Limiting beliefs has become a huge subject in the coaching, leadership and self-help arenas. Here’s some brilliant wisdom from the book The Unlimited Self on how to discern limiting beliefs you may be carrying in your life.

Limiting beliefs are the stories our minds feed us which limit who we are and where we want to go. They disempower us rather than empower us. They can be related to inner vows, which often come from hurt and the judgment of others, e.g. someone from our childhood behaves in a way that hurt us, and we vow “I will never do that.” Or we miss out on an opportunity, and we think “someone else will always take my opportunities.”

A limiting belief will cause what should be a simple stretching of one’s comfort zone to become paralyzing and uncomfortable. They can often sound childish, blunt or immature when we realise them, leading us to think “I can’t possibly believe that.” These are often the most powerful limiting beliefs, that do the most harm in our limiting our thinking, and therefore our achievements.

Five areas to consider when trying to discern limiting beliefs are:

  1. Areas where we feel our power is limited (i.e. where we blame others for our circumstances).
  2. Areas where we feel deep fear or discomfort (often about the future).
  3. Areas where we are too comfortable (paradoxical considering the above, but because we afraid of being uncomfortable, we can allow ourselves to remain in areas where we are not challenged).
  4. Areas where we tell ourselves excuse stories.
  5. Areas where we look to externals to make ourselves feel better (and that ultimately can lead to addictions, e.g. over-eating, alcohol or drug dependency, escapism into films, etc)

Consider which of these five areas may relate to you. Do you think you have any limiting beliefs in these areas, and that are hindering your progress or growth?

Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s an experienced leadership trainer, author of biographies on John Wesley and William Wilberforce, and is also passionate about praying for London. He enjoys good films, good food, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.