Turning limiting beliefs into growth opportunities

Do you label yourself for opportunity or limitation? How you can detect the labels that limit yourself and reframe them into opportunities

Do you label yourself for opportunity or limitation?

Our brains have a terrible desire to save energy.

We are in constant “energy saving” mode without even realising it. We categorise everything.

When we categorise things, we allow our subconscious mind to take over and process at lightening-speed. Things, people, emotions – they all fit into a category that carries a label that has some pre-processed data behind it.

In fact – we have accumulated that data throughout our lives and we are constantly adding more information and creating new categories.

There are many advantages to our “energy-saving mode”. Processing speed and saving us from harm are the most obvious.

Consider the potential danger of a sharp bend in the road ahead. We slow down without even thinking about it…

Or whether that is the label “jerk” when we meet a person that ticks certain boxes for behaviours of all the jerks that we have had the misfortune to deal with before.

Categorising saves energy and helps ensure our survival.

When our “jerk alert” kicks off during a networking event or party, we get the opportunity to exit the situation before we waste too much time with a person that is likely to wear our patience thin in an interminable conversation that we want to escape from minute one.

Categorising not only warns us of dangers and lets us respond automatically, making our reactions much faster, but it also frees up processing power for more complex thought processes and reflections. It allows us to focus on what matters to us and things that need our full attention.

It gives us the “gut feeling” or hunch that we have learned to trust because it’s usually right.

Sticking labels on people, situations, feelings, conditions or talents can have huge advantages, but it can also limit us.

Let’s explore some of the labels that we have created and see how we can use labels in a way that they create opportunities instead of limitations.

Labels that lead to limitation

Why mindset matters

At this point, I want to briefly mention the work of Prof. Carol Dweck and her book “Mindset”. In her book, she introduces the concepts of a “fixed” versus a “growth” mindset.

People with fixed mindsets believe that their talents and abilities are predetermined and cannot be changed. Whereas people with a growth mindset believe that their talents and abilities can be developed and improved through effort and learning.

Both kinds of people can be very successful but whereas the person with the fixed mindset takes failure personally and tends to blame circumstances rather than herself, the person with a growth mindset sees failure as an opportunity to learn and develop.

We can assign positive labels to ourselves and that can give us confidence and belief in ourselves.

If you label yourself to be a great accountant, eye surgeon, tennis player or coach – then you are aware of your talents, innate skills, and possibilities to excel in your field.

You act like the person you believe yourself to be. You do all the tasks that are required of a professional like you. You show up with confidence and focus because you know that you’ve got everything under control. That makes you successful.

However, you also find it hard to cope in situations when things go wrong. It is hard to blame yourself because you are the expert who knows how to do things right. People with a fixed mindset tend to blame the circumstances, other people, or conditions they find themselves in.

They are successful in their zone of genius, but they don’t reach their full potential because they are not so focused on growth and development - they prefer to stay in their lane.

Don’t get me wrong – the world needs people like that. The steady people who give us stability and can be relied upon. The people who move along steadily, develop in their field, preserve, and enhance their status and reputation as an expert.

And then there is the danger of giving yourself a negative label that limits you. Because the person with the fixed mindset believes herself to be talented in certain areas that she’s been successful in, she labels herself as not being able to excel in areas that she doesn’t believe to possess talent in.

Have you ever told yourself that you’re not a good writer, long-distance runner, or marketer? That you have no head for mathematics or are hopeless with computers?

Whenever your thoughts or sentences start with “I’m not…” you limit yourself. You deprive yourself of an opportunity to grow.

Instead of believing that there’s something wrong with you or that you are somehow inferior or defective – stop yourself and reframe that thought.

Maybe you are not a good writer, runner or marketer YET – but you can certainly be one if you put the effort in!

How you can grow to excel

“Yet” is the word that matters. It opens the doors to possibilities and opportunities. You acknowledge the fact that there’s something to learn in an area that matters to you and/or your business.

Isn’t that exciting?

By allowing yourself to grow and develop new skills (that might not be so easy to you or look complex and overwhelming), you are escaping the limitations you’ve set for yourself.

You are NOT creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that holds you back because you stay in your lane and do what’s expected of you. (Where’s the fun in that?)

Instead, you try out those things that you and others don’t expect of you. You learn those things that move you forward and work on being your best possible self. You are working towards achieving your full potential and exploring areas that let you progress and grow.

The great thing about that is – that you add a new perspective or angle to what you are already good at and a point of difference that your competitors might not have.

You are adding an angle through the transferable skills that you are learning. Even if you think that the new skills that you are learning have nothing to do with your core profession.

Owning dogs, for example, makes me a better writer and teacher. I get additional reflection time, can transfer the knowledge I gathered about behaviour and learning, learn to live more in the moment, stay fitter, experience unconditional love – and yes have a foot warmer and couch snuggles when I’m not feeling too well and need a mental boost…

The thing about subjectivity…

Often, we believe the things that we are telling ourselves to be true. I always believed that I am not good at selling or that I have no particular talents.

The truth is that this is absolutely not true. This is only your personal and very subjective perspective. Even the things that you believe to be a disadvantage can be an opportunity or gift.

It’s just a matter of reframing them.

All those labels like ADHD, Dyslexia, Asperger’s or being a Highly Sensitive Person (something I recently discovered to be true for me) make you special and give you certain “superpowers”.

People with ADHD often have an incredible ability to focus on something that really interests them. They can keep that focus a lot longer than others and they are very perceptive and sensitive in specific areas of their profession. And I know a few people with dyslexia who have amazing memories and mathematical skills.

What your label makes you think to be a limitation, can be an opportunity or gift when you reframe it.

What you believe to be true about yourself, often needs a reality check by an objective outsider. And that can open a world of opportunities and an inimitable point of difference to your brand.

Deconstructing labels into opportunities

Here’s something that I want you to try out. Next time a negative label holds you back, acknowledge it, reframe it, and use it as an incentive to grow.

Don’t let it be an excuse for not taking action!

Don’t let it hold you back because you fear change, failure, or judgement!

Don’t let it prevent you from exploring and stepping out of your comfort zone!

Turn the whole thing on its head and say “I’m not a writer YET, but I am working on it and every day I read and write, I am improving!”

And then behave like the person you aspire to be. Start acting like the writer (or whatever else you aspire to) you want to be, identify the actions that you need to take, and build the habits that make you a writer!

Create aspirational labels for yourself and then integrate them into your strategy. Plan the actions that lead you to be the person that you want to be.

What is it that you need to learn this year to move ahead in your business or personal life? And then take action and go ahead to buy yourself a book, sign up on an online course or get a coach!

Using labels to understand yourself better

Labels are actually an incredibly good starting point for exploration. They can help you to understand yourself better.

I like to ask myself a few questions when I encounter a new label:

  • What does this label mean to me?
  • What are the traits of this label?
  • What’s negative and what’s positive about this label?
  • Am I hiding behind my label?
  • What does this label prevent me from doing?
  • How can I reframe it?
  • How can I benefit from it?

By exploring your labels, you gain greater self-awareness and you can create a learning roadmap that supports your growth and your strategy.

You can identify all the skills that you need to learn to turn a label that limits you into an aspirational label that empowers you.


In case one of your labels is that you are not a great writer – then take a look at my content and copywriting membership.

I can assure you that writing is much more of a craft than an art and that everyone can learn it!

You can your first step to becoming a better writer by clicking on the image below!

Categories: : Mindset, Online Presence, Procrastination, self development, Strategy

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