The Biggest Obstacle is YOU: Limiting Beliefs and How to Conquer Them

Often, we do not lend much thought to the mindsets and thought processes that shape and influence our experiences. Sometimes, it might take a major life shift – such as moving to a new country – to realize how much of what we experience is shaped by our culture and, ultimately, our beliefs.

What many people may not realize is how significantly our mindset, rather than any inherent talent or intelligence, affects our performance in our careers. Our limiting beliefs about ourselves and our capabilities majorly impact the people we choose to network with at conferences, the questions we dare to ask in meetings, and the jobs we decide to pursue.

In this article, we’ll break down some common limiting beliefs encountered in the workplace, questions to ask yourself to reframe them, and resources to explore for further growth, especially for newcomers who are focused on professional development in Canada.


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Common Limiting Beliefs

A limiting belief is any passive thought that prevents you from pursuing a cherished goal or finding solutions to a problem in your life. These beliefs, often ingrained from childhood or past experiences, shape how you view yourself and the world around you.

Here are just a few examples, but there are countless more:

“I’m always going to struggle with time management.”

“I’m too introverted to network effectively.”

“I’m just not cut out for leadership.”

“I’m too old/too young to advance in my career.”

“I’m not good at learning new languages.”

These beliefs may not have originated from within you, but perhaps from a teacher, parent, or mentor. While these individuals may have had good intentions, trying to protect you from discomfort or embarrassment, it’s important to recognize their impact on your self-perception.

A very common limiting belief is “I’m not good enough,” which can stem from early criticism or a lack of validation. This belief leads to self-doubt and prevents individuals from pursuing opportunities that could lead to success. Another prevalent limiting belief is “I don’t have enough time.” This often results from poor time management skills or a perception that one’s responsibilities are insurmountable, leading to procrastination and missed opportunities.

Reframing Questions

Reframing questions can be a powerful tool to challenge and overcome limiting beliefs. Here are some examples:

What do you want?

First, identify exactly what you want to achieve. What is your purpose? Visualize an ideal day in your life to generate excitement about your potential future.

What obstacles or problems are currently holding you back?

Are there specific limiting beliefs, experiences, or situations that prevent you from pursuing your goals?

What evidence supports this limiting belief?

Can you pinpoint a particular incident that contributed to this belief? By identifying the source, you can develop self-compassion and grant yourself permission to adopt a different belief.

Can you recall any instances where you defied or challenged this belief?

Reflect on moments when you disproved your limiting belief, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

How might focusing on your strengths, skills, and potential shift your perspective on this belief?

By emphasizing your positive attributes and growth potential, you can start to see yourself and your capabilities in a new light.

Here are a few common limiting beliefs and the questions we can ask ourselves to get past them:

  • Limiting Belief: “I’m not good enough.”
    • Reframing Question: “What evidence do I have that supports my capabilities and achievements?”
    • Follow-up: “How can I use my past successes to build confidence in my abilities?”
  • Limiting Belief: “I don’t have enough time.”
    • Reframing Question: “What are my top priorities, and how can I allocate my time more effectively to focus on them?”
    • Follow-up: “What small steps can I take today to start managing my time better?”
  • Limiting Belief: “I will never be wealthy.”
    • Reframing Question: “What steps can I take to improve my financial situation, even if they are small?”
    • Follow-up: “Who can I learn from or seek advice from to develop better financial habits?”
  • Limiting Belief: “I always fail.”
    • Reframing Question: “What have I learned from my past failures that can help me succeed in the future?”
    • Follow-up: “What steps can I take to increase my chances of success next time?”

Recommended Resources

Carol Dweck and Jim Kwik have both written insightful books on these topics, which will be linked below. If you have limited time, consider exploring the following YouTube videos:


“How to Overcome Your limiting Beliefs | Jim Kwik on UNSTOPPABLE”:

“Carol Dweck on Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset” by RSA Shorts:


Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck


Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life by Jim Kwik




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