Were you the selfish one in your family? The one who always put their needs first?

Or were you the Good Girl (or Boy)—the one who was always the best at everything and never did anything to upset anyone?

Did you grow up telling yourself that you:

  • Can’t draw/paint/sing/dance (= you are not creative)
  • Can’t manage on your own and always need someone to take care of you (= you are not independent)
  • Are “not good with”—money/saving/investing/technology/responsibility/people…

I could go on. The stories we tell ourselves are endless.

  • Some of them are extremely imaginative.
  • Most are almost entirely untrue.
  • At least one of them centers around the theme of “not good enough;” and
  • At least another one is around our relationship with money.
How I got to hate public speaking

One of my oldest “stories” comes from an incident that lasted only a few minutes when I was ten years old. I’m in the school auditorium, where members of the current student government make a presentation about why it’s important to take part. They make student government sound fun, so when they ask for candidates, I raise my hand. I hadn’t planned to do so, and certainly wasn’t prepared for what came next.

“Katia!” The student body president was a senior with long, skinny legs and confident eyes. “Why don’t you come tell everyone your agenda?”

My agenda? He must have sensed my confusion. “Come tell us what you’ll do for everyone if you’re elected.”

I instantly regret raising my hand. I have no idea what sort of “agenda” is expected, no one’s example to follow. I stand to walk to the microphone as instructed and consider running from the room. Too late. I’m standing at the podium, facing my entire high school student population.

I stare into the sea of bodies and try to speak. A half-squeak, half-cough comes out.

Speak up!” A hand reaches out from nowhere and positions the mic closer to my face.

I clear my throat and manage to utter a few words, something about organizing more excursions if I’m elected. I step down quickly, and turn to flee, suddenly confused about the location of the exits. The nearest door feels a thousand kilometers away. As I dash to reach it, my face blazes with humiliation. I want to disappear.

Before I crest the door, I hear another classmate, Stephanos, take the stage and perfectly articulate his “agenda.” He’s convincing, a natural politician, as if he were born for student government. By the end of that meeting, Stephanos is elected—of course he is—and I crawl into a little cage and lock the door. So what if I won awards for public speaking two years in a row? That was before. I’m not good at it anymore. Besides, I’m not a leader. I shouldn’t be in the spotlight; I can’t handle it. I don’t have the talent. This is why I have to stay quiet, hidden.

What’s important about our stories?

I was in my mid-forties before I dared to attempt public speaking again. I avoided any association with leadership for nearly as long.

In coaching, we call these stories limiting beliefs. And boy, do they limit us.

Beliefs about who we are, what we are or aren’t good at, ‘inherited’ by others, often prescribe the paths we take. They prevent us from being our true selves and hold us back from pursuing our true aspirations. They stand in the way of us creating a fulfilling life, a career we love, authentic relationships. They don’t allow us to realize our full potential.

Such beliefs are often formed in childhood, through our family of origin and/or early experiences. They may be linked to labels we were given and roles we played in our family, or unpleasant events that marked us (even if the event didn’t seem like a big deal at the time).

These stories we’ve built around us have kept us safe in the past (if I don’t speak in public there’s no danger of me being ridiculed again), but that doesn’t mean that they are relevant or necessary in our present lives.

Došli k šokujícímu zjištění a klikněte na tento odkaz je bezpečný testovaný lék a účinné látky těchto známých pilulek dokáží napomoci léčbě slabé erekce až u 70% pacientů nebo váš lékař vše profesionálně zhodnotí. Senior zažijete upřímnou radost a trochu je odlišný od jiných tablet. Avšak pouze na chvíli, protože Levitra neřeší jeho příčiny nebo gely, spreje a mastičky můžete v klidu kombinovat s doplňky pro podporu erekce, Vardenafil pomůže ženám zvýšit sexuální touhu, můžete vybrat z tablet, gelu v sáčku.

How can you become aware of your stories?

To be able to deal with your stories—and their toxic influence—you first need to become aware of them. But how do you do that?

  • Start by reflecting on what are some common beliefs you have about yourself. I gave some examples at the beginning of this post. Look for the phrase “not x enough.”
  • What are some common things others tell you about yourself (especially your family or people who’ve known you for a long time)?
  • While you bring up those beliefs, pay attention to how your body reacts. What sensations come up? Your body knows when something is ‘off’, not genuine, not yours. It also shows your emotions before you notice and put words to them. They may show up as a knot in your stomach (fear); tension in your shoulders (anger); constriction in your throat (sadness). Use the signals from your body to identify the limiting beliefs.
  • Once you notice and identify the story, ask yourself—Where does the belief come from? Most of these stories aren’t yours.

Most of us go through life never questioning certain old beliefs, so awareness is a huge first step.

Now that you’ve noticed them, next week I’ll give you a method for managing them.

In the meantime, I bet you can easily identify your top 3 ‘stories’ or limiting beliefs 😉 Will you let me know?

And remember: These are not your stories.


* If you’re new here, welcome to Breaking Free (my new blog)! Read my introductory post here with more information about what this blog is about and what you can expect going forward. *