“Reality is created by the mind. We can change our reality by changing our mind.”— Plato
Several years ago, a client gifted me with a four-day leadership intensive that changed my life. It was there that I was first introduced to the term false belief. At the time I didn’t know what it meant and was almost certain that most of what would be shared about it would be over my head. Ironically, the self-limiting assumption I made at that moment was just that, a false belief.
As I sat in a room with the dozen other entrepreneurs attending the program, I began sizing each and every one of them up. How could I stand out? How could I prove that I belonged there? How could I impress the instructor and my peers? Feeling incredibly intimidated by my surroundings, because of the false beliefs I had convinced myself of, I decided my best defense was a strong offense. I puffed up, spoke up, and looked everyone straight in the eye as I shook their hands. Little did I know, everyone in that room would soon be able to see through my act.
One of the greatest takeaways from that training was learning how to identify the self-limiting narratives we construct. I realized that I was the one who had convinced myself that I wasn’t as groomed or capable as everyone else in that training. It was a prime example of the little lies we tell ourselves. The stories that we have repeated in our heads so many times we aren’t even sure how or when they got there. My mom used to call them little voices and I remember her saying “Megsy, tell those little voices to back off.”
I now know I’m not the only one who battles with false beliefs and pessamistic little voices in my head. I also know that once we learn to identify these falsehoods we can begin to change them. For me, this isn’t a one and done sort of process. I have to constantly be in check of what is real and what my false beliefs try to convince me is real. Below is a list of my top offenders, which although very personal, I share in hopes it will help you know you’re not alone in this fight.
- “You aren’t qualified because you don’t have a college degree.”
- “Trust someone else’s opinion first, you always screw things like this up.”
- “The people you want in your life will eventually abandon you”
- “You are wasting your time, nobody cares what you think.”
- “Nobody will pay more than x amount, you aren’t worth it.”
- “You aren’t attractive or photogenic.”
To be honest, the list goes on. False beliefs show up in many different forms and at all different times. They not only run dizzying circles in your brain, but they often make their way into things you say. I recall watching my mom put on makeup when I was a little girl. I was mesmerized by the process, the products, and her. The other thing I vividly remember is her glancing at herself in the mirror when she was finished and saying “Welp, I think that’s as good as it’s gonna get!” She was beautiful. She was strong, intuitive, and everything I’ve ever wanted to be as a mother and a wife. Yet, even she battled false beliefs about herself and reaffirmed them every time she made that statement in the mirror.
As a mother of two beautiful daughters, I think about that memory of my mother quite a bit. I have even caught myself saying that same phrase out loud while looking in the mirror. It’s wild what the mind will latch onto and decide to keep. It’s up to us to recognize and dismiss these “little voices” when they sneak up and try to stop us from reaching our goals.
There are many things that I dream of doing and perhaps many of them won’t come to fruition. However, I won’t let it be because I limited myself by believing I can’t accomplish them because of a false belief. I’m determined to get out of my own way and never be the reason I didn’t try.
If you’re interested in learning more about false and self-limiting beliefs, I highly recommend this book. It is an easy read and will truly open your eyes to the power of your mind. ” Beyond Belief: Awaken Potential, Focus Leadership” John Grinnell