Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Limiting Belief Quagmire

Hi it’s Dave,

Greetings from Ilfracombe and welcome to the Under Blue Skies blog

I hope that you are creating a great life for yourself and that you are finding some of the tips contained in these posts useful in that process.  One of the things that people sometimes speak about is that they get stuck in a Limiting Belief process and so here is a post that may help reduce the effect of those pesky things. Welcome to

The Limiting Belief Quagmire

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Limiting Beliefs are like a quagmire. They suck you in – but they don't spit you out. The more you struggle the more you're stuck. Limiting beliefs can quite literally sap you of energy.

It's often the small inconsequential ones that do most harm. The throw-away lines that you endlessly repeat in your head – these are the ones that leave you exhausted.

How do you work with a client's limiting beliefs?

Firstly, help your client notice them by listening acutely to their language. What kinds of assumptions and judgements is your client often making? What kind of commentary are they running in their heads?

Once you've started to notice them, then take time to verbalise and challenge. For example a client, let's call him Jack, was berating his boss for ignoring him that morning. "He obviously doesn’t like me," was the conclusion. As a result of this Jack felt anxious during the day wondering what he'd done wrong.

When a client makes such a sweeping assumption, it's time to get out the ABC guide.

ABC stands for the three simple steps in this model:-

A = Activating Event
B = Belief about the Event
C = Consequence

With Jack’s example the following had happened

Activating Event – His boss hadn't returned a 'good morning' greeting.

Belief about the event – Jack worries that he's done something wrong and assumes that his boss no longer likes him.

Consequence – Jack spends the whole day worrying about it and in return this has a negative impact on his work.

So you can see that this is all brought about by the limiting belief that Jack holds.

Clients often believe that the 'activating event' is the cause of their distress. In Jack's case he blamed his boss. If his boss had said good morning back then he wouldn't have become anxious.

The trouble with this kind of thinking is that the problem is always ‘out there.' Feelings of powerlessness and helplessness add to the client's distress.

Tremendous shifts can be made when you show them that it is not the Activating Event that causes the distress but that it is their Belief about the event that has such power.

The beauty of this is that clients often have the wonderful ‘aha’ moment when the penny drops. Rather than being powerless, they now hold the power. This is where the coaching begins.

Change the belief and you change the consequence

The role of the coach is to challenge and help the client to examine the belief. The belief is not based in reality, it is completely made up.

In Jack's case his 'belief' led him to think that his boss didn’t like him.

This and other beliefs are things that the client can change and such a change is completely within their power. Ask the client to start coming up with some alternative options for the belief.

Here is a selection of examples -

Maybe the boss didn’t hear him say good morning.

Maybe the boss has got other things on his mind.

Maybe the boss isn’t great at social interactions.

Maybe the boss had a row with his wife when he left home.

Maybe the boss thought Jack was talking to someone else.

Considering these examples Jack in now in a position to look at a range of  new possibilities

As soon as Jack realises that he could have responded in other ways, things open up. He can see his ‘Belief’ is just a belief and not a fact. Once the power returns to Jack he realises that the Consequence is entirely based on his ‘Belief’.

In other words a different Belief would have resulted in a different Consequence. Jack can then choose a different belief that opens up other possibilities. For example

A – The boss doesn’t respond to Jack's 'good morning'
B – Jack thinks, 'I wonder if he’s got other things on his mind'
C – Jack decides to go to see the boss to 'check he's ok'.

By switching his belief about the incident to a more supportive belief,  Jack finds that the there are many more options available to him.

So to summarise

Using the ABC guide is a quick way to address limiting beliefs and it is a great way to show a client how a ‘belief’ can be limiting or empowering. In my own work clients have found it very easy to follow and to understand.

The ABC guide is a great way to stop limiting beliefs from festering.

Limiting beliefs are like chains that keep us trapped. They often spill into our language without us even knowing. Take a look at this list and see how many you’re harbouring.

Limiting Beliefs

I have come across a large number of limiting beliefs during my time as a coach and believe me there are thousands of them out there.  So here is a list that I have compiled of the top 30.

Some of them are take from my own list limiting belief whilst some of them are from the clients that I have coached over the years. Do you recognise any of them as forming part of your own limiting belief system?

Limiting Beliefs 1-10

All people are out for themselves
I’m hopeless in social situations
When I talk people get bored
You have to trample your way to the top
All people are untrustworthy
Everyone is out to rip you off
I cannot change – it’s in my blood/family
I will never succeed
I always attract the wrong people
I always get it wrong

Limiting Beliefs 11-20

I’m a fraud at work
I am responsible for how other people feel
I am worthless
I am unlucky
I have no confidence
People wouldn’t like me if they really knew who I was
I must do everything perfectly (as opposed to “I want to pursue excellence”
If I don’t achieve X there’s no point in starting
I’m no good at ….
I’m helpless to change things

Limiting Beliefs 21-30

No one would be attracted to me
There’s no point in trying
It will never work
Why does this always happen to me
Things won’t last (only about good things)
This will never end (only about bad things)
My husband/wife should make me happy
This is a man’s world
Work is biased towards women
I must be happy all of the time
Moving forward

I hope that this brief snapshot on the subject of Limiting Beliefs proves to be a valuable tool that you too can use in your daily life.

So as we reach the end of this week’s post I would like to thank you sincerely for taking the time to read the words.  I hope that you will find them useful as you move forwards in your daily life.

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About Dave I am a coach; speaker; radio presenter and founder of The Blue Sky Company.  I am also a therapist and co-own a virtual light centre called The Crystal Spring.  My therapy work includes music therapy; reiki; crystal therapy


The Fearless Life Guide is a new book written by teacher and practitioner M. J Robertson is available to buy via Amazon and clicking on the cover photo below provides a link to the page.  Molly is an amazing person and I am sure that you will also find her work of great interest.

And whilst on the subject of books, sbown below is the cover image plus a link to my first book of inspirational phrases “Inspirations”

Have a fantastic day, live a life of Passion and Power.

And above all

Don't Predict The Future - CREATE IT!

DAve x

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