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Author's profile photo Jason Cao

Coach’s Corner – Self-Help That Prevents Self-Limiting Beliefs from Becoming Self-Fulfilling

Our thoughts are based on our beliefs, while at the same time these thoughts reaffirm what we believe in.

Some people ‘double-down’ on their commitments, and display courageous optimism in difficult economic and personal times. At the other end, other people doubt and question opportunities, even when these opportunities are in front of them. To me, what differentiates both parties are their beliefs, and how they manage their thoughts.


Photo by Mitchel Lensink on Unsplash

In a previous post, I shared how thoughts affect our mood and our actions, as well as some recommendations to manage our thoughts. Let’s focus on a few specific and common thoughts that are not only self-limiting but can also be self-fulfilling. I also hope a few reminders of pragmatic self-help actions you can make a difference in changing those beliefs and negative thoughts when they appear.

Self-limiting belief: “I’m not ready/qualified/prepared.”

Self-fulfilling result: I don’t apply for the job opportunity, and therefore, I don’t get the job.

Self-help: Self-coaching. Ask yourself these questions, and stay in the positive. 🙂 What outcome am I seeking? Where am I now in achieving this goal? What options and possibilities are there to help me get closer to my goal? How will I turn these options into action? What’s my first step, second step, etc.? How will I know when I’ve achieved my goal? [Self-coaching does have its limits, and I will share these in a future post.]


Self-limiting belief: “It’s not my job.”

Self-fulfilling result: My view and understanding of the world remains narrow. I’m busy drawing and protecting boundaries, and not learning and growing.

Self-help: Reflect on how you accepted and took on new responsibilities and projects, AND still maintained your desired work-life balance. Don’t mis-interpret “quiet quitting” [a recent practice adopted by younger workers in America to only work in the hours they are paid for, and not doing anything beyond their work hours and job description] as refusal to accept responsibilities and accountability. The more examples you can identify, the weaker this self-limiting belief becomes. This opens the door to more possibilities for understanding, collaboration and personal growth.


Self-limiting belief: “I’ll never get to the same level of professional accomplishment/status.”

Self-fulfilling result: I continue compare myself to others, chase their goals, and feel like I’m always behind.

Self-help: Define your own success based on your capabilities, rather than the success-measures or expectations of others. Striving to achieve more, and having role-models are good things. However, when we only focus on the achievements of others, we often miss the method by which these individuals achieved their success. The learning opportunity is not only in what others have, but more how they got there. Get curious, and find out how others achieved their goals. Then ask yourself: is this really how I define success? Am I willing to put in the same (or more) effort to achieve this?

The best way to change your thought process is to question your belief. The best way to change your belief is to ask yourself questions.

Check out more blog posts in this series: Coach’s Corner.

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      Author's profile photo Mary Park
      Mary Park

      Thank you Jason.  I found this invigorating. Defining your own success can be liberating and scary at the same time.  It can take you to places that you have not thought of for years or ideas you cannot remember ever coming to mind.  It does not need to be too late to define your own success, but give yourself permission to stop delaying it. Eventually we all run out of tomorrows.

      Author's profile photo Jason Cao
      Jason Cao
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks very much for your comment! So true, that there's no better time than now and today to take action. Procrastination is one of those bad habits that seems harmless, yet add up to become such a huge barrier over time.

      Author's profile photo Manfred Klein
      Manfred Klein

      Hi Jason Cao ,

      about Self-limiting belief: “I’ll never get to the same level of professional accomplishment/status.”

      Veeery dangerous.

      In my school there were two girls. One was very thin by her nature. The other wanted to be as thin by all means. She became bulimic and died with 40! True and sad story.

      What I wanted to say: It's okay to take some inspiration what others did or achieved but don't try to copy them! Every person has it's own set of rules by which the person's life works. Figuring out who you are is paramount. You can't just go there and be Elon Musk, Bill Gates or the next lottery winner. They are also just themselves. And if you would be able to have a look behind the scenes, perhaps you would see some catches you are not willing to accept.

      Kung Fu Panda himself said: I can't train You to be me, I have to train You to become You.

      Are financial and social success really the only criteria we should strife for? What good is the best job in the world if it doesn't make You happy? If You would have to betray yourself to do this job?

      Finding one's true calling isn't always easy. You are lucky if Your true calling even pays good.

      Sadly there is no one size fits all. Perhaps You need to find a good balance between Your calling and a well paid job.

      What doesn't end well however, is a job that tears You up.

      Saw a nice picture the other day: A piece of tangerine put into a garlic bulb. Not everywhere You fit is where You belong.

      Author's profile photo Jason Cao
      Jason Cao
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Manfred Klein,

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      The story of your schoolmate saddens me. Unfortunately, it happens too often, and it is much too easy to cross that line to the extreme in an effort to fit in, or meet expectations of others.

      I like your reminder of sage words from Master Panda. 🙂  You can be even greater than anyone else, if You don't limit yourself and be yourself. ❤

      Author's profile photo Roberto Vacca
      Roberto Vacca

      Hi Jason.


      You deeply have reason. People like you should stay inside every city  hall in Italy.


      Author's profile photo Jason Cao
      Jason Cao
      Blog Post Author

      Thank you Roberto Vacca ! You are too kind. 🙂