Everyone’s heard about the concept of a glass ceiling that prevents more women from advancing to the highest levels of business and government. But consider for a moment that you may also have a personal glass ceiling – a limiting self-belief about what you’re capable of, preventing you from fully thriving.
Limiting self-beliefs are sneaky. Your first reaction may be, "I’m a leader. I totally believe in myself. Of course I’m not sabotaging my own advancement and happiness.”
But dig a bit deeper. Look a little more closely. When you do, you may tune into some pretty nasty thoughts you hold about yourself, your abilities and your possibilities. This is the stuff of your inner glass ceiling. And don’t underestimate it – it’s just as real and effective as any external glass ceiling. Possibly more so.
Limiting beliefs come in many varieties, but here are some examples:
- "When I get my hopes up, things always fall apart.”
- "If I don’t worry and work myself to the bone, I may lose everything I have.”
- "If I want something done right, I have to do it myself.”
Destroy limiting beliefs and you will help yourself blow past old, tired patterns. It will allow you to overcome obstacles, end bad habits, adopt new personality traits, gain confidence and lower stress.
It can take your leadership capabilities to an entirely new level, allowing you to achieve more than you even imagined and setting a new tone for everyone on your team.
So, do you want to shatter your inner glass ceiling to smithereens? Here are some steps to take:
1. You’ve got to want it. Your level of desire to change a limiting belief determines the ease and speed of transformation. Smokers who are told they have lung cancer often suddenly give it up overnight because they have a powerful, unstoppable desire for change.
2. Become aware of the defeating belief. Pay attention to your words. What do you tell others and yourself you cannot do? Listen to the excuses you give yourself for not doing things. Listen to your fears. See if you can zero in on a phrase that defines each fear.
3. Know the price you are paying. Reflect on the cost to you and others of not changing this belief. Consider how your personal limits may also be limiting your team.
4. Believe you can change your mind. Remind yourself this belief is only a concept and it can be altered.
5. See the structure of your defeating belief. Imagine a long wooden table with four legs supporting it. The tabletop represents the defeating belief and the legs represent the evidence and experience that created the belief. What legs are supporting your table?
6. Create a power belief. Intentionally create a power belief that will serve and support you. "Whenever I get my hopes up, things work out.” This becomes your new tabletop.
7. Live out your power belief. Deliberately and continuously look for evidence (new legs for the table) that supports your new power belief.
Your beliefs determine your destiny. They will determine your financial prosperity and the ease with which you receive it. They will determine how you leverage your leadership and the tone you set for your team. Align your beliefs with your aspirations. That’s how you thrive.
Views expressed in blogs, posts and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and corporate partners.