woman leader

Are Limiting Beliefs Impacting Your Leadership?

If you have been following me for a while, you might know that one of the key areas of my life I seem to continue to struggle with is my weight. At 52, I know some of my challenges are hormonal, some are strategic, (I have to do the work – make better choices, get more exercise…) but some are emotional. There are unconscious limiting beliefs still at play, no matter how much inner work I continue to do. These limiting beliefs impact how I see myself as a woman leader.

I am a personal development junkie

If you are like me, a personal development junkie, you’ve done a lot of personal growth work over the years on different aspects of your life. I have participated in therapy, coaching, and healing from many different modalities. I keep a journal, I paint, I talk to girlfriends or my husband. And yet, there always seem to be those lingering issues that come up over and over and over. I keep pulling away the layers to find new, unconscious and surprising beliefs underneath.

Yesterday I received a wonderful intuitive healing session from my friend Danielle Nistor. She helped me to uncover some of these unconscious beliefs and stories that are contributing to keeping my weight on. And as I was writing in my journal this morning and reflecting on our conversation yesterday, I realized that I am afraid to acknowledge or show how smart I am. I show up in compassion and caring but don’t often share my passionate academic side that loves research and big ideas.

Are you supporting other women as leaders?

Yep, I am smart and I show that in some ways but there is part of me that holds back. Why? Because of being judged or called out over the years by other women in my life. As I was journaling I remembered several different times where women, my friends, made snide remarks about my leadership and knowledge. One accused me of always taking the lead. At the time we were at a women’s retreat and I was standing quietly, not saying a word. I was shocked and dismayed. Who was I being that pushed her buttons? I thought I was being me.

On another occasion with a group of women at a painting and networking event, one of my friends turned to me, looked at what I painted, and said in a snarky voice, “Is there anything you can’t do?” I would think that’s a good trait, so why did I feel judged?

I am too much.

Why wasn’t I being supported and lifted up by other women who I saw as my peers? And why were these women pushing my buttons? These incidences raised feelings of being a young teen at school. It wasn’t cool to be smart. Boys weren’t looking for smart girls. And messages from adults to young women like, it’s not okay to shine, don’t talk so much, it’s not about you, children are to be seen and not heard also contributed to the feeling that I am too much.

It feels painful now in this moment to remember what it felt like to be that eager girl excited to share her thoughts and dreams. But there were few safe places or supportive people to share with. My high school social studies teacher was one. And my undergraduate advisor was another. My family loved me but I am not sure they got me. How many teens were reading poetry and writing papers existentialism?

At the end of the day, the message I received was “I am too much.” And that led to the belief that no matter who I was being, “I wasn’t good enough.” All these crazy, mixed up beliefs are still inside of me. Even though I have been happily married for 20+ years to an amazing man who loves how smart I am. Even though I have a Ph.D. from Stanford University, I rarely spoke up in class, I was too afraid to speak up.

Now, I speak for a living. I am on stages and in front of rooms leading groups all the time. And yet, there is still that underlying nervousness. Will I be judged for being too much? Will I be judged for not being enough? Will I be judged for being overweight?

I am judging myself.

The truth is, I am judging myself. I am holding myself back. I am keeping myself at a distance from my own success. My weight is a safe place to hide, to not have to be perfect, to let go. Consciously this feels crazy and at odds with the success I am creating in my business right now and the success and visibility that I say I want.

There is a part of me that is still that little girl longing to be heard and seen; to be acknowledged for all of who she is and at the same time afraid of being judged or dismissed. After my conversation with Danielle yesterday, I have some new clarity and some renewed commitment to owning all of who I am.

There is a powerful Money Breakthrough Process I take my clients through to create a new money power statement. That statement is often not about money but about claiming our gifts. I took myself through this process in my journal today and I am claiming “I am a woman who is recognized and acknowledged for my intellect.” It was hard to type that here and to claim it out loud.

I share this story today for a couple of reasons. One, it’s healing to share our stories with others. Two, I hear similar stories from my clients all the time. I saw my own story of being too much reflected by a client at our 3-day summit recently. Her new power statement is, “I am grand.” And she is, delightfully so. Throughout the event I watched her claim this energy and saw her soften, open and bloom. It was beautiful to witness.

Business success happens when we embrace our gifts.

True business success happens when we embrace all of our gifts, talents, intellect and our trauma, our stories and our beliefs. What I have learned in my 15 years as an entrepreneur is that success in business requires just as much personal growth as it does confidence and business skills. All the marketing and sales in the world won’t work if we persist in our inner beliefs that we are not enough or that we are too much.

How are my struggles with my weight impacting my business?

I don’t want to get new photos taken for my website and publicity. I don’t like having my photo taken at events. I struggle to do Facebook live or other videos. I can’t grow my business if I’m not willing to be visible! At some level, I am struggling with being too successful, too visible… so many mixed up emotions. Can you relate?

The truth is, I keep moving through these issues and beliefs. I am having success in my business. I am creating visibility. And I could be doing more. I could be taking care of myself better and treating myself like the star of my business. I get to choose. By sharing this story with you here, I challenge myself to choose me.

My challenges have showed up in my body issues and struggles with my weight. Yours may be showing up in your business, your money or your relationships. We all have limiting beliefs that keep us stuck. If you would like my support on working through those limiting beliefs so that you can fully integrate your gifts into your business and claim your genius, let’s talk.

I would love for you to share in the comments below your own journey towards claiming all of who you are.

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