Back to ArticlesThe Top 3 Self-Limiting Beliefs of Entrepreneurs (and how to overcome them) Have you ever felt like you want to accomplish something, but there’s something holding you back? If you’ve ever experienced these limiting beliefs, you’re normal! As entrepreneurs, there are a million and one things going through our minds every day – the good, the bad, and the ugly. But here’s the bottom line: limiting beliefs are always going to hold you and I back, UNLESS we see them for what they are, address them, and blast through them. Let’s talk about the top three limiting beliefs of entrepreneurs (or soon-to-be entrepreneurs) and how to easily overcome them. One common belief goes something like: “I don’t have ________” “I don’t have the money, I don’t have the time, I don’t have the team, I don’t have the connections.” Let me tell you, as an entrepreneur, you will never have everything you need, but you will always have enough. The “I don’t have’s” will always be there, so your job instead is to focus on what you do have and to execute on that. The “I don’t have’s” will always be there, so your job instead is to focus on what you do have and to execute on that. A great example is Gillian Zoe Segal, author of the massively successful book Getting There: A Book of Mentors. Getting There tells the stories of 30 of the world’s top entrepreneurs, with all of their successes and failures and the lessons they learned. How was Segal able to secure interviews with all of these impressive, and extremely busy people? Was she already connected to these people? No. Was she a well-known celebrity? No. She just made it happen. She knew what she didn’t have, which was a mentor. She knew what she didn’t want, which was to continue the path that she was on as a lawyer. And she knew what she did have, which was determination and grit. So she went all in and made the connections happen. She did everything she could to find her way past the gatekeepers that prevented her from getting interviews with these people, simply be being strategic and persistent. Anybody could have done what Segal did if they possessed the same determination. And the result of her determination was that she found not one, but thirty mentors, and she published an amazing book that I highly recommend for everyone. And that leads me to self-limiting belief number two, which is: “I’m just a _____” We often define what we can’t do based on what we’re already doing because we feel limited to that, like that’s the destiny that was chosen for us and we’re stuck with it. One of the subjects interviewed in Getting There is Sara Blakely, the founder of the apparel company Spanx. Blakely had planned on becoming a lawyer but couldn’t pass the admissions test, so she ended up working at Walt Disney World and eventually as a door to door fax machine salesperson. Blakely sold fax machines for years, and her outfit for that job involved wearing pantyhose. And she liked how they looked overall, but disliked the way the foot of the pantyhose looked with her open-toed shoes. So one day she had the wild idea to cut off the feet of her pantyhose to achieve the look she wanted. This turned out how she hoped, and Blakely realized she might be onto something. She spent a couple years and $5000 of her own savings developing her idea, but still had a lot to overcome before she could take it to market. When she didn’t want to pay the huge fees to have a patent created, Blakely purchased a legal textbook and wrote her own patent. When she was rejected by almost every representative she pitched her idea to, she kept going, until finally she found a manufacturer willing to support her. Fast forward to today and Spanx is a huge success and Blakely has been named by Time magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world. Blakely was technically ‘just a fax machine salesperson’, but she had an idea and she believed in it and now she’s recognized as one of the most influential female entrepreneurs on the planet. Finally, the third self-limiting belief is: “I’m not a _____” or “I’m not good at _____” So many people say “I’m not good with money” or “I’m not a salesperson” or “I’m no good on camera” and it goes on and on. The excuses are endless. You know what you do when you’re not good at something? Option one is not to do it. If it absolutely needs to be done, find someone else who can do it and focus on what you’re good at. If you can’t afford help or you need to do whatever it is yourself, then your only option is to learn how. And there’s no better example of this than Warren Buffett, also a subject in Getting There. Buffett is the most successful and beloved investor of our time. He will be forever remembered as an icon in the business world, but very few people know that Buffett once had a severe disadvantage that almost prevented him from finding success. He used to be terribly afraid of public speaking. He would get so nervous he could hardly say his own name. Buffett dreamed of being accepted to Harvard to make his father proud. When it came time for his admissions interview, he rode a train for more than ten hours, only to be rejected and sent home almost immediately upon arrival. With his goal crushed, he knew he needed to make a change, so he enrolled for a Dale Carnegie public speaking course and paid with cash so he’d have to attend. He faced his fear head on and eventually became a masterful public speaker, who is well-known for his thoughtful interviews and public addresses to shareholders. He credits that public speaking course for giving him to the courage to propose to his wife, which he holds as the single most important decision of his life. Imagine if he had have just said, “I’m no good at public speaking” and resigned to never improve. Sure, he might have used his business skills to make a great living, but would he be a worldwide icon whose legacy will live on for decades, maybe even centuries? Of course not. These are just three examples of people who faced their self-limiting beliefs head on and turned them instead into self-enabling beliefs. If you’re not good at something, find someone who is, or become good at it yourself. If you’re in a position that you no longer want to be in, find a new position for yourself. If you don’t have connections, make connections. If you don’t have money, secure an investment or be smart and frugal and make sacrifices in the early stages of your business. There are always going to be a million reasons why you can’t do something, but they will never be more important than the reasons why you can. Focus on those reasons. Life is too short to be held down by self-limiting beliefs.