We all have false foundational beliefs, and they’re deeply ingrained. We learn them early and can struggle with them all our lives. These limiting beliefs – our own personal myths – are what I call false foundations.
As a child, I believed I had only two choices in life: avoid or suffer. While I learned how to communicate better, it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I understood how that belief was keeping me trapped. Then I started seeing it everywhere in my life.
The patterns, beliefs, and habits I see as I work with women business owners may be limiting you too. You may be restricting your business growth without even realizing it.
Okay, awareness sounds good in theory, but how do we actually stop believing the troubling myths that are so deeply ingrained? I contend an artificial glass ceiling – our self-imposed block to advancement and growth – often starts with the following five common beliefs.
Linda is a public relations expert who works primarily with environmental nonprofits such as parks, arboretums, and botanic gardens. Being outdoors is her passion and her joy, and she is well known in her community. She shared her belief with me: “I can’t serve others the way I want to and still make a lot of money. If I charge more, fewer people will be able to work with me, and I’ll feel like I’m compromising my values.”
Cindy is an accountant who is an outsourced chief financial officer for family-owned businesses. She had a successful corporate career and launched her company seven years ago. With an unwavering work ethic, she cares deeply about each client. Even though she has a team of five, she shared her belief: “It’s a simple formula – I need to work harder and longer to make more money.”
Monica is a highly educated systems engineer working with healthcare technology companies to improve workflow and dataflow. Her passion is to do good in the world, which is why she chose to focus on healthcare. She is a solopreneur who hires business analysts and virtual assistants for each project. She shared her fear: “If I charge more, it will not be fair to my clients, and they will think I’m greedy.”
Janice has been practicing law for fifteen years, first in a large law firm and now on her own. She is a business attorney who helps small-business owners handle employment issues. While she likes to help owners avoid trouble, most of her work involves helping them deal with problems. She has two employees and three contractors but still believes: “I need to do all the work myself if I want it done right.”
Debra is an expert in the eldercare industry. Motivated to build her company based on personal challenges as her parents aged – and realizing she didn’t know what she didn’t know during that time – she has built a team of twelve to help adult children navigate the minefield of declining parents, resistant family members, and a confusing healthcare system. She believes: “I’ve got to take on more and more clients to increase revenue.”
All thoughts, beliefs, actions, and habits serve a purpose. We may not know or understand the purpose, but it exists.
Could it be that the person who is always late to meetings secretly (perhaps unknowingly) loves the attention she gets when making an entrance?
Could it be that keeping your pricing artificially low (perhaps unconsciously) allows you to feel generous?
Could it be that your fear of success is more powerful than your fear of failure?
Our thoughts, beliefs, actions, and habits frequently work to protect us. If I believe my pricing is “fine,” that preempts my anxiety of feeling hurt by imagined objections or rejection. I may have a false sense of security, but believing my pricing is “fine” feels far less risky than increasing my pricing.
I may further believe that leaving my pricing alone allows me to bring in more clients, because lower prices make it possible for more people to work with me – even if they are not ideal buyers.
This circular thinking will keep me and my business very limited – but it feels safe.
I recommend a technique called cognitive reframing, which shifts your mindset. You’re able to look at a situation, person, or relationship from a different perspective. It is a powerful way to turn limiting beliefs into opportunities for change and growth. Reframing is the first step to shift how you think and feel.
I started my quest to find my voice and my power by reframing a powerful limiting belief.
My belief: “Alone in that steamy Atlanta parking lot, I realized I didn’t know how to ask for help. I had no words – and no one was going to rescue me. I truly believed I had only two choices in life: avoid or suffer.”
My reframe: “I may feel victimized, but I’m not a victim. I have more power than I realize, and I certainly have more choices than ‘avoid or suffer.’ I feel trapped in this moment, but I am smart and resourceful. I have achieved mastery in other languages, and I can learn how to ask for help.”
Note that I didn’t and couldn’t reframe all at one time – I was only seventeen. It took time and work to change that belief, especially having experienced this repetitive trauma year after year.
What shifted when I was seventeen was the stark realization that I couldn’t live like this anymore. The reframe in that moment was to recognize I was resourceful and had expressed myself in other ways. I could become a polished communicator because I had already become an accomplished musician and dancer. I had the ability to learn and master many languages.
That was the dawn of my awareness of the problem, my ability to address it, and my willingness to solve it.
-- Excerpt from Patty’s book, Your Hidden Advantage: Unlock the Power to Attract Right-fit Clients and Boost Your Revenue
Do you feel stuck under that imaginary glass ceiling? I'd love to hear what you think. I read and respond to every email personally.
P.S. Are you giving 'invisible' discounts to prospects who didn't ask for them? The anxiety you feel when talking with a potential client leaks out when you slash your price because you're afraid you'll lose the opportunity if you don't.
I’ve broken down exactly why this 'discount dilemma' happens in an exclusive training called The Value Equation, which you can get for FREE by signing up for the bonuses that are companion pieces for my book, Your Hidden Advantage.
Business advisor, pricing expert, and bestselling author, Patty Block empowers women business owners to turn up their power by shifting their mindset, attracting right-fit clients, and boosting their revenue to achieve a more profitable future. Isn't it time to run your business with more confidence, profit, and joy?
Unlock the Power to Attract Right-fit Clients and Boost Your Revenue