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Right in the head: self-limiting beliefs in business

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The guest of the next episode of the "Maslow-ish" podcast from the creators of the NODE PR agency is a psychologist, gestalt therapist Olga Klimova. Together with the host Ksenia Zaikova they try to figure out how to overcome the barriers in our heads and stop being shy about expressing our opinions.

Startup Jedi

We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.

We talk a lot about communication to the external environment, but we hardly touch upon communication with ourselves. This is a big problem, because the things inside us are getting broadcast outside.


Barriers and their types

I’d like to start with entrepreneurship. An entrepreneur has certain traits that distinguish them from an ordinary employee: a lot of ambition, sociability, responsibility, willingness to take risks and everything that has to do with it. And it would be good if you could make a plan and stick to it. Unfortunately, this does not happen. Entrepreneurship is always about uncertainty and an entrepreneur must learn to withstand this uncertainty and navigate in it.

Hence, there are two types of limiting beliefs:

  • The first one is about entering entrepreneurship. These are beliefs that do not even let you get started and give it a try: “You shouldn’t stick your head out, just keep a low profile”, “Success is not for me.” A person may have a desire to create something of their own, but at the same time, such inner convictions do not even let them try.

  • The second type is “process” limiting beliefs. This is when you can get started and create, but some kind of limits appear along the way that you can’t go beyond. All limiting beliefs are about security. A simple example from childhood is “Do not touch an outlet, it will shock you.” Such convictions do not allow going beyond what is already there. You cannot take a large contract because you cannot cope with it. You shouldn’t trust people. It’s better to do everything yourself (that has to do with delegation of authority). You are ashamed to ask for big money, employees work only for a salary and nothing else interests them.


How to overcome limiting beliefs

How to overcome limiting beliefs

If it was easy to draw up a plan for starting a business, like this is the first step, then this is the second, we would all be millionaires already. But since there are difficulties that defy the mind, we have to work differently. And the most important thing in working out limiting beliefs is to notice them. It is not always easy to be flexible, to be able to cast doubt on your actions, to understand that you can do something differently. Therefore, to overcome beliefs, the most banal thing that can be advised is to go to a psychotherapist.

Learning to consciously notice your own limitations at a fast speed will not work. It is important to slow down, watch and listen. It is quite easy to do this with a gestalt therapist because you can clearly see where this failure occurs, where the person’s “blind” zone is.

You can start the same process with another person: your colleague, husband, partner. It is important to be flexible here so as not to deny everything: “Everything is right for me, I am doing everything right.” We must try to admit that such truth may not be easy to accept and can limit us in something. Try to work on discovering curiosity and interest inside, like saying “Oh, he does this differently, maybe I should try the same?” Otherwise, thousands of opportunities are cut off because of just one thought: “This does not work for me, I have a completely different sphere.”

The next step after “recognizing” the barrier is to “shake” your belief, your framework. When I stand close to the picture, I see a beautiful flower, I take a step back and there are many flowers, another step back and there’s a field of flowers. If you think in such a metaphor, it turns out that when you step away, you look through a broader lense. So it is worth shaking your inner world, doing something a little differently. For example, pause, and not answer immediately, add “please” instead of writing in your orderly manner.


The right to make mistakes

The right to make a mistake

If we are talking about limiting beliefs and the right to make mistakes, we need to ask ourselves “Do I have the right to be wrong?” The organizational structure of the company reflects how everything is arranged in the head of its boss. If a leader has a lot of restrictions, power, control, this will be their company, from the CEO to the ordinary manager. It turns out that there will be no room for error. That is why, entering the business, you need to explain to yourself that there will be failures and mistakes. Otherwise, when you try to avoid a mistake, all the energy is focused around this, while it would be more logical to direct it to developing ideas and making money.


Self-limiting beliefs of startup founders

Self-limiting beliefs of startup founders

Startupers are flexible, quick to react, they are a whole category of people who think in a completely different way, with very ambitious plans. Because everything has to be done very quickly, they often set unachievable growth goals. And this is also a kind of limiting belief “If I don’t grow in this format, everything is lost, I am frustrated, my needs are constantly not satisfied”. This is how burnout happens. Employees do not correspond to the level that the manager expects, the business may not take off, because at some point the founder cannot accept that they need to slow down and try to move in small steps. In this case, the founder can try to find people in the team who will “ground”, or understand and conduct research why rapid growth is so important for them. The world is rapidly changing now, there is a lot of information, the speed is great, and when you slow down, you start thinking “Why do I need this, is it really mine?”


How to accept failure and move on

How to accept failure and move on

There is a category of people in business who had a failed project they left, but some nasty feelings remained. And in the future they may flee from their previous failed experience. It is necessary to realize that each business is a different, new experience. It will always be scary, because where there is uncertainty, there is instability, and this, in turn, is insecurity that you have to run away from.

There is an experience that can grow into a belief. Belief is our own course of life when we draw some conclusions that we live with further. When the business went bankrupt you concluded you are a very average businessman and you continue to live with this belief and broadcast it to your surroundings, your children. And this is again about flexibility, you need to be able to say to yourself “Yes, I had such an experience, now I can foresee the mistakes and rely, for example, on experts.”

It’s scary in business and entrepreneurship, but it’s also curious, interesting and inspiring. If there is more curiosity than fear, you can move there.


How to deal with the fear of judgment

How to deal with the fear of judgment

Discussing When we discuss the fear of being judged, a huge topic opens up that is the impostor syndrome (The phenomenon when a person thinks that they do not deserve their success — Startup Jedi). And the feeling that accompanies this syndrome is shame. It’s embarrassing to assert yourself, it’s a shame to take what you deserve and claim that your product is worth something. There is only one way out. You should start to believe in yourself and realize that you already have the right to present yourself. These advice may sound primitive, but how many people live by these obvious rules?


In conclusion

Be flexible, less demanding of yourself, start with yourself, say thank you to yourself. Everything starts small, and if you understand and apply these simple things in life, then the more global ones will be easier to achieve.

19 Jan 2021


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