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The Transforming Power of Belief (Marta Loyd On Life & Leading)

Marta Loyd On Life & Leading
3 min read

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Have you ever passed up an opportunity because you believed you weren’t qualified or because you feared failure? What might be different today if you had seized the opportunity and believed you could learn and grow from the experience?

We embrace either a fixed or growth mindset when it comes to our beliefs about our intelligence and abilities, according to Stanford Professor Carol Dweck. A fixed mindset is based on a belief that our abilities are set in stone, which can cause us to continuously try to prove ourselves, avoid challenges and fear failure. Conversely, a growth mindset is based on the belief that our qualities can grow with time and effort, which has been proven through neuroscience research. People with a growth mindset tend to be more resilient and achieve greater success and fulfillment in their personal and professional lives.

Dweck says, “Why seek out the tried and true instead of experiences that will stretch you? The power of stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times of their lives.”

Self-limiting beliefs often contribute to a fixed mindset. These are negative self-perceptions in our conscious and subconscious rooted in past experiences, values and beliefs of our family and friends, and messages from social media. A few common examples of self-limiting beliefs are: “I don’t have enough experience,” “I might do it wrong,” or “I don’t have enough time.”

With thoughtful effort, every self-limiting belief can be transformed into an empowering belief, allowing us to move to a growth mindset. We might say: “I don’t have enough experience YET,” “If I make a mistake, I will learn and grow,” or “I have enough time to do the things that are most important.”

Once you identify a self-limiting belief, reflect on how it is getting in your way. What opportunities did you say no to? What negative emotions did this cause you to feel and exhibit in your daily interactions? How did your negative emotions affect others? What was the true cost of your self-limiting belief to you and those you care about?

Now consider the source and validity of your self-limiting belief. Was it a seemingly innocuous comment from your past, a commonly held belief of your family or social circle, or the perception of a past experience? Is it based on fact or is it merely conjecture? Getting to the source and validity of the belief is key to eliminating it. Try asking yourself what could happen if this weren’t true. What might be possible if you didn’t hold this belief about yourself?

As an executive coach, I help clients explore the influence of mindset as a part of creating awareness. Once awareness surfaces, the leader can move toward clarity about what motivates choices and decisions. New options naturally emerge and the leader can then choose growth aligned with their values.

I challenge you, reader, to be mindful in recognizing self-limiting beliefs as they arise and to notice how these beliefs cause you to have a fixed mindset. Likewise, I challenge you to celebrate the positive outcomes you notice when you are able to hold an empowering belief and a growth mindset. Stretch yourself to go beyond the tried and true and adopt a growth mindset to see positive changes in your life.


Marta Loydis an executive coach and chairs executive peer advisory boards through Vistage Worldwide. Email her at mloyd@mmlexecutivecoaching.com.
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