go to plan, when they are not perfect. When this has happened, generally, I have only experienced support and love. I am learning to be more vulnerable and in return I am creating deeper connections with people who can support me. In turn this is allowing me to work better and challenge more of my previously held limiting beliefs and fears.
I encourage you to do the same.
My final words for today come from Marianne Williamson
“Our deepest fear is not that we are weak. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
I loved to know what you think. Please leave your comments below.
Suzanne’s redundancy in 2016 was the kick in the pants she needed to take a risk and set up her own business. She’d had a long corporate career developing talented individuals and leading organisational change; holding positions like Head of Talent and Head of People & Organisation Performance.
Suzanne is now on a mission to empower midlife individuals to create and manage change in their personal & work lives. This is achieved through mentoring, coaching, training & consulting both face to face & online to individuals and groups.