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How can I get over my self-limiting beliefs?

"I can't change my career, it's too late for me now"; "I can't do that (insert whatever your daydream job may be here), I wouldn't be any good at it"; "I can't go back to studying this late on in my life"; "I couldn't become XX, it would mean having to go right back to the start and re-train"...

I hear these statements on a weekly basis from clients, friends, family etc. The reality is these comments are not facts, they are personal (or self-limiting) beliefs. We regularly think about these possible changes or aspirations, but shut them down using these statements - in our personal dialogue in our minds, and out loud with others (which strengthens our belief in the statements). So how can you move on from these and even overcome them?

Something I work with clients on, who are holding themselves back due to these self-limiting beliefs, is rephrasing such comments. So, instead of saying, for example, "I can't change my career now, it's too late in the day for me", what happens when you re-frame this to "I could change my career at this stage in my life, if I wanted to". You can go a step further to say how it would make you feel. So, in this example "If I changed my career at this point in my life, I would feel (insert appropriate emotion here!)".

I told myself for several years I couldn't make a change to my career because I had reached a certain level and couldn't drop in salary; because I couldn't afford to retrain; because I may not be any good at it; because I would struggle to find clients as a career coach... When I began to think "I could if I wanted to" it forced me to work out how. When I thought about how it would make me feel (in my case gaining more freedom and flexibility, happy and excited to be doing something I have a true passion for, amongst many other positive things!), it spurred me on to really focus on a plan.

Of course, not every dream is possible. I will probably never be an olympic gymnast! There are of course also practical considerations - sometimes finances may stand in the way or particular qualifications may be incredibly hard and long to achieve. However, there is often a way to formulate a plan to get there in the long term - if you really want to. For me I requested a sabbatical from employed work, found a qualification I could do during my time off, payed for this in instalments and returned to my previous role on less hours, as I built up my coaching business. And guess what? I got clients and they gave me positive feedback - I could do this!

Through close consideration of whatever it is you have told yourself isn't possible, in this new perspective of "I could if I wanted to", often results in finding a way to get close to the dream - or a version of it. There is a chance this thinking may result in the realisation it isn't what you actually wanted (but in the process you may well find an alternative that suits you even better).

This is also a great exercise for day-to-day life, not just with big decisions like your career... That room in your house you want to paint a different colour, but you have never decorated before? You could if you wanted to... Finding an exercise routine/time for yourself, to fit your lifestyle? You could if you wanted to... Playing the piano/trumpet/drums (or any other instrument!)? You could if you wanted to!

I think you get the gist - give it a try and see what you accomplish.

If you would like some guidance and support on working out the career move you want to make, but just can't work out the "how", contact me on

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