6 Steps to Change Your Self-Limiting Beliefs

UPDATED: October 26, 2017
PUBLISHED: August 22, 2017

One of the biggest threats to working effectively with others is being overly invested in your version of the truth. Have you ever judged a person or situation too quickly or acted prematurely, only to find out later that your original opinion was incomplete or incorrect? It happens to all of us. Because we’re human (and not all-knowing all of the time), our view of life can be limited. If we’re not careful, we might get stuck looking through a set of lenses that distort rather than sharpen reality.


The glasses we choose to wear each day are the paradigms or foundational beliefs through which we see ourselves and everything around us.


I learned that my own vision needed correcting in the second grade when I put on my first pair of glasses. I was shocked to find that the big green blobs around the trees in my neighborhood were full of individual leaves. Details that had gone unnoticed were suddenly visible (like the answers to the math problems on the chalkboard). My entire world took on a vibrant clarity and a new sense of possibility. Up until then, I had no idea what I was missing. Everything looked as it should. It took a new pair of glasses to see just how much I hadn’t noticed.

Related: Ask These Questions to Reframe Your Perspective on Life

The glasses we choose to wear each day are the paradigms or foundational beliefs through which we see ourselves and everything around us. And what we see informs what we think and feel, which has a direct impact on what we do and what we get. If we’re too invested in our point of view, we might miss seeing the true potential in ourselves or others, stunting our growth. We might shut down ideas before they have a chance to thrive, or miss an opportunity that’s right in front of us. Stephen R. Covey said, “If you want to make minor changes in your life, work on your behavior. If you want significant, quantum breakthroughs, work on your paradigms.”

Anything you want to improve—strengthening a relationship, advancing in your career, finding an innovative solution to a problem—requires that we first identify any limitations in the lenses we are currently wearing and swap them out for lenses that are more helpful. Try the following prescription to identify a limiting belief you might have so that you can wear glasses that work.

  1. Identify a challenging relationship or situation.
  2. List the reasons you think it’s not working.
  3. Identify which reasons are facts—things to which most people would objectively agree.
  4. Any remaining reasons are beliefs that might be incomplete or limiting.
  5. Ask yourself, Is there a different way of seeing the person or situation? Which beliefs—that I formerly saw as facts—might I change? What be the impact if I changed them and put on a new pair of glasses?
  6. Pick a new, more complete belief, and identify which actions you’ll take based on wearing glasses that work.

Related: 6 Mindset Shifts That Will Improve Your Life


This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

The content in this article is from Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work, releasing November 7 and authored by FranklinCovey’s Chief People Officer, Todd Davis. Pre-order the book at https://getbetterbook.com/ to receive a complimentary set of Get Better practice cards to improve your relationships. Davis is a keynote speaker at SUCCESS Live, September 8-9. To register, visit https://www.successliveevent.com/.

Todd Davis is the author of Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work. He is also a co-author of Talent Unleashed: 3 Leadership Conversations to Ignite the Unlimited Potential in People. Davis has over 30 years of experience in human resources, talent development, executive recruiting, sales, and marketing. He has been with FranklinCovey for over 20 years, and currently serves as chief people officer and executive vice president. He is responsible for FranklinCovey’s global talent development in over 40 offices reaching 160 countries. For over 25 years, Davis has delivered numerous keynote addresses and speeches at leading business, industry and association conferences. His topics include leadership, personal and interpersonal effectiveness, employee engagement, talent management, change management and building winning cultures. Davis has also served on HR.com’s Advisory Board for the Institute of Human Resources and is a member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).