We all have uncertainties that play on our mind; they might worry us unnecessarily or restrict our actions in some way. These limiting beliefs may be triggered by an experience, such as a bad interview, but often they live within our head, troubling our perception rather than reality. Whether conscious or subconscious, it is important we challenge these restrictive thoughts and build confidence in areas of uncertainty.
As a leader of a business, a limiting belief might manifest itself as personal or organisational fear. Doubting one’s ability is a common result of comparing ourselves to others: What if I made the wrong decision? Is it my fault things haven’t worked out as planned? Questioning our company’s ability to develop can also inhibit our work: Do we have right people to push the business forward? If we do take on that project, would we even be able to deliver?
Allow these uncertainties to develop and your company risks slipping into stagnation and ultimately decline. If a leader is shackled by their own doubts, this will spread into the rest of the SLT, then the rest of the employees. An organisation with a tangible lack of confidence is not attractive to stakeholders. Why should clients/customers do business with you if you don’t believe in yourself?
To overcome these limiting beliefs, I have written and tested a six-stage strategy:
1. Isolate – Identify the uncertainty you have. This can be more difficult than it first seems, as they can become so ingrained that they are hard to recognise. You may wish to talk to a trusted advisor or friend, who can help you get to the root of the problem.
2. Locate – Find where this limiting belief stemmed from. This could be a previous experience, such as failing an exam, or a lack of experience, where you have less knowledge in a certain area.
3. Change – Once you have found the real cause of your doubt, this means you can tackle it head on. As soon as you have moved the problem outside your head, it becomes far easier to rationalize and remedy. Consign this uncertainty to the past, you are no longer its victim.
4. Empower – Build your confidence in this area of doubt. Read about the subject, talk to others about it. As your familiarity grows, this will seem far less daunting. Empower yourself; you can do it.
5. Visualise – Imagine all the fantastic potential outcomes that will result from you crushing this limiting belief. Get excited about the future. By visualising these potential victories, you are motivating yourself to succeed.
6. Embed – Once your confidence has been boosted, create opportunities for you to challenge this limiting belief. As you practice and improve in this area, your skillset will diversify. After you have embedded this into your routine, it will soon be hard to believe that you ever doubted yourself.
An organisation should be positive, solution focused and positive thinking; it is your job as leader to exemplify these attributes. Challenges are going to come along which require your attention, don’t make your own challenges by surrendering to your limiting beliefs. If you’re running a functioning business your obviously competent, so over half of the battle is in your head. Believe in yourself.
What thoughts are holding you back? Why is this? What actions can you take to make these things more familiar?