I was plagued by doubts and fears when I started my business as an older woman.

Here was my biggest fear: 

I would be judged and criticized if I was open and vulnerable.

Shooting videos was the worst. It meant putting myself out there….all my flaws and wrinkles. 

I had seen the incredible cruelty shown online by others. What if internet trolls attacked me?

So, why was I so scared?

The answer was simple: I grew up with an angry, cruel father. I knew how it felt to be terrified of his reactions.

So, angry father = internet trolls.

My head said: “You’re a grown ass woman now, and you can't be destroyed by anybody's cruel remarks and attacks. After all, your Father is dead now.” 

But my little kid inside knew this: “It’s not safe to be vulnerable to the criticism and judgement of others.”

This is a great example of a limiting belief…  

So, what is a limiting belief?

Here’s our simple definition:

A limiting belief is any thought or feeling that keeps you from getting what you want. Limiting beliefs hold you back or trip you up in some way.

Key Takeaway

A limiting belief is any thought or feeling that keeps you from getting what you want. Limiting beliefs hold you back or trip you up in some way.

Limiting beliefs ALWAYS go hand in hand with feelings. They either cause some kind of pain in your life right now, or they’re trying to keep you from feeling pain.

It’s the fear response in your brain and body that makes these suckers so hard to deal with.

Limiting Beliefs are hard to change because they’re (usually) subconscious

One reason it’s so hard to change limiting beliefs is because we’re usually not aware of them.

Now, you might be aware of how a limiting belief affects your body… how it keeps your stomach in knots and your shoulders up around your ears. 

Or how it affects your behavior…

You want to do something but you feel blocked and fearful. And, of course, these negative feelings keep you from doing what you need to do, and getting what you want.

But here’s the thing: 

You’re probably not aware of the exact belief that’s blocking you. 

That’s because limiting beliefs live at a subconscious level.

We’re often not even aware of “learning” them in the first place. Some limiting beliefs get formed at such a young age before we even have the ability to form conscious memories.

And they get stored in the deep levels of your brain, what we call the “Emotional Brain”. 

This makes it tricky, because the first step for getting rid of your limiting beliefs is to become aware of them.

That’s why we created this list of limiting beliefs.

How to use this list of limiting beliefs

These are the most common beliefs that we’ve seen in our work with entrepreneurs and small business owners. 

This list gives you plenty of examples of limiting beliefs. But it’s by no means an exhaustive list… 

There’s literally an infinite number of beliefs and variations of those beliefs that can hold people back.

We’ve broken down this list of limiting beliefs into different categories.

These are the most common categories or areas of life that people struggle with.

First, start with the Core Beliefs category. 

Negative Core Beliefs are the types of beliefs that hold people back the most. They have the most damaging consequences for someone’s success.

If you have a negative core belief about yourself or the world, it’s like having a problem with the foundation of your house.

If the core belief is big enough, it can cause your whole “house of success” to come crashing down.

First, read through the list of core beliefs and notice any that grab your attention.

Then, here’s a simple test to see if you have that limiting belief: 

Speak the belief out loud. Notice if you feel a reaction in your body anywhere. Or if it just feels true to you.

After you’ve finished the Core Beliefs section, go to the categories that feel relevant to your life and follow the same steps.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have a history of trauma, and you suspect that your limiting beliefs relate to a past traumatic event… 

Do Not try to dig around on your own. It can open up Pandora’s Box and cause you to re-experience the trauma. Please seek out the help of a counselor who specializes in trauma.

Core Beliefs

  • I’m too old / young / fat / skinny / short / tall / ugly.
  • I’m not good / smart / popular / connected / confident / talented / strong enough.
  • I’m too poor … I lack money and resources.
  • I can’t trust myself.
  • I’m powerless.
  • I can’t change.
  • I’m a mess, it’s hopeless.
  • Others are in my way.
  • I can’t start … I’m not ready.
  • I’m inherently unlovable / unlikeable.
  • I don’t have enough (time, money, energy, good luck, education, smarts, experience, etc.)
  • I’ll never be happy.
  • Change is too hard.
  • It’s better to not try than to fail.
  • I’ll never be successful.
  • Life is hard.
  • I have bad luck / I’m unlucky.
  • I don’t deserve nice things.
  • People won’t like the real me.
  • If people knew what I’m really like they would reject me.
  • I can’t be vulnerable… it’s dangerous.
  • I’m not important.
  • I can’t trust myself.
  • There's no point in dreaming big.
  • I can’t change.
  • I don’t deserve to have more than what I have.
  • I am a failure.
  • I’m better than others.
  • I can never get what I want.
  • I don’t deserve a better life.
  • Things just don’t work out for me.
  • I’m not to blame. It’s all my parents’ fault.
  • People ignore me / don’t respect me.
  • I don’t deserve to have what I want.
  • I’m broken / there’s something wrong with me.
  • I am not worthy of being loved.
  • The world is dangerous and cruel.

