By Debbie PetersonProfessional Speaker, Coach and Expert to fed-up midlife women seeking Confidence and Clarity of Identity and Purpose. 

I’ve got a little introspection going on right now. I’ve got a BIG birthday coming in August and I’ve just made the transition back to the North for the summer. Transition always makes me look inward. I look back and see all the different phases of my life and all the ways I’ve evolved. How some things changed and moved along so easy, like foods that I will or will not eat for instance, and other things with less ease, like beliefs about myself and my abilities.

When I was little my parents had this enormous garden, well at least it was enormous to me but that could have been because of my size. They started seeds under the grow lights in the basement, rototilled, planted, weeded, watered and staked up plants that needed support. They would pick and can their produce in endless sessions in the steamy basement and then carefully place it in the root cellar. Rows and rows of homegrown food… Can you imagine?  Oh – the love!

and I would shun it.

I wouldn’t eat any of it. Well, just the corn and carrots. Anything else, forget it.  Beans –not unless they’re jelly and only if they’re fruit not spice! Beets – no way! Brussel sprouts – only if you can catch me! 

What I wouldn’t give for the produce from that garden today because my tastes have changed, I’ve changed. As an adult every once in a while I will try a food again. Why not? If I still don’t like it then I just won’t eat it anymore. I found out that I love brussel sprouts, artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, and all kinds of beans. You can still keep the beets though.

Other ways that I’ve changed haven’t been as easy or deliberate, but it could have been. Here’s what I mean.

I had certain beliefs about myself as I grew up – what I believed I could do, what I believed I couldn’t do, and it certainly would have been much easier and much faster if I would have handled it like the vegetables. Just try it…and if it didn’t work out, then don’t do it again. But instead, it was “easier” to hold onto those beliefs (and not try) and label them as just part of “who I am”.  “I’m not good at math”, “It’s not easy for me to learn something new”, “I’m not good enough to…” just fill in the blank.

These are called limiting beliefs. They limit what you think about yourself, what you feel you are capable of; they limit how you go about living your life. You cling to them because they’ve been around so long they are just part of who you are. They are things you believe about yourself that happen “full-time”, they just are, they aren’t questioned – but they should be!

Where are limiting beliefs showing up in your life? What do you tell yourself that you can’t do, aren’t good at, it’s not for you? Take a piece of paper and write them down. Every.SingleOne.

Now, what I’d like you to do is go down the page and do this exercise with each one.

You see, once I was able to identify how this thinking would show up in my life, I was able to question it. I was able to expand the walls of that thinking (either by blowing a hole in it or chiseling an opening) and move into a whole new world of positive beliefs.

Here are 3 questions that you can use to loosen the walls of your limiting beliefs:

  1. Who says? Really, who is it that says you aren’t’ good enough or can’t do something? What expert has labeled you as such? Oh! I know, it’s the expert that lives inside your head – they stayed at the Holiday Inn last night, right? Where there is a will, there is a way. Just keep swimming!
  2. When is the last time you tried it? Just like the veggies, you have to try it again as an adult. You have to try it in a different way. Insanity is doing the same thing again and again expecting a different result, right? Mix it up. How can you go about it differently? Treat it as an experiment and the results are just feedback for you to make a different decision in the future.
  3. How can you learn? If it is something that is in your reality, then it’s for you. You just have to figure out how to get it. Who knows about this? What course can you take? What book can you read? Who is successful at this that you can model?

When you catch yourself with a limiting belief in your life, use the above questions and I’d love to hear how it shifts your thinking by leaving a comment below.

When you stop trying new things you miss out on a key element to building your Confidence – taking action! Just like the zucchini, sometimes you have to try it.

Be good to yourself,


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