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Limiting beliefs: let's discuss our own

What is a limiting belief?

It's a thought you have about yourself that prevents you from being able to do something. 

How might it show up at work? Examples below.

  • We stop ourselves from asking questions or giving feedback, because of an underlying belief that we shouldn't be saying those things. 
  • We may see our identities as a certain type of person who does certain things but not others, and therefore, do not try to do things outside of that identity.
  • We may believe we have not been received well for past performances and don't ever engage in those types of performances again because we think that's not in our wheelhouse.

--Question for the discussion--

What is a limiting thought that you've had in the workplace?

It's been shown that our limiting thoughts may not be ones other people agree with or are even thoughts we future selves might agree with. If you're comfortable sharing, please let us know at least one limiting thought you've had and any context around it.


Limiting thought: I don't think I'm a great long-form communicator. 

Impact: as a result, I tend to push back project reports or avoid snapshots of insights I have along the way. What's not great is that my team misses out on lessons learned as well as an understanding of how my work might connect to theirs.

I'm working on it. It's not like I don't share anything. I just need to work really hard to bring myself to share out insights.

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My limiting thought is I'm too old to switch careers and learn how to code. I've seen friends do it. They have the personality for it. I do not.

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I relate, @Jenny Kim . Not to the wanting to learn how to code part, but to the fact that I have a huge chunk of friends who have had similar thoughts. And within that group, there are many who took the plunge and did learn to code, in turn, shifting their job focus. 

My understanding is that demand will only grow for these skillsets and you'll have as much knowledge as anyone younger than you who are also just at the beginning of the learning curve. Except, you'll also have all this other work experience that just might give you an edge.

And finally, even if you continue on the career trajectory you're on, I think learning to code can widen your way of thinking (your way of approaching problem solving, your capacity for empathy for roles that focus more on coding, etc). So even if you don't switch careers, and learning can help you out in the current role you're in.

Truly. I mean this. Good luck with whatever you choose to do next!

Limiting belief: Not having enough experience to contribute all my ideas especially around product development. 

Impact: I would not say that it has a huge impact. Some of my ideas around this just get lost / forgotten by me and are never shared. It's not the fact that my work environment is not open to ideas, I'm just a person they usually ask because I work in Marketing (although I still use the product and we're all kind of one team) and that makes it harder for me to gather up the confidence to share my ideas. 

I think this has more of an impact on me because every time this happens I feel guilty afterwards for not having shared my ideas. 

It's something I'm always working on and try to get out of my comfort zone to share it. 

Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this

I relate so hard to this, @Johanna Pichotka_APTIS_! Even though I think I've come a long way, I also know I still have a bit to go since the thought continues to peek its head from time to time.

  • My take - I too currently work in Marketing and default to assuming product teams would know best on feedback. But I've learned that divergent thinking informs the product development process, where someone who has different audience insights and engagements in mind will widen the range of ideas shared.
  • Consideration - I wonder if sharing this thought with your product development teams might lead to them letting you know what they think of your ideas. That might positively reinforce the behavior of sharing your ideas.

One counter is that I think this may actually have a bigger impact than you think. Besides the actual ideas not shared, there's a missed opportunity for connection with your product development teammates as well as an opportunity cost for adding to group energy by showing that you're invested and interested with your ideas. It may not feel like al to in the moment, besides the obvious emotional impact for you. But I think your sharing ideas also helps the team through relationship development and group motivation.

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I've never actually seen it like that. Thanks for giving me a new perspective on things @Christine P_ Dela Rosa . 

That missed opportunity for connection is something I hadn't thought of till now but it really got me thinking and sparked some new motivation to get out of my comfort zone to share my ideas again. 

I think something like this always takes time but I think this will help me take a step into the right direction. 

Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this

Limiting belief: It's rude to double down on my opinions at work. If I push back on an idea and the other person is resistant, I should accept what they're saying and trust their knowledge.

Impact: I've gone along with projects and ideas that I know aren't as fleshed out as they should be, and even had to redo work after leadership asks the same questions I did. 

