Rise Above and Flourish: 4 Ways to Overcome Your Self-Limiting Beliefs
A few years ago I suffered a health collapse from stress. I developed an auto-immune disease and I struggled with chronic fatigue for several years. I lost a lot as a result of this burnout: relationships, income, and my confidence. I had trouble believing in myself and I developed a belief that I would never accomplish anything worthwhile again and that I’m not really a capable person.
After burnout, it was hard to pick myself up and create a new life that was more aligned to my strengths and talents. I had to forge a new career since I could not return to the old one which broke me. I decided to follow my passion and become a writer. I wrote a book about my experience of becoming sick, with the intention of helping others to avoid similar suffering. I registered a business and started to create other offerings around my book, such as workshops and stress consultations.
I oscillated between the excitement of being able to follow my calling, and fear that I could not make it work. That was made worse by the many naysayers who told me that writing could not provide adequate income and that I could not make a career out of what I was doing. Of course, that fed my self-doubt and my limiting beliefs that had taken hold.
In the time I spent recovering, I invested in myself a lot. With chronic fatigue, one has a lot of time to think which I spent creating a new life, designed on the principles of positive psychology. I picked up strategies to improve my life and I learnt many ways to combat limiting beliefs.
1. Practice Self-Compassion
Self-compassion means that we treat ourselves as we would treat a friend we care about. Historically, I was very hard on myself, pushing myself to exhaustion. There was no time for fun or relaxation. In recovery, I learnt that there is a close link with stress and self-compassion. Research shows that people who have high levels of self-compassion, who are kind to themselves, have lower stress levels.
I knew that I had to shift my thinking as a first step so I created a list of positive affirmations. I repeated them daily as part of my routine. It felt quite lame and I didn’t believe what I was saying at first, but in time, I came to accept and to embed these kinder beliefs into my life. That showed up in my behaviour as I made time to look after myself, to prioritize self-care and to put my needs first.
2. Get a Coach
I met a wonderful coach who was a good fit for me. I could not be coached by someone who was going to push me hard because I was still regaining energy and getting on top of my health. I needed someone who was compassionate but who stretched me to achieve the things I wanted to deliver.
This year, I have completed my second book and it would have been tough without her support. One of the great benefits is that she uncovered many limiting beliefs that I was not aware of. Once they were out in the open, it was so much easier to address them and to replace them with something that supports my new life and goals.
3. Put Yourself Out There
I use social media regularly to share the talks I do, the workshops I’m hosting and any other exciting news. Sometimes, just when I’m feeling concerned about a quiet patch in my business, I bump into someone who says “Wow, you’re doing so much and it’s so inspiring.” When I hear something like this, it gives me a great boost of confidence and those limiting beliefs start to crumble.
I have connected with so many people in different countries on social media who have also experienced burnout. I’ve been invited to participate in initiatives, speeches and events through the people I have met online. These opportunities have led to me expanding my offerings, finding new clients and reaching more people to support with stress. I believe it to be a valuable part of my business to share what I do and in this way, I allow for opportunities to come my way.
4. Networking: Get Yourself Out There
I work alone at home. Because I’m an introvert, I love it but I can get lonely and bored with little adult interaction. I do a lot of networking and I have met so many wonderful people in the process. I’ve been exposed to other business owners who struggle in the same ways I do. I have also met others who can support me in fields like PR and marketing. I often meet people who are so sure that my offerings have value. Sometimes they even promote my business to others proactively, just because they believe in it. When these things happen, I realize how much I have to offer and that my limiting beliefs are not serving me.
I think the most important thing to do in when struggling in business, is to just get out there and do the work. Even if you don’t feel like it. Show your offerings on social media, meet people and talk about what you do and why you believe in it. Practice being kind to yourself and get a coach to weed out those beliefs lurking beneath the surface. It’s often on days when I’m feeling the most down, that I meet someone amazing who turns out to be a client or a partner in future. I’m often so lifted by those who believe in my work and in me more than I do. As entrepreneurs, it’s our job to just keep going, get ourselves out there and keep doing the work.
Kathy Mann is a writer and speaker, based in Johannesburg South Africa. She’s passionate about building a happy life, on purpose using the tools of positive psychology. Kathy guides people towards living their best life possible through what she has learned in becoming very sick from stress. Women often feel so stretched, trying to be everything to everyone. Kathy’s here to remind you that being true to yourself, connecting with your strengths and talents, is the best way to serve the world.