How To Banish Your Limiting Beliefs

December 17, 2019

I’m Kim.
I’m an M.D.-turned-entrepreneur and I’m dedicated to helping you build your dream career + lifestyle. Welcome to my blog, where I write (and podcast) about wellness, business + success!
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Today I want to discuss a mindset piece that is a really critical foundation for becoming an entrepreneur, and building a business.

On this podcast, in the episodes to come, we’ll be talking about lots of specific marketing strategy…and I’ve got tons of content plans for you guys…but here’s the thing: you can learn all the business strategy in the world, but if your mindset isn’t right, it’s not going to work.

And one of the most foundational tasks is to banish your limiting beliefs.

In today’s podcast I’m going to talk about what limiting beliefs are, how to recognize them and banish them, and then we’re going to talk about 3 common limiting beliefs I see ALL the time…and how to deal with them. 

If you’d prefer to listen to this topic than read it…head over here to tune in:

My own limiting beliefs

When I was a kid, I had the belief that I was no good at math. Like many girls. You know, it’s out there. I believed that I, like most girls, was garbage at math, and so any career that would require math would be off the menu. Not an option. It’s also because I was very artistic in my younger years. Very into dancing and performing, singing, visual art…everything creative, I loved it. And to me, in my mind, that made sense. Artistic, creative girls weren’t good at math.

And then I reached high school. 

And in 9th grade I had a fabulous math teacher. A woman. And I remember she said to me, as I was struggling with a math concept very early on in the school term…you know the answer, Kim. I’ve seen it. Just stop for a second, take a breath. You are good at math, and you do know the answer.

And in my mind, for whatever reason, something shifted, and instead of resisting what she was saying…the usual way I would have responded…what she said caught me by surprise. She said I was good at math. And it served, I’m pretty sure now, as a pattern interrupt. I thought, hmm. What if I WAS good at math? What if I actually DO know the answer here?

And then I figured out the problem. It was amazing. And then, it snowballed from there. That year, I totally flourished in math…and it set me on a new path. A path that ultimately ended up in me going to med school. 

It’s funny because my mom actually tells the story of going to the first parent-teacher night, and before my math teacher could say anything, my mom started in almost apologizing, saying “okay, I know Kim is not strong in math, so I want to talk about how we can help her succeed…” and my math teacher looked totally confused and cut her off, saying “Um, Kim is one of the best students in my class. She’s doing great.” And my mom was at a total loss for words — which is seriously saying something, because my mother has NEVER been at a loss for words in her life.

So that’s what I’m talking about when I say “limiting beliefs”. When you believe something about yourself that, if you buy into it, will absolutely hold you back.  

Limiting beliefs are stories we tell ourselves.

They are things that we believe to be true, without really thinking about it. We assume it’s gospel, that it’s fact. But when we take an actual, conscious look at the belief…we see it for what it is: an untrue story that we have told ourselves that’s only functioning to hold us back. 

Now the trouble with limiting beliefs, of course, is that by  listening to them, accepting them as truth, and BELIEVING them…we are actually ensuring that they stay true. Basically, they have a tendency of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. And really what you’re doing is self-sabotaging your success.

Think about my math example that I just talked about. I believed I was garbage at math. Which means I had written it off. I wasn’t trying. I wasn’t opening my mind and trying to learn, or getting help, or asking questions, or doing the work…because I assumed it was pointless. And so, what happened is…I did poorly in math. Which only served to prove what I was believing! See? It’s true! It’s not until I was able to say…okay, was if I AM good at math? That changes everything. Then I started trying. Started working on figuring it out. Started paying closer attention in math class. And then I began to validate a different reality — that I WAS good at math. 

It’s not until we actually see it for what it is—a limiting belief—that we actually have a chance of rewriting that story, reprogramming our minds, and moving forward. 

So how do we deal with limiting beliefs?

Essentially, it’s a matter of tuning in, hearing our self-talk, hearing those stories we’re telling ourselves. That’s the first step. THEN it’s a matter of rewriting those stories. And how to rewrite the story? First, tap into your WHY. Keep that firmly in mind. 

But let’s get specific.

I’m going to talk about 3 of the most common limiting beliefs I see in people, especially women, and especially coaches.

Limiting Belief #1: “There’s no room for me”

Oh dear, this is a common one.

I was at a conference in NY recently and one of the speakers was talking about this phenomenon, and how it particularly seems to afflict women.

And I agree.

Wen tend to be all: oh, SHE’s already doing that. Oh. Rats. That means I can’t do it. The table is full.

Whereas I don’t believe men have this same problem (in general). A man walks up to a table that’s full, and he’s like “hey I’m joining you guys…let me just pull up a chair here, make a bit of room…”

The solution for this is to adopt an ABUNDANCE mindset.

Meaning, a mindset that believes that there is plenty of everything out there. Plenty of money, plenty of clients, plenty of opportunity. 

When you encounter someone doing something similar to what YOU want to do … if you notice yourself with the thought: Oh, I can’t do it now. I want you to flip the script. I want you to ask yourself a better quality question, like: what if I COULD do this too? What if there’s plenty of room at the table? 

And then work on HOW. Ask yourself “How might I be able to do this work, too?”

My personal belief system is based on abundance, meaning there are more than enough clients out there for everyone. If we’re talking about health coaching, there are SO many people out there who need coaching, could truly benefit from coaching, there’s no way one single health coach could serve all those people…so if you encounter someone who is doing something similar to what you’re doing, there is absolutely NO NEEED to feel discouraged by that. In fact you should feel encouraged, because it validates that there’s a market. 

