If you are unable to achieve something on your expat journey, it might just have to do with the way you're thinking.
17 April 2017| Last updated on 18 October 2017
When you move or live abroad, you face many challenges like adapting to the new way of living, new culture, creating your new professional identity, changing careers or even trying to find a new home.
Often when you face all those challenges, you will find many obstacles on your way, such as your own limiting beliefs. Sometimes you don't even realise that you have limiting beliefs and you can't understand why you are not achieving your professional or personal goals.
What is a limiting belief?
A limiting belief is a false belief that you can acquire as a result of making an incorrect conclusion about something in your life. For example, you can fail in a job interview and start thinking about yourself as a loser or not good enough for this kind of position, or any other position, and you can stop your job search.
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If you failed once, twice or more times, it doesn't mean that you are going to fail the next time. However, when you start creating those false beliefs, you can sabotage yourself and your success. You start procrastinating, do nothing, lying on the couch all day because you are not good enough.
How can you smash your own limiting beliefs?
Here you will find 3 simple steps to do so.
1. Identify your own limiting beliefs
First of all, start exploring your false beliefs. Listen to what are you saying to yourself every day. For example, every day you might be repeating to yourself:
- I am too old for that
- I don’t have the time for that
- I don’t have the experience for this job position
- I am not good enough for them
- I don’t speak fluent English or any other language
- I am too fat
- I can’t afford it
- It is not the right time to start a business
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You start to have all those negative thoughts when you are facing a change in your life and when you are particularly vulnerable.
Think about what is stopping you from achieving what you want? Write down all the limiting beliefs that come up to you.
2. Start asking yourself how true is this belief?
How true is it that you are not good enough or you are too old? What evidence do you have for that? How old is this evidence? Often the failures from your past can have a big impact on your current situation. Or maybe someone told you that you are not good enough and you bought into that thinking.
The truth is that we are constantly bombarded with lots of information about how we have to look, how we have to behave and what we have to do to be successful. That information creates a feeling of lack of confidence in yourself and you start thinking that you have to speak perfect German to get that job, you have to be good with the technology. Again ask yourself: How true is that? And what is the evidence?
3. Develop a positive thinking
Look at your limiting beliefs and think about what if the opposite were true? What do you want instead of this limiting belief? What actions can you take to change it? What can you do?
You can create the simple affirmations like I am more than enough for... I look great, I speak perfect, etc. Repeat them every morning, evening or when you are facing the challenging situations. Those affirmations will lift you up.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone and celebrate your failures. Read inspiring stories about people who overcame obstacles and succeeded in their lives. Visualise yourself succeeding in a job interview, finding a new perfect apartment in your host country or starting your dream business.
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There are many ways you can overcome your limiting beliefs and yes, it can take a little bit of time to do that. The first step is to acknowledge them and then starting to change them. At the end, the limiting beliefs are only your insecure thoughts about how you see yourself and you are in control of your thinking.
Take action and think positively. Be gentle with yourself and remember you can fail and fail but in the end, you will succeed. So go and get rid of those old limiting beliefs and enjoy your international experience wherever you live.
About the Author
Dominika Miernik is a Career, Intercultural and Expat Coach from Poland, who lived and worked in Italy and the UK. She is currently living in Rome. Dominika helps people who live and work abroad, those who are planning to move abroad or are coming back to the native country (repatriates) to create a career they want, find their own business idea or accelerate their international career. To find out more about Dominika, click here.