The first of two posts about finding your voice; you can read the second part here.
I’d completed my Diploma in Life Coaching and done over 50 hours of successful coaching. I was building a website and considering which social media channel to try out. It should all have been going smoothly but I was afraid to put anything out there, like a blog or a Facebook post. I knew I had useful skills and knowledge to share but I felt like it was locked up behind a wall of self doubt. I worked with a life coach to explore where that fear came from and I discovered that it had it’s origins from when I first went to school. I felt different from the other children and whenever we played or talked I was laughed at and bullied. The child me learned it wasn’t safe to be myself; I either had to pretend to fit in or keep my mouth shut. The five year old me opted to keep my mouth shut and 32 years later I was still holding onto the belief that it was dangerous to be open about myself, despite being generally confident.
A belief learned when I was five was influencing my decisions as an adult and keeping me hidden.
When it comes to expressing yourself the main obstacles to having a voice in the world exist inside you, as limiting beliefs you’ve learned in life that you may not be aware of. It may take a deep dive to get to the heart of it but why is it important to do this inner work and is it worth the effort?
Having done it myself I believe it’s vital. Here’s why:
- Whether you’re aware of them or not beliefs from the past are influencing how you make decisions now.
- No matter how much effort you pour into moving forward those beliefs will sabotage your progress again and again.
- Beliefs learned in the past may have worked then but they’re not working for you now; both you and your life have changed so you need to learn new beliefs that work for you now.
- When a crisis hits like a job loss or even a change you want like a career change those beliefs will come out of the woodwork to bite you on the bum!
- When you’re dragging around outdated beliefs about who you are and what you’re capable of it’s like wading through mud; you’re making some progress but it’s so hard. Wouldn’t it be easier to clear away the mud so you’re paddling through water instead?
- If you’re an empath you probably want to help fix other people’s problems but you need to explore your own internal obstacles before you can help other people to work on theirs.
So what can you do to figure out what old, limiting beliefs are holding you back? Here are some things to try:
- Look for patterns: You know when you seem to keep doing things like starting blogs you never post on so you end up kicking yourself for falling into the same pattern again? Things like that can indicate that limiting beliefs are influencing the decisions you make
- Be curious: What could these recurring patterns be telling you about yourself? Maybe that you believe you can’t post anything until you’re an expert, or that you’re not worth listening to. These are limiting beliefs because they both cause you to feel stuck in a situation that you want to get out of.
- Trace the source: What situation or person does the limiting belief remind you of? Maybe it’s a common attitude in your family; maybe you picked it up from a teacher when you were a child; or maybe it’s based on experience over time.
- Find the value: At some point in the past the limiting belief served a useful purpose and it’s useful to understand what that was then ask is it still helpful now? For example when I learned to keep quiet at primary school it gave the bullies less material so I felt safer. Is it helpful now? No, if I do the same thing now I won’t be able to coach, run my business or live how I want to live. You can find out more about figuring out why you’re holding onto an old belief here.
- Reality check: What belief more accurately reflects who you are and what you want now? You’re not the same person as when you picked up that old belief so reflect on what the reality is now. Look at the evidence of change and growth to show yourself that things have changed and that the old belief simply isn’t realistic any more.
- Get the right support: When I was exploring my own limiting beliefs I found things moved more smoothly when I got a Life Coach. No surprise, I’m a Life Coach recommending Life Coaching! It did really help me though as I had someone outside my situation guiding me through a challenging process and safely out the other side, so do consider getting a coach, counsellor or experienced mentor to work with.
Next week I’ll be sharing practical tips on how to start getting comfortable with expressing yourself in the outside world to help you to make a space to speak, write or share on or offline.
You can find the second of this two part series here: How to get your voice out there: Part 2
If you’re ready to discover what’s holding you back check out my page on one to one coaching where you can book a free 15 minute consultation.