How I’m Trying to Overcome my Limiting Beliefs
I’ve just arrived back in London after spending the past week in Florida, attending Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery event. It was my first experience of Tony live and it was an incredible experience.
Firstly, Tony is literally the best public speaker I’ve ever seen. I thought Brendon Burchard was good, but seeing Tony Robbins, at the age of 63, captivate an audience for 6-8 hours non-stop each day was something else.
Secondly, I’ve taken reams and reams of notes, and I’m going to sit down and digest and distill all of them to figure out what are the key action items I’m going to take away from the event. Because of course, learning without action is simply entertainment.
And thirdly, the one thing I wanted to share in this email is a 4-step method for dealing with limiting beliefs. I’ll share the method and then I’ll share a limiting belief that I’ve busted based on it – the example may not be relevant to you, but you can apply the method to anything.
Take the belief that might be limiting you.
Step 1 – Ask yourself: is it really true? Like, is it really true? Have you really got incontrovertible evidence to support this? Could there be no other way of interpreting the data other than the belief? (Usually at this point, you’ll concede: “okay, I mean, it’s not 100% true without a shadow of a doubt but…”)
Step 2 – How does this belief make you feel? What thoughts or behaviours does it lead to?
Step 3 – Imagine a world in which this belief didn’t exist in your mind. You’ve never even entertained the thought of the belief. How do you feel in this situation? What thoughts or behaviours does this new state lead to?
Step 4 – Consider the opposite of the belief. Come up with 3 reasons why the opposite is true.
^ I’m sure I’m butchering the actual method here but this is my best recollection of what we were taught during the event, and I’ve already found it helpful in busting a few of my own limiting beliefs. Here’s an example:
Limiting Belief: “If I were to grow my business (in terms of impact and profits) I’d end up having a lifestyle that I don’t actually enjoy, where I’d be busy and stressed and miserable. Therefore, I should limit the growth of my business to retain the chill lifestyle I’ve got”.
Step 1: Is this really true? Have I truly, actually, considered all reasonable evidence and arrived at this conclusion? Is it really true that the bigger a business gets (in terms of impact, revenue and profit), the more the lifestyle of the owner suffers as a result?
Answer: Well, no. I imagine it could be true, if the owner were also the operator of the business and trying to do everything themselves. But if the owner does sensible things, builds a system, and hires the right people around them (including probably a CEO / General Manager to actually run the day-to-day of the business), the owner’s lifestyle could very well be improved by the growth of the business, not to mention the additional impact the business would have.
There are plenty of examples of entrepreneurs (many of whom I know personally or have interviewed on my podcast) who love having a bigger business. Yes it’s probably not quite as “chill” as a smaller business, but is “chill” really what we’re optimising for? Is a “chill” lifestyle really correlated with fulfilment and meaning? Generally not – from personal experience (and a lot of reading and talking to people), meaning and fulfilment often comes from working towards goals we find meaningful and challenging. Of course, while maintaining the important areas of our life, like health and relationships. So the belief that “growth of the business will necessarily result in a decrease in my enjoyment of life” is probably *not *true, now that I really stop to question it.
Step 2: How does this belief make me feel? How does it impact my thoughts and my behaviours?”
Answer: It makes me feel… uncertain. There’s part of me that wants to grow the business, to reach more people, have more impact, and yes of course, make more money. But there’s another part that’s holding me back from dreaming bigger because it’s worried about having to work harder, or on having to do things we don’t enjoy. As a result, whenever it comes to thinking about the business, I feel uncertain, like I’m being pulled in these two different directions. The belief that “growing the business will make me enjoy my life less” also encourages me to sabotage attempts at growth or innovation within our company – the ‘growth’ part of me, and in fairness, most of my team too, want us to grow to impact more people. But we’re held back by the thought that “Ali wants a chill lifestyle for himself”, which isn’t actually doing us, or our audience, any favours. And we’ve already established that a “chill lifestyle” is unlikely to lead to meaning and fulfilment itself.
Step 3: Imagine this belief never existed. In this world, I’ve never once had cause to think that business growth necessitates lifestyle decline. What would change about my feelings, thoughts and actions in this world?
Answer: A lot. I’d be way more ambitious for one. I’d dream bigger about the impact we could have as a team, as a business. I’d want us to grow – and the way a business grows is by adding more value. I’d find more interesting and creative ways to add value to our audience to the best of mine and my team’s ability. I’d actively seek out ways to do more of that too, to grow the business, to make our content better, to connect more with the audience and find out what their struggles are so that I could do what I love, which is to learn and synthesise, apply the insights to my own life, and share them with others. As a result, our business would be way more likely to grow, because it wouldn’t be held back by this false belief of mine. We’d add way more value to our audience and customers as a result, and we’d make way more money as a side effect of that added value.
Step 4: Write down the opposite belief, with 3 reasons why it’s true.
Answer: The opposite belief is “the more my business grows, the more my enjoyment, lifestyle and fulfilment will grow with it”.
1. As I mentioned, there are plenty of people I know who attest to that idea.
2. I’ve noticed it in myself too – I enjoy my life and get more fulfilment out of my business now than I did when the business was significantly smaller.
3. If growing a business was actively unhelpful for the life of the owner, business owners would be unlikely to continue to be so obsessed with growth. Therefore, there’s probably something to the idea that growth = fulfilment. This is a common part of the human experience as well.
Caveat to everything I’ve just written: Obviously, none of this is gospel truth. Obviously there are lots of nuances here. The reason I’m sharing this isn’t to say: “Hey I was wrong and now I’m right about this”. I’m sharing this because I’ve realised that I’d unquestioningly held the belief that “business growth equals lifestyle decline”, which is an actively disempowering belief that leads to uncertainty and anxiety on my part.
By following the 4-step process to systematically question the belief and realise that there’s another way of seeing things (there always is), I can choose a more empowering belief to adopt.
It’s 11pm on Sunday and I’m terribly sleep-deprived so I’ll leave this there. This email is also now over 1,300 words (lol) so apologies again for the long-winded nature of things. But as I like to do with this email, I like to share stuff while it’s raw and fresh, in the hope that you’ll find something about the raw-and-fresh nature of it useful or interesting in a way that’s different to seeing the same thing spelled out in a highly-produced YouTube video.
Lots more learnings from the event, but I’ll save those for another time – or maybe for a video. In the meantime, I hope you got some value from this email, and if it helps even 1 person to question a limiting belief that’s been holding you back, I think it’ll have been worth it.
Have a great week!
🎬 My New Videos
🧠 How To Remember Everything You Learn – I’m sure we’ve all had that feeling of learning something new but then being unable to recall that same piece of information just a few weeks later. In this video, I want to go through a few practical strategies that I’ve come across that I’ve found really helpful in overcoming this issue.
✍️ Quote of the Week
“Remember that a clear “No” can be more graceful than a vague or noncommittal “Yes”.”