#71: How To Stop Holding Yourself Back

How To Stop Holding Yourself Back

If you’ve ever uttered the words “I could never do that” or “That’s not me,” you’ve experienced the limiting power of your own self-identity. The picture you have of yourself might just be your greatest obstacle to growth! Get ready to expand your self-image and experience of life.

You’ll hear about:

  • How women hold themselves back from independence by thinking “I can’t.”
  • Why we tend to stick with one way of living instead of experiencing new things
  • Shifting from one identity to another, as in the case of divorce

Mentioned in this episode:

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How to Stop Holding Yourself Back

This week, I went to my first Crossfit class. Yes, I know Crossfit has been around for years, but I’ve never considered myself a Crossfit kind of person.

I do yoga. When I lift weights, I do it slowly and carefully. The Crossfit scene just didn’t feel like ME.

But I went. And you know what? I really enjoyed it, and my body felt great.

I could do most of the exercises. I can squat, I can run, I can plank. I did almost fall on my butt with that high jump box thing, but hey, I’ll work on that!

Now here’s the interesting part…

Are you limiting yourself?

Every day, we’re limited. We have limited time, money, and energy. We have responsibilities that keep us from doing whatever we please. As women, we have a glass ceiling keeping us from levels we might reach.

We have all these limitations on us.

 And then we add more on ourselves. 

Recently I listened to a podcast episode from Amy Porterfield (#466). Her guest, Ed Mylett, talked about how we limit ourselves based on our own self-identity.

That really resonated with me! So many women I’ve met don’t consider themselves to be “healthy” or “good at business”. 

We have a picture of ourselves in our mind.

And THAT can be more limiting than anything else.

How “I can’t” holds you back

After my divorce, I wanted to buy a house, but I thought I couldn’t. 

I’m not handy. I’m not good at lawn maintenance. I’m not smart enough about plumbing. As a woman, I’d get ripped off by contractors. I can’t do it alone. I’m not a person who knows how to do these things.

Those were my beliefs about myself. 

My identity was still wrapped up in being part of a married couple where he takes care of the house, and I raise the kids.

That old identity was limiting my thoughts about what was possible.

Growth can be scary

Then, a house became available and all the logistics fell into place (there’s a whole podcast episode about this story.) 

I was totally overwhelmed.

Buying a house takes a lot of work and coordination. But beyond that, as Ed Mylett talked about, outgrowing our self-identity is scary. 

It’s easy to find a reason to hit the brakes and NOT allow this growth to happen.

For me, it wasn’t just the growth of becoming a homeowner — I had been a homeowner before. It was forcing me to shift my self-identity. I had to see myself as a woman capable of owning a house by herself, unpartnered.

I had to fully embrace this new identity of “independent woman.”

The magic of identity shifts

You might think that going through something big like a divorce would instantly shift a person’s identity. But for me, it’s happened little by little. The first day I took off the ring. The first date I went on. My first Christmas without my kids. And now, owning a house by myself.

It all starts to chip away at that old identity.

You have an image of yourself in your mind, and it’s limiting your growth. It’s limiting your experience on this earth. It’s limiting your health and happiness. But it doesn’t have to.

In with the new

I’ve had clients who say “I don’t cook.” A few months later, they’re very comfortable in the kitchen.

Others will say, “I can’t imagine life without gluten.” But once they feel the difference it makes, they embrace being gluten free.

If your image of yourself is a successful, high achieving woman, you might not see yourself as the type to kick back and relax on the weekend, curl up with a movie, or spend Sunday doing nothing. And yet, that’s probably what you need.

So catch yourself the next time you think “I can’t” or “that’s not me.”

You can. It might be you, after all— if you allow yourself to grow beyond your current self-identity.