Learning the difference between "this person is right and I clearly understand why" and "I'm not confident enough to stand up for my ideas" has been really difficult in my career path. It can be hard to trust your instincts when it seems like those around you are so much more experienced.

Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this

@Mel Policicchio, there's a decent amount of research on this limiting belief being gendered. Not saying that is the reason why you feel this way, but there is some socialization (at least in western spaces) that may contribute to your feeling this way. And if you think that's a factor for you, perhaps that can be a bonus reason to push back on the feeling. To undo what might be a product of societal expectations.

As for figuring out where the line is that you mention in your last paragraph, I have one more perspective to add. There may be an option where you don't necessarily agree with the feedback recipient but could let your thought go if you believe they understand your perspective enough. Because, sometimes decision-makers won't agree with folks even with full information. 

Finally, on a personal note, I think that it's hard to find active listeners in those soliciting feedback these days. As a result, it may take an extra round to fully translate one's thoughts enough to fully hit the recipient. I hope you trust your gut on what to's likely right :)

Like Mel Policicchio likes this

That is such lovely insight @Christine P_ Dela Rosa =) There really is so much to explore, unpack, and sort through here

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Andy Gladstone Community Leader Sep 19, 2022

Disclaimer: I have not yet read an other contributions so I won't be afraid to share my own in case it is redundant.


Limiting belief: I should know things. I have seniority, so I should understand more of the business, industry and concepts. Asking questions for clarification will reveal weakness.

Impact: I do know things, but not everything. I don't learn what I should because I don't ask the questions I should be asking to inform me more. As a result my conclusions and opinions are weaker and I capitulate more due to a lack of confidence in where my hypothesis and solutions come from.

It's difficult to come to terms with the fact that I may be a senior leader, but my knowledge and foundation is not as matured as my team members that may be more junior, but have tenure in the company and industry. It's hard to say 'I don't know' or 'I don't understand'. I don't know if the block is intellectual or emotional.

Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this

In the trust equation below (used by consultants and team coaches), the item I tend to gravitate towards the most is credibility. This is just my experience, but I think you have more credibility when you're honest about what you know and what you don't know. The latter is so much less common and I tend on distrusting my senior leaders when I see it.

So for you to say you don't know something, at least for me, is something that makes me think you're more credible, and in turn, more trustworthy.

@Andy Gladstone, hope that makes you more encouraged about saying you don't know something more often. Because it's something I wish I could see more often, especially from folks more senior than me.

trust quotient.png

Like Andy Gladstone likes this

Great topic @Christine P_ Dela Rosa 


Limiting belief: I can't lead things because I don't have the knowledge or skills to do so. It's a fear I have. 


Impact: I CAN lead things and have many, many times so I don't know why I always think this! The result is actually positive where I do a good job at it and get recognized, but it still happens. 


I get recognition for my contributions all the time. I am the first to step up to the plate to get a project going and then leading it through to the end. I do this all the time so I have no idea why I have this limiting belief! I do my best not to let it hinder me though. 

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I know you said you get recognition like this all the time, @Summer_Hogan, but reading your thoughts in this group alone makes me agree that you are thoughtful and knowledgeable. 

I'm no medically educated therapist, but I am curious if you feel that way only about "leading." Or, if you feel unknowledgeable in other roles that are in a supporting capacity as well. And if the former, if perhaps there are aspects of leading, and not the role itself, that might be at play. For example, is it the attention, or the interactions with certain people, or maybe the need to facilitate conversation in conflict...or maybe it's truly how you see your own identity and whether that aligns with leading folks?

Whatever the case, know that you appear engaged and helpful for folks in the Teamwork Lab. A true demonstration of leadership whether you realize you do that for others or not.

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Hi @Christine P_ Dela Rosa good topic, my

Limiting belief :- I am capable of doing things that I believe it won't go wrong but from somewhere I fear, it will go wrong. 

Impact:-  No much impact, I recover and say to myself, if it goes wrong it is a learning for me. 

vikram P

Like Christine P_ Dela Rosa likes this

Let's hope that fear is something only seen as fear and not a truth, @vikram. May you continue to have that learning-mentality about you :) 

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