Not to mention that there’s no way somebody else will do things exactly like you. Nobody else will have the same combination of your experience, background, philosophy, approach…all those things…which means there IS no competition. It’s impossible for there to be, because we’re not alike. 

So you need to create a much more empowering, positive belief statement…instead of saying “there’s no room for me” you need to begin training yourself to say “there are more than enough clients out there for everyone. There’s plenty of room for me, and it’s time for me to get out there in the world and spread my message.”

Okay, the 2nd limiting belief I hear a lot of the time is…

Limiting Belief #2: “I don’t know enough yet”

This is the “expert myth” or also known as “impostor syndrome”

What’s underneath this limiting belief is a bit of perfectionism and procrastination, all rolled into one.

And as I’m sure you know, there’s no shortage of courses and trainings that you could take to try to soothe your impostor syndrome, but at some point you need to recognize this for what it is: a limiting belief that’s blocking your forward progress.

Because the truth is, you don’t have to be an “expert” to help someone.

But this is a misconception that many people hold on to, and it’s keeping them from sharing their expertise with the very people who need it most. 

But I’m here to tell you that everyone, in every level of life and business can use the help of someone who has “been there and done that.” So even if you feel your experience is limited, you’re far ahead of someone who is just starting out.

And sometimes, the so-called experts, the people at the “top of their field” actually aren’t in the best position to help someone who is down in the trenches dealing with their issue. Someone at the top may be too far removed, they may have lost the perspective of what it’s like to be at the beginning…and so they will actually be less useful than a coach who has more recently experienced those beginning stages. It’s just something to consider, a reframe to think about. 

Not everyone needs or wants the coach who knows everything. Your dream client is the one who can benefit from your expertise, right now, just the way you are. So don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t know enough or have enough experience to be of value to someone else. 

I like to remind myself that even a kid in 2nd grade is an expert to a toddler. There is always someone working her way through where you were just a short time ago, and she’s the perfect client for you. 

The point is, just being a step or two ahead of someone means you are in a position to help them

People don’t want perfect…but they DO want someone who has gone before them, and can show them the way.

So if you observe yourself having this kind of limiting belief, I want you to use this solution.

First, connect with your WHY. 

If your goal is to help people who are going through the same struggle you went through a few years ago, which is a common situation for many health and wellness coaches, then you need to hang on to that WHY to help you move forward.

And then, ask yourself: What if I DID already know enough to help someone who is just a step or two behind me? What if I already AM enough?

And how does that feel? Really think about that. Really think about the value of not being miles ahead of someone, in an absolute expert role, but of being just a bit ahead of them on the journey. Ask yourself, what if THAT is actually what my ideal client needs—not the ultimate “expert” but just someone who has been there, not all that long ago, and really gets them. 

Okay, so the 3rd limiting belief I see a lot of the time is…

Limiting Belief #3: “I’m not good at that”

Common specifics that fall under this category: tech, sales, etc. Like: I’m not good at tech. I’m not good at sales.

And this is like my MATH limiting belief.

This is just a story you are telling yourself. It is not empirically true. 

Because I believe that all women can become “good at sales” as an example, let’s take that one. And I’m positive I’m going to do a whole separate podcast episode just on this topic, because it’s so juicy, and so universal…but you can DECIDE to become good at sales. That is absolutely within your power. But it starts with you making that DECISION. With you flipping the switch on that story.

It’s like Marie Forleo says: everything is figureoutable.

We live in this amazing age where so many things area available to us. There’s this great thing called Google and it answers absolutely any question you might have. And then there’s this other awesome thing called YouTube where you can be shown step-by-step how to do pretty much anything, from mastering a new fall eyeshadow to building a shed in your backyard, and seriously anything you can think of. And THEN, if you need more direct support than just watching and reading stuff, you can hire a coach!! lol. I mean, that’s how I live my life. If there’s something I want to do, or become good at, I go out and figure out who can help me with that, and I hire that person. But that can only happen because I deep down believe that it’s possible for me.

So that’s the work. Before you can change anything you need to change that limiting belief. What I want you to do is ask yourself: what if I WERE good at that? (That gets you imagining the possibility. Instead of remaining stuck in the story…you start imagining an alternate reality).

And then the follow-up question: HOW might I become good at that?

By asking yourself that very simple question, your brain flips into problem-solving mode. Let’s say it’s tech. Could you learn? Could you watch some YouTube videos about it? Could you take a course? Could you hire a coach? If it’s something you need to know how to do…and the not-knowing is standing in your way, then make it your business to figure it out, and become a person who KNOWS how to do it. 

I hope this has helped you, and given you some things to think about.

Your homework is just to start noticing your limiting beliefs. Start paying attention to the ways you’re holding yourself back by believing that you can’t….and instead, start stepping into the identity of someone who CAN.


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  1. Ni Ni Win says:

    “What if “I am good at that?”..wonderful advice! and I love how you break down what limiting beliefs are as well as how to break free. I enjoy how you mentioned thinking from an abundance perspective rather than being in an imposter syndrome mode. I have been procrastinating and aiming for perfection that it has done nothing productive. However, being mindful and wanting to break free has taught me to search for answers like what are my limiting beliefs and how to break from. I want to move forward with my mission and vision in contributing to health and wellness. Thank you Dr. Kim. I enjoyed your work and I find it helpful, useful, and easy to follow.

    • Kim Foster says:

      Thanks so much for this! I’m very happy you’re enjoying my content 🙂 Good for you for working on adopting an abundance perspective — it’s so important! Cheers -Kim

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