My meditation teacher, Tara Brach, brought to my attention to the concept of limiting beliefs back in 2010 and shared a powerful meditation practice to pierce through it.
Limiting beliefs are deeply ingrained and arise from various sources such as personal experiences, societal conditioning, or cultural influences. They also extend into your working environment. These beliefs often create self-imposed barriers & restrict one’s ability to explore new possibilities or take necessary risks. These will hinder your career growth, your job satisfaction, and overall fulfilment.
I have shared a number of examples of limiting beliefs below. However, it should be noted, when you are within your comfort zone, perhaps none of these beliefs will raise their heads. But if you decide to move and work overseas, challenging work circumstances will arise (besides the usual language & cultural challenges). However, once out of your comfort zone, then some of these limiting beliefs will germinate & thrive on the fertile ground of doubt, your insecurities & past unpleasant personal experiences.
A few examples that affected me during my overall career included:
- “I’m not good enough”: This belief involved me feeling inadequate or unworthy in the workplace, leading to a lack of confidence and self-doubt. It felt it may have prevented me from pursuing promotions, taking on challenging projects, or showcasing my skills & talents.
- “Success requires sacrificing my well-being”: achieving success in my career required sacrificing personal well-being, such as work-life balance, health, or relationships. If not addressed, it could have led to chronic stress, burnout, and neglecting other important aspects of my life.
- “I have to please everyone”: This belief revolved around the need for approval and fear of disappointing others, resulting in people-pleasing behaviours, overcommitment, and difficulty setting boundaries, which can ultimately impact productivity and job satisfaction.
- “I’m trapped in my current job”: This belief made me feel powerlessness & feeling stuck in a job or career path that did not align with my passion or aspirations. It can prevent individuals from seeking new opportunities or exploring alternative career paths.
- “Mistakes are failures”: This belief associates making mistakes with personal failure and discourages taking risks or learning from setbacks. It can hinder innovation, creativity, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
Not all of these limiting beliefs were present at the same time. The limiting belief that “I’m not good enough” was an experience that i felt when i was a graduate consultant in Australia. The limiting belief that “Success required sacrificing my wellbeing” was 20 years later in my career when I was working in the UK. “Mistakes are failures” is a belief that I have noticed now taking hold based on the gentle accumulation of ‘failures’ during my 30 year working career. And Covid was the perfect situation when this belief began to thrive.
The ‘RAIN’ meditation practice (Recognise, Allow, Investigate & Non-identifying) is a powerful 4-step practice that cultivates awareness, investigation & self-compassion, to challenge and transform these beliefs. It’s approximately 30 minutes (once initially done) but will reduce in time with each session because you are so in-tuned with the physical sensations, thoughts & emotions that characterise this limiting belief when they arise in your practice. And once you become familiar with this belief (due to your practice), you naturally begin to have empathy & self-compassion for yourself. You see it as a protective mechanism that you had consciously (or unconsciously) used as a defensive strategy that now does not serve you.
By honestly examining your limiting beliefs (ie ‘naming the dragon’), you will open yourself up to new possibilities, greater fulfilment, and a more positive working experience.
Be guided by an experienced corporate meditation mentor on how you can work through your limiting beliefs pertaining to your current work circumstance.
Because I believe in you!