Paul was confused, a pained grimace spread across his face. What did his wife ask again? Oh yeah—where he might find work. He didn’t know. Face it. Most laid off workers like himself didn’t seem to have an inkling where to find those “magic” jobs he kept hearing about. Something about the hidden job market. “Well,” he asked himself, “If the jobs are hidden, then how can I find them?” Paul turned away from his wife, ashamed that he didn’t know. Ashamed he couldn’t take care of his family. Ashamed he was helpless and stuck.
He is deceived. We all are. Sometimes. We are artists of self-deception, afraid to look at reality and take full responsibility for our lives. Some of the language we use points out our limiting beliefs—beliefs that keep us from living the life we’re suppose to live.
Do any of the following sound familiar?
I don’t have time.
In other words, I’m too busy to (fill in the blank). I think I say this every day! Recently, my daughter asked me if I could cuddle in bed with her for a few minutes. I told her I didn’t have time. What I should have said was, “I want to cuddle with you. I should cuddle you. But I have a project I have to finish tonight. You see, this project is due in two days and I have much more to get done. It’s much more important than a five-minute cuddle. You understand, right?” Well, perhaps I shouldn’t have said that. Nevertheless, essentially that is what I was telling her, right? Saying that we don’t have time for something is a fallacy because it presupposes that time is something we can acquire and control. No! Time is the same for everyone. It doesn’t change. What does change are our priorities. Consequently, this limiting belief keeps us from taking full responsibility of how we use our time and whether or not we honor the people and things that are most important.
If I’m successful, then I’m happy.
Significance far outweighs success. Perhaps you’ve acquired a great deal of what this world deems success—a beautiful house, a housekeeper to go with that beautiful house, fancy restaurants, a well-known reputation. Good for you! But there comes a time in all of our lives when we look at ourselves critically and ask, “Is this what I’m here for?” We were designed with a purpose. Have you found yours? Are you living a life of significance and meaning? The limiting belief that success is everything will crush a person’s very own spirit and soul.
I don’t know how to (fill in the blank).
I come across this limiting belief often in my coaching work. Unfortunately, we use this language as an easy way out. Whether it’s a business owner who says, “I don’t know how to increase my sales” or an executive who states, “I don’t know what the boss wants” or a husband who claims, “I don’t know where to find a job,” the fact remains the same: We are responsible for finding out. So you don’t know. I get it. Recently, I’ve been facing this scenario myself. I don’t know what to do regarding a particular business decision. Yet it’s my job to find out. So I’m doing my research. I’m asking those wiser than myself. I’m praying and seeking God’s direction. But I refuse to stay stuck.
Limiting beliefs pervade our thoughts. We speak them everyday—to ourselves, to others. You can discover a wealth of information if you look behind these limiting beliefs. It’s not easy nor pretty. And while confronting ourselves with the truth takes strength and humility, in the end we can arise not as victims but as victors.