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Are your limiting beliefs sabotaging your personal growth?

It was Tony Robbins who said, “Our beliefs are like unquestioned commands, telling us how things are, what’s possible and impossible and what we can and can not do.” At Transform Performance, we focus on beliefs as the very foundation of how our clients’ people can become a better version of themselves. Beliefs are the beginning of the journey to self-improvement. But they are also the greatest barrier that many of us face to making real and lasting change to our performance and success, because your limiting beliefs can sabotage your personal growth.

Our Senior Learning and Development Consultant, Glen Butler, blogged about four ways leaders can change their beliefs to achieve high performance. It’s been one of our most popular blogs, so we know this is an ongoing issue for many.

Your beliefs drive your behaviours, and in turn these drive your outcomes.

Many personal development programmes focus on changing habits or behaviours and therefore miss the fundamental part of the process: a change will never be sustainable or long term if you don’t start with what your internal dialogue is telling you.

Generative language and the stories we tell ourselves

The phrase ‘generative language’ refers to the way in which we talk to ourselves and how the words we use, and the beliefs we have, generate our own reality. It’s this which sits at the heart of affirmations, gratitude, and those morning routines that so many high performing leaders use. Setting yourself up for success is critical – but your beliefs MUST match the story you are telling otherwise you will soon find your narrative hijacked.

In The Leader’s Secret Code, we share a series of Destination Beliefs and Journey Motivators. The Destination Beliefs are the beliefs shared by high performing leaders. The Journey Motivators, of which there are two for each belief, are the method of getting to the Destination Belief.

We don’t claim that all leaders must have the same beliefs or be motivated to achieve success in the same way. But we do argue that, to be a successful, high-performing leader, you need to recognise your version of the belief and your motivation. Unless you are honest with yourself about this, you can’t achieve sustainable improvements.

Our subconscious mind is powerful and fast. The key to changing what limits us is not reciting the right thing each morning, but genuinely believing we can be successful in achieving it.

Expand the realms of possibility

We love the example of Roger Bannister and his sub-four-minute mile to explain how the art of the possible can be changed. It’s a great illustration of a limiting belief sabotaging people’s growth: how the consensus was that it was not humanly possible to run a mile in under four minutes. After Bannister proved this wrong, it opened the floodgates for people to match his success.

The same is true in business. If you find an example of someone who has achieved what you aspire to, you will model their approach. This provides the motivation you need and experiencing small successes helps to build confidence that there can be a different outcome.

This is important: the way in which you develop your leadership skills must include the chance to experience success. Beliefs change when there is evidence of something new happening.

Then, the self-fulfilling prophecy can start. Sportspeople develop mental toughness by consistently practicing and training. They would not achieve success by sitting in a classroom and discussing how to be better. They get better by being better. They expand their realms of possibility.

At Transform Performance, we do this through the use of Real Play, something we’ve found to be the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating successful outcomes.

The law of attraction for personal growth

The ingredients for success are hopefully now becoming clearer.

Achieving the personal growth you aspire to is about bringing this together and putting in the hard yards in terms of modelling what you want until it becomes your reality. Positive thinking and the so-called ‘law of attraction’ will only take you so far.

Let’s consider the ultimate running race: the 100 metres final of the Olympic Games. Supposedly signalling the crowning of the ‘fastest person in the world’, this race has seen progressive improvements in speed since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896:

1896 – 12 seconds; 1900 – 11.93 seconds; 1908 – 11.76 seconds; 1912 – 10.6 seconds; 2012 – 9.6 seconds

Now, technology will have played a role when it comes to optimal footwear and clothing, but the sports world always includes mental training as well as physical for a reason: simply having the knowledge that this progression has taken place opens up the possibility of it continuing.

Six-step process for modelling what you want to achieve

When it comes to business, the trick is to ‘model’ what you want to achieve, and we share a six-step process for this in The Leader’s Secret Code. In summary:

  1. Find your ‘what’, ‘who’, and ‘wow’ (what qualities and skills do you want to emulate?)
  2. Watch ‘how’. (Observe your chosen model at work to find their ‘special something’.)
  3. Ask them for their insights. (What are they using, feeling, what matters etc.)
  4. Do. (Reflect on what you’ve learned and step into your model’s shoes. Emulate them and feel it!
  5. Evaluate. (Be present as you adopt behaviours and note what makes a difference for you.)
  6. Adopt and adapt. (Allow the modelling to become part of your identity, make it your own.)

In this blog we’ve galloped through a process that can take years to perfect. This journey of not allowing your limiting beliefs to sabotage your personal growth and the journey to high performance is very individual and relies on investment of time and other resources as well as having the right opportunities.

We’ve also considered a range of methods, some of which may feel less scientifically grounded than others. However, the truth it this: leadership and high performance are not black and white. There are many ways to achieve your best but those who get there display flexibility in thinking – perhaps by being willing to question their beliefs – and behaviour.

Can you do the same? You’d better believe it.

Interested in leadership development? Read about common leadership traps and the power of curiosity here. And why not give us a call and find out more about our leadership programmes? You can reach us via the contact page or call +44 (0) 1488 658686.

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