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Let’s Talk: Limiting Beliefs that are Holding you Back at Work

5 Common Limiting Beliefs that could be holding you back from that next promotion or just being happier at work.

Mental Health Blog Limiting Beliefs

Limiting Beliefs are truths that you believe that limit your view about yourself, your abilities, or your view of others. They come from your life experience and others around you. The belief may have been helpful to you or others in the past to survive or navigate the world, but limiting beliefs can make you feel stuck, hold you back from choices in your life, prevent you from opportunities, and impair your relationships.

One of the key elements to testing your limiting belief is to find evidence that says your belief is false.

If you say ‘my boss thinks I am a bad employee’, but your boss complimented your last performance on a project, you have evidence that your boss likes the work you are doing.


5 Limiting Beliefs Holding You Back



1. I am not worthy of a promotion.


The “I am not worthy” limiting belief plagues most people and at different times throughout one's life. So, when it comes to our work this limiting belief of not being worthy of a promotion can hold you back from applying for new positions or stepping up for leadership roles.

Comparing yourself to your co-workers is most often a reason you might have this belief. Yes, your co-workers are going to be better than you in some areas, but that does not discount your own strengths and abilities.


Some evidence that you are worthy could be:

You were worthy to get the current job you have.

You completed your last project on time.

Your coworkers often ask for your input.

2. There are no opportunities to grow at my job.


If there are no current opportunities at your job, see if you can help create one. Every company can be more efficient or effective in one way or another. Look for the opportunities and present them to your boss. If there really are no opportunities at your company, maybe look for other work or side projects. Maybe there are no opportunities at your job but there are opportunities in your field of work.

3. I am not as smart as my co-workers.


Yes, some of your coworkers might be IQ smart, but think about ‘what are your assets?’. Howard Gardner suggested that all people have different kinds of "intelligences" in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. To find the evidence to counter the limiting belief “I am not as smart as my co-workers,” identify your areas of intelligence and apply those skills to your work.


Howard Gardner different kinds of intelligences:

Natural (nature smart)

Musical (sound smart)

Logical-Mathematical (number/reasoning smart)

Existential (life smart)

Interpersonal (people smart)

Body-Kinesthetic (body smart)

Linguistic (word smart)

Interpersonal (self-smart)

Spatial (image/picture smart)

4. I am negatively judged by my co-workers.


Hey, haters are going to hate, but first check if feeling negatively judged by co-workers is a limiting belief. Most often we are the ones who are judging ourselves and we habitually judge ourselves tougher than others judge us. Ask yourself, is there evidence that your co-workers are supportive or have praised your work?

5. I am a failure

Yes, there is evidence that you have failed in the past, every person has, it’s part of learning, growing and just being human. Challenge your fear of failing by asking yourself: When have I taken on a task and been successful? I am confident you can find evidence of success throughout your life and career.

Once you identify the limiting beliefs that are holding you back at work or in your career, it is time to challenge the belief and change your thoughts and actions. Tell yourself you have been successful in the past and you will continue to be successful.

Check out my positive affirmation blog that can help when challenging negative beliefs.



Monica McNeeley is a licensed therapist, LCSW, provides online therapy in the state of California. She has been providing therapy services since 2011.




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