There’s a secret to changing your limiting beliefs. They are there because you wanted them at one point but they no longer serve you. Take the first step now to uncouple them from your auto response programming.
John: The important thing about a limiting belief is figuring out where it came from and what its purpose is. This week, I’m joined in the studio by our resident belief-buster, Liz O’Brien. Liz works with all the artists that we work with about this idea of limiting beliefs because we have them. And the limiting beliefs that we have stop us, slow us. What else do they do?
Liz: They tend to get in the way. They derail you. They sabotage you. They’re often a thing where you begin to do something and then along the way, you realize that you’ve lost interest in it, or you’ve lost momentum in some way, or fear and anxiety and doubts come up. And it’s usually our beliefs that stop us achieving what we want powerful…
John: Or starting.
Liz: Or even starting, yes.
John. Yeah. So the thing that I love about Liz’s work with us is that she helps us identify the limiting belief. You have to figure out what it is.
Liz: Yup. Although you don’t have to pick at it like a scab, but you do need to be able to identify what that belief is, because what we look at doing is creating beliefs that are gonna be more supportive to you. So, you have to kind of work out what the negative, the unhelpful belief is, even if it used to be useful. If it’s no longer serving you, then you want to be able to identify that and then create new beliefs that are helpful, supportive.
John: Great. So then in this hot tip, what we wanna do is to take that first part that says, “It was once useful.”
John: So one of the beliefs that artists have…a limiting belief, negative belief that a lot of artists have that we work with, is to say, “You can’t make money in your arts practice,” and that’s a belief that they have. So what do you mean when you say that was once useful?
Liz: Well, the reason it might’ve been useful is that it could’ve stemmed from the belief that as you’re starting to create your own work, you’re making work that is specific for you, and that might not have wide appeal. And that’s part of being an individual, that’s a part of finding your own voice, your own style, your own expression. And often what goes with that is the sense, therefore, that if people do want it, then maybe I’m not being true to my expression, my creative expression, and so it’s a sellout. And therefore, if it’s real art, nobody else gets it, and therefore I’m not gonna be able to make a living out of it.
John: Oh, juicy, right [SP]. So the key with working with Liz, the way that she works with belief is to understand that you’ve got this thing, name it, but then figure out that it was useful. It was really helpful. You didn’t adopt this belief because it was negative. You don’t adopt negative beliefs.
Liz: Although you might have a negative belief that was a response to some very powerful experience. You know, maybe somebody you really admired or loved said to you, “Yeah. Look, nice try, but you’re hopeless. You know, you’re never gonna make a go of that.” And that could have such a strong emotional impact on you that you buy into the belief. So it could happen that way too. But the point is, understanding that either it isn’t true or it’s not helpful to you, they’re the pieces that you need to start to unpack.
John: Right, but even that, even the person that said, “You know, you’re not very good,” they did it from a place of wanting you to succeed and they didn’t want you to get hurt. So in their opinion, your art wasn’t good enough. So they wanted to save you the pain of disappointment.
Liz: Yes, or they might’ve been worried that it’s a big, bad world out there and, you know, if they had the belief artists can’t make a living out of it, then they think, you’re right, that they’re going to save you all the struggle of finding that out for yourself. So they’d say, “You know, look, it’s nice but…look, you know, you won’t get anywhere with it. Go and get a real job.”
John: Right. So we adopt that belief…
Liz: Yeah, we take it on.
John: …which is inappropriate because that’s their belief. It’s not your belief, but you adopted their belief trying to help you. I mean, it’s a very weird little circle, isn’t it?
Liz: Yes, I know. And in the end, it becomes your belief, and that’s why it’s so hard to tease out initially because it becomes true for you. Even if you resisted, if there’s a little niggling thing about, “Oh, maybe they’re right,” then that becomes true for you.
John: Okay. So your work this week is to see where there’s a limiting belief operating, name it, and see what purpose it once served, and that’s the beginning. The next process is very involved and very…you know, it’s much more complicated. You need to book a session with Liz, you need to, you know, use therapy. There’s other kinds of ways, but your job before you do any kind of a process is to name it and figure out the purpose that it once served.
Liz: And can I say one last thing? When you identify that, don’t make yourself wrong, don’t make the other person wrong. At the time, just it was what it was. So don’t get caught up, then, in blame or self-blame. Just identify it and do whatever else needs to be done to shift it.
John: Yeah, but you have to identify it first. So that’s your job, go identify some things. All right. If this hot tip was helpful, please share it with a fellow artist. And as always, when you need real, practical help, get involved with us at the auspiciousartsincubator.org. And if you want the extended version where we’d really dig into these limiting beliefs and what you do about them, then you need to join our ASAP program and you can get that information on our website as well.