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Limiting Beliefs About Money and Abundance

  • I’ll never get my big break.
  • I’ll always be broke.
  • Rich people have all the advantages.
  • I will never be rich.
  • Rich people are bad, selfish people.
  • The rich get rich and the poor get poorer.
  • Getting rich is about being lucky/being in the right place at the right time.
  • I don’t want to be greedy. / Rich people are greedy.
  • Rich people are fake / have no morals.
  • Money is the root of all evil.
  • I never have enough money.
  • Everyone else gets all the good stuff.
  • My spouse/the government is after my money.
  • There is never enough to go around.
  • I have to protect what I’ve got because there just isn’t enough.
  • Money can’t come to me easily.
  • I have to work very hard to earn money.
  • Money doesn’t grow on trees.
  • You just can’t trust others with money.
  • I’m not good with money.
  • I’m not self-disciplined.
  • Taxes are evil.
  • I’ll never earn more than what I make right now.
  • As soon as I make it, I have to spend it!
  • You can’t trust someone who has a lot of money.
  • Money just doesn’t matter that much to me. I don’t need it!
  • I can never keep money.
  • Making lots of money requires sacrificing who I am.
  • I could earn more money if I had a better education.
  • I don’t have a head for business.
  • Only people who are good at business can be successful.
  • You need an MBA to be successful at business.
  • To be successful and wealthy, I’d have to “give it my all” and that’s more than I can do.
  • Making more money means I’ve gotta work really hard.
  • I hate working. / Work is drudgery.
  • There are people who need money a lot more than I do.
  • You need money to make money.
  • I can’t make money doing things that I love.
  • I grew up poor, so I can’t be wealthy.
  • Money is dirty.
  • Being successful/having money changes people.
  • I don’t deserve to have a lot of money.
  • Having money means sacrificing your integrity.
  • I just want to make enough money to get by.
  • I don’t need/want a lot of money.
  • Having a lot of money makes me a bad person.
  • Anything more than $________ is too much for me.
  • Dealing with/talking about money stresses me out.
  • Wanting more money is selfish / shallow.
  • I wouldn’t know what to do with a lot more money.
  • I can’t have a lot of money because there are poor people.
  • I already have a pretty good life, why do I need more?
  • I never have enough money, so I never will.
  • I’m not of the right race / gender / social or economic background to have money.
  • When I make more money, I spend more.
  • I can’t afford what I want.
  • I only need enough money to pay my bills.

Limiting Beliefs About Sales & Marketing

  • I hate marketing.
  • I’m not a salesperson.
  • Only extroverted people are good at sales/marketing.
  • People who sell things are dishonest and sleazy.
  • I hate/am bad at networking and meeting new people.
  • I’m afraid to ask for the money.
  • I’m terrified of getting rejected.
  • If they say no, it means they hate me.
  • Talking about money is uncomfortable / inappropriate.
  • If I follow up with people, it means I’m being too pushy.
  • I don’t know how to handle objections / they make me feel uneasy.
  • I don’t want to mess up this opportunity and ruin my reputation.
  • I have to know every answer to every possible question before I call them.
  • I don’t know enough about my industry to be good at sales.
  • I hate using the telephone to make sales calls.
  • I’m afraid of making a mistake and saying the wrong thing.
  • I’m afraid to ask the hard questions.
  • I feel pressure to sell to every person.
  • I need this person to buy from me, I really need to make the sale.

Limiting Beliefs About Work & Success

  • It’s impossible to make money in the arts.
  • I have to be a starving artist to maintain my integrity.
  • I don’t have enough experience / know enough to be successful
  • I’m bad at managing other people, it always turns out awful.
  • My teammates/employees don’t like me.
  • I can’t find/ afford the help I need.
  • I have no idea how to build a business.
  • I don’t like / am not good at working with other people.
  • I’m not a people person.
  • I don’t know the right people.
  • People don’t like me.
  • I don’t want to learn anything new.
  • I don’t like technology / I’m not good with technology.
  • Starting over is too hard/ too much work.
  • If I haven’t been successful by now, I never will be.
  • I’m too old to work hard.
  • I’m not that good at anything.
  • If I’m successful, my family/friends won’t like me.
  • It’s irresponsible / selfish to take a risk.
  • I hate what I do, but I’m stuck with it.
  • It’s too scary to try something new.
  • I’ll start tomorrow. I won’t procrastinate like I usually do.
  • There’s never enough time to do what I want.
  • I’m too busy to learn anything new.
  • I don’t like attention, so I’d rather just be a little bit successful.
  • If I get what I want, I might lose it

Limiting Beliefs About Family and Relationships

  • I expect others to hurt me.
  • My family will abandon me if I change.
  • Nice  men (or women) are impossible to find.
  • All the good ones are taken.
  • Letting others get close just leads to pain.
  • I need the approval of other people to feel worthy.
  • If I get too happy or too successful, I’ll sabotage myself.
  • Others’ needs are more important than mine.
  • I wasn’t born into the right kind of family.
  • I can’t be happy until this person changes.
  • I’ll be rejected if I’m honest.
  • I can’t take the risk of being judged or criticized. It would be too painful.
  • There’s no point in asking for what I want.
  • No one supports or encourages me.
  • I have to take care of everybody else first.
  • Getting my hopes up always leads to disappointment / heartbreak.
  • I will never find love.
  • I always get hurt / rejected / dumped / betrayed.
  • No one wants me.
  • You can’t trust anybody in a relationship.
  • My relationships never work out.
  • I just can’t make it on my own. I need someone to take care of me.
  • I’ll get hurt / rejected if I put myself out there.
  • If people really knew me they wouldn’t like me.
  • There just isn’t somebody out there for me.
  • I am not enough on my own.
  • I need someone to love me so I can feel worthy.
  • I need somebody else in my life to feel valuable / useful.
  • My family is always trying to hold me back.
  • I can’t betray my family by disagreeing with them.
  • I have to obey my parents no matter what.
  • I can’t stand up for myself...I have to put up with what I don’t like.
  • Other people will hate and reject me if I speak up for myself.
  • Love never works out for me.
  • I can’t take being rejected.
  • My opinion doesn’t matter.
  • No one appreciates me.
  • I am not worthy of being happy.
  • I always mess things up when things are going well.

Are we missing any? Leave us a comment with a limiting belief we forgot to include. 

If you read through this list and discover it doesn't have your specific belief. Leave us a comment below and we'll add it to this list.

Want some help getting rid of your limiting beliefs? 

Check out our Master Your Mindset training for entrepreneurs.

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