Overcoming Self-limiting Beliefs: A Personal Reflection
I want you to think back to the last time you envisioned a goal, personal or professional. One that ignited a spark of excitement — of possibility.
Regardless of what they were, remember that tiny shred of doubt that accompanied that excitement? That familiar whisper of uncertainty, halting your actions to an immediate “no”? We've all been there—it's a scenario that resonates with the best of us. Raw untapped potential but held back by doubt. Psychologists call this imposing “self-limiting beliefs”.
Throughout our lives, we've unwittingly confined ourselves within the boundaries set by these self-limiting beliefs. Each time they manifest, they extinguish, in us, that spark of potential, before it is truly allowed to ignite.
But what if we were to confront these beliefs head-on, challenge them, and rewrite our own narrative? My friend and colleague Tushar, has one such instance that many in our own lives can relate to and perhaps learn from.
When Tushar, joined Propel, as a BA intern in 2021, he was new and hesitant about the tasks that lay ahead, but headstrong in his abilities to overcome them.
Although with a background in Commerce, and an interest in business, he convinced himself he was only partly familiar with numbers. A fear and unclarity in skillset, which initially weighed him down, but ultimately proved redeemable.
When he was first offered a choice to take on a complex project for a leading accounting firm, he felt hesitant, underestimating his abilities to handle accounting problems. That familiar pang of uncertainty and doubt crept in, and he decided to pass on the opportunity.
It wasn’t until a year and a half later that his journey came full circle, when he was offered the same choice to take up the accounting project, but this time he had grown comfortable and confident in his own abilities.
All self-limiting beliefs often boil down to a simple yet elusive question: Why do we tell ourselves “we can't" before even attempting?
Through careful introspection, he realized the source of his hesitations: the uncertainty that came with new tasks was an impediment enough to avoid them.
Once he identified that internal barrier, Tushar started taking small steps to challenge the preconceived belief that he wasn’t adept with numbers.
With the guidance of his mentor and the support of his team, he embraced the training process, and to his surprise, he was quick and adept at completing all 18 modules in just 5 days– the earliest in his team.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.”
- Henry Ford
By questioning his self-limiting beliefs, and choosing to address his problem areas, Tushar began dismantling these self-imposed barriers, masked as 'realistic' assessments of our abilities.
Today, he’s working on a project for one of the top leading accounting firms, as the only BA on the team, taking on new responsibilities, and discovering new personal growth.
Tushar's journey reminds us that only through challenging these beliefs, and our pre-conceived notions that things are hard, can we bring out our inner talents that might have remained, otherwise, concealed forever.