4 Blocks Draining Your Leadership Power
Part I: Limiting Beliefs
Let’s take a moment to carefully examine what I call the “power blocks”. These are the unseen hurdles that we must overcome in every aspect of our leadership, every day. It’s how and why you lead from the inside out. Because we are making choices based on our past experiences, we cannot change our future unless the control of the past is removed. When we learn to make conscious choices, we learn to make choices that are made in the present moment, without all the emotional baggage we carry around.
You can think of that baggage as being packed into four pieces of luggage—the “Big 4” energy blocks that we carry around with us that dictate how we see the world and that hold us back reaching our unlimited potential. In theory, perhaps your limiting beliefs fit into your carry-on bag.
The first suitcase contains your limiting beliefs. Beliefs can either help you or hinder you; limiting beliefs are those that hold you back from success. If you do not believe something is possible, you’re not likely to attempt it. Even if you do attempt it, you won’t devote much energy to achieving that goal.
Limiting beliefs are general beliefs about the world, your environment and situation, and the people around you that stand in your way. More often than not, you accept a limiting belief as true because you’ve learned it from someone else, or from an “authority,” such as the media, a book, or a movie. You assume that it’s “just the way it is.” Think of the people who say “whatever, that’s the story of my life.” If a person truly believes that, will he attempt to rebel against this preordained story? No. Because in that person’s mind, his story is already written, and whether he is pleased with it or not, he is determined to live and die by it.
Here is a classic example of a limiting belief: Up until 1954, it was commonly held that running a mile in under four minutes was impossible. Moreover, physiologists believed it was extremely dangerous even to attempt it. Yet on May 6th of that year, Roger Bannister crossed the finish line in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds, thereby disproving the myth forever.
It’s remarkable that Bannister accomplished his feat. It required that he completely ignore the prevailing, limiting belief and construct an entirely different belief system for himself. What others saw as a limitation, he perceived as opportunity. And once he disproved the presumed limits of the human body, less than two months later, another runner, John Landy, broke Bannister’s record with a mile dash of 3 minutes and 57.9 seconds. What’s more, within just a few years, dozens of runners were leaving the four-minute mark in the dust. Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco is the current men's record holder with his time of 3 minutes and 43.13 seconds.
Here are a couple of common limiting beliefs that hold many of us back:
You have to work really hard to achieve success?
Successful people are lucky?
You have to have money to make money?
DIGGING DEEPER: what are some limiting beliefs that you may carry regarding your gender/race/religion/sexual orientation/education/income/job title?
Limiting beliefs may be masquerading as other thoughts, words, and phrases—here are some additional examples:
Beliefs conditioned from culture or family
Any other ways of thinking or cognitive distortions
There are several ways to challenge limiting beliefs. You can explore the effect the belief has had on your life, look for proof of its truth (or lack of proof), or modify the belief or aspects of the belief to better serve you. Simply examining the belief with questions like “How true do I believe that is?” and the rhetorical “Where did I get that idea?” can also work remarkably well. Once you overcome limiting beliefs, they can no longer hold you back.
This month, think about examining the contents of your limiting beliefs suitcase. Unpack it, and see how much lighter you feel. Drop a comment below, and download QueenSuite’s free coaching exercise to help you unpack those limiting beliefs.