We are labeled in all aspects of our lives. Our gender, age, income level, color, job status - they’re all labels. We often use labels to describe ourselves on both a conscious and subconscious level.
Why we Adopt Labels
We use labels in business all the time. Sometimes out loud and sometimes subconsciously. We use them to find our tribe and relate to our audiences, to market our services and products, and write blog posts our readers want to read, and to find other business owners with whom to collaborate.
So business labels are a good thing, right?
I always thought so. Labels can work in a positive way, by creating connections between people with the same label. Labels can be comforting if you feel different from the norm and we can use them to connect with other people like us. This is why I recently argued for the use of the term ‘Mompreneur’. I identify very strongly with the Mompreneur label. For me it represents that I am first and foremost a Mum, that I am building my business around my family, and that my family will always have priority.
The other label I strongly identify with is being an introvert. Discovering that I was an introvert was like being given a life jacket (is that a bit dramatic? Stick with me….) Suddenly, instead of being too quiet and shy in a loud world, I was given permission to join a new one. One where deep thinking, being crap at small talk, and needing quiet to ‘get my head together’ was perfectly normal.
And so I was happy, building my business as an Introverted Mompreneur.
Until I got asked a deceptively simple question:
“What do you wish you could do more of in your business?”
Have you ever been asked that question? Did your answer surprise you?
Mine surprised me! Mine was, “I want to spend more time working directly with, and helping, people”. Yes, me: people-avoiding, introvert me. Wants to work with people. Urgh!
Why Your Labels are Limiting You
Labels are limiting your potential for growth in your business because they describe what you are now! And a lot of the time they’re not even that accurate or relevant. The labels you give yourself are your perception of what you are and have very little to do with what you are capable of becoming. Or capable of doing. And doing is really important for your business!
We are often encouraged to do personality tests to get to know ourselves, to discover how we work best, what our motivations are, and with whom we work best. This is really important if we are stuck, or need direction or a confidence boost.
But you discover what you are really capable of when you do the things you don’t want to do, when you’re in the situations that make you uncomfortable, when you’re outside of your comfort zone. The whole, “what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger”, thing!
How to Identify Your Limiting Beliefs
Identifying the labels that are limiting your potential for success is the first step in working through your limiting beliefs.
And the first step in identifying what beliefs are limiting you is to allow yourself to dream. Ask yourself:
If all your business dreams had come true, what would you have achieved?
What would you do in your business if you knew you couldn’t fail?
If there was nothing standing in your way, what would be your ultimate business goal?
I’m guessing you came up against some resistance while doing that exercise. That little voice inside your head saying, “but you might fail”, “but there are things in my way”, “but…. but…. but…”.
And it’s those voices in your head, arguing with you about what is and isn’t possible, that appear when you believe in the limits you’ve placed on yourself.
The second step in identifying your limiting beliefs is to acknowledge them. Yes, acknowledge them. Bring them out into the open. Into the real world! The arguments, the barriers, the recurring ‘dream downers’ that get in your way when imagining business success beyond your wildest dreams; write them all down.
And now they’re written down, you can start working on busting through those barriers!
How to Bust your Limiting Beliefs to Reach your Potential
Now for the fun part - shifting your mindset to get past your limiting beliefs.
Now is a good time to remind you of something I said earlier; your labels are often not accurate. You don’t have to ditch your labels that help give you your sense of identity and belonging, but you need to remember that your labels aren’t all that you are.
You are more than an introvert, more than a student, more than a Momprenenur, more than a side hustler. You need to step out of those boxes, away from the excuses and away from your comfort zone. Busting through your limiting beliefs is about making choices and those choices aren't always going to be the easy ones.
Identify the Patterns
Did you notice any patterns in the barriers you just identified? Any common themes that relate to a certain part of your life?
For example, time (or, more accurately, the lack of it!) is a common barrier if you’re a mom. For me as an introvert, the thought of jumping on a Skype call with a stranger is pretty nerve-wracking.
Maybe your limits are financial, or knowledge related.
The common patterns will help you identify which labels are holding you back.
Turn Negatives into Positives
Now you've identified the ‘life labels’ that are causing your biggest blocks, it's time to turn the negatives into positives.
Instead of allowing your inner introvert to tell you that you're incapable of face to face coaching calls with strangers, remind yourself that you will be working with your ideal clients. Clients who will energize and inspire you.
Instead of focusing on the qualification or experience you haven't got, work with what you do know. How can you use the experience you have got to write blog posts or create a service or e-product. Could you collaborate with someone who has complementary skills or experience?
The next time your inner critic tells you that you can't do something, ask it why not? Imagine you can and do it anyway! I'm 100% sure you'll surprise yourself with what you're capable of!
Look for inspiration from others like you. Facebook groups (such as the Think Creative Collective community) are great places to ask for advice on how to make the most of your situation.
There's a pretty good chance that there's more than one person who's been there and, even if there isn't, the Think Creative Collective community is full of amazing biz ladies who are always willing to share their insights.
The final step is to remember that you're in control. It's your business. You are free at any point to change things that really aren't working for you, to work with the clients with whom you want to work, or to change your services or products.
If you need to, ditch or re-define your limiting labels. Recently my twins started nursery 5 mornings a week. All of a sudden I got the chance to put my business first for those 15 hours a week. And with that extra time came a mindset shift.
I was no longer trying to run a business ‘in my spare time’, I can now prioritize my business activities, making me feel like a ‘real’ business owner. With the feeling of being a real business owner, comes more confidence and lots more progress.
My Mompreneur label no longer means that I am a Mum trying to fit in a business. It now means I am both a boss and a mom!
The final point I want to make is that identifying your limiting beliefs is an essential step in making huge progress in your business. When you don't believe your dreams of success will come true there is very little motivation to put in the hard work required to make those dreams a reality.
Believe you can and you will!