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Leadership and Limiting Beliefs

Leadership and Limiting Beliefs

Last weekend, I had a coaching discovery session with a prospective client

Typically, a discovery session is usually where a client can get an experience of coaching, as well as determine whether 

He was the CFO of a mid-sized organization, but covid had brought in uncertainty and forced him to think about his future

We started the discussion, by exploring what did he really want 

“I want to grow in my career. I want to be the CFO of a larger organization” he said

“You want to move out of your current organization ?” I probed

“Yes. My next level should be the CEO here, but I cannot become the CEO here” He said

I asked “Hmm. Why is that the case?”

“Well, we are an engineering company. Only an engineer can become a CEO here” he said

“So I want to move out” he continued ”Also, as a CFO, I will always have the CEO on top”

This was our first discussion, but I observed a few things:

His own limiting belief ( “Only engineers can be CEOs” )

He wanted to remain in his comfort zone ( Remaining in the CFO role )

Deep down, he probably had some fear..

Maybe fear of failure? ( Safe to be a CFO with CEO on top )

Another limiting belief perhaps ? ( “If I try something new, I will fail” )

I continued exploring this further

At one point, without making eye contact, he said “I don’t think I am CEO material”

Then he went silent

Here was a senior business leader, fairly successful and yet, doubting his self-worth and capabilities

This did not allow him to show up powerfully and position himself for the top role

And this is not uncommon….

Over a period of time and with our experiences, we develop a set of beliefs

Beliefs about the world, about people around us and about our own selves

Some of these beliefs are limiting beliefs, which hold us back, with limit our growth

These beliefs also create self-doubt and negative self-talk such as :

“ I can’t do this”

“I don’t have time”

“I am not worthy”

“No one loves me”

Beliefs drive our thoughts and emotions, our actions and eventually, the results we get

In a way, limiting beliefs means limited results, limited potential

The challenge is that in most cases, we are NOT aware of our own limiting beliefs

We don’t know how they are impacting us

This lack of self-awareness also means that you don’t know how to overcome them

And even if you know, sometimes, you get too attached to your own limitations

You live with them

So here’s a simple exercise for you :

  1. Write down your core beliefs around 2 main areas of your life – personal and professional. For example, you can start the statement 

“When it comes to leadership, I believe that……….”

“When it comes to relationships, I believe that……” etc etc


  1. Now write down some of your beliefs about yourself, starting with 

“I am OR I am not……..”

“I can OR I cannot……”


  1. Now in a corresponding column, write down what behavior you display to live up to your beliefs e.g. 

Belief - Hard work brings success

Behaviior – I work atleast 12 hours a day


Belief – I believe that my success is linked to the success of my teams

Behavior – I have regular 1-1 conversations with my team members


This is just a first level exercise, but even when you do this, it will create a heightened level of self-awareness, which is always a good starting point


PS : Whenever you are ready to push yourself outside your comfort zone and create new possibilities in life, 

you can book a short exploratory call here ( Book Your Call )


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