As an entrepreneur, it is crucial to have a solid mindset. But most of us come to the table with limiting beliefs that can hold us back from success. These pre-existing beliefs can come across as our own personal boogeymen, warning us with spooky tales of our past failures and embarrassments, trying to scare us from moving forward out of our comfort zones.
So how can you shut the closet door on the boogeymen and get past those feelings of fear that are holding you back? You must learn to reprogram your brain for success.
All successful people continuously work on improving their mindset. Why? Because they know you can have all the best ideas in the world but if you have subconscious beliefs holding you back from actually implementing them, your big goals will remain out of reach.
Reprogramming your brain for success, also referred to as subconscious reprogramming, will help you to deal with your limiting beliefs in a more effective way while still focusing on taking action.
It’s just like the famous saying says: “Feel the fear, do it anyway”.
So, let’s break down where our limiting beliefs come from, how to deal with them, and how to replace them with new beliefs that are more supportive of our success.
Limiting Beliefs: Where do they come from?
To delve into the origin story of our limiting beliefs, we must first understand how our minds work.
Your mind consists of 3 different parts: the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious.
The conscious mind is very logical. It enables you to take in information, analyze it and make decisions based on this analysis. You cannot take action without the conscious mind deciding to take action. This is where you are focusing on your long-term goals and making plans to achieve them. This is the part of your mind that is really the essence of YOU.
The subconscious mind is the emotional part of your brain where all your memories are stored, going all the way back to your childhood. It wants to do everything it can to prevent you from discomfort in the current moment and does not take into account your future goals. The subconscious wants to keep you safe and maintain the status quo. And, surprise, surprise – this is where your limiting beliefs come from.
Sometimes people confuse the subconscious mind with the unconscious mind, but they are actually two different things. Whereas we can recall the memories in our subconscious mind, the unconscious mind is the part of our brain where we hold memories and past experiences that we can’t remember at all. We won’t touch on this part of the brain in this article, as our focus is on the conscious and subconscious.
How the Subconscious Mind Works
Now, let’s break down why the subconscious mind works the way it does.
Your subconscious historically has had one job: to protect you from harm and death. It has evolved over many millennia for this specific task and, for most of our history, this meant keeping us safe from environmental concerns like lions, tigers and bears, oh my!
As our world has changed and society has become more industrialized, for the most part we are pretty safe from these sorts of things and don’t need the subconscious mind to protect us from harm and death in the same way.
So, with literal death mostly off the table, the subconscious mind has a new job: to protect us from figurative death. Figurative death usually includes potential failure, embarrassment, rejection, etc. When those types of things happen to us, it can evoke an extremely strong emotional response that can almost feel akin to, shall we say, a social death.
Our subconscious mind diligently files away all these bad experiences in great detail. It never wants us to experience this same discomfort again and it vows to steer us away from any situation that could potentially induce this feeling. Thus, preventing us from suffering another figurative death.
How this materializes in our lives is usually in the form of fear. Fear of pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, trying new things, putting ourselves out there. The subconscious loves the status quo because it views it as safe and familiar. If you try something new, you could fail, after all. And the subconscious mind has no shortage of case studies from your life – those limiting beliefs – that it will bring up as proof of how you’ve failed before so you shouldn’t even bother trying.
Conscious vs. Subconscious: The Daily Battle for Control
So what does this look like in our daily lives? Our conscious and subconscious minds are basically in a battle for control over our actions. It is a battle of logic vs. emotion. And, if you let it, your subconscious mind will absolutely have a major influence on what you do in a conscious state.
Your conscious mind comes up with a great business idea and puts together an amazing business plan. Now, it is time to implement the plan. But up come those feelings of fear of failure and rejection, and you start to have trouble moving forward. You doubt yourself.
“Maybe you need to do some more planning. Yeah, you definitely aren’t ready yet. And, who are you to think you could pull off something like this anyway? You are way out of your league and you’d better stop now or you will make a huge fool of yourself. Don’t you remember all those other times you failed? You are going to embarrass yourself yet again!”
Can you see how your subconscious beliefs lead you to constantly second-guess yourself and hold you back from taking action toward an end goal? It can be hard to even just get started when you are being inundated with limiting beliefs planting seeds of doubt and telling you you aren’t good enough.
We’ve all been there before. And we know that if you let those strong emotions from your subconscious brain control you rather than taking logical action with your conscious brain, you will always remain stuck in the same place.
But, what if you could learn how to deal with those negative thoughts and feelings as they come up, dismiss them and move forward? Better yet, what if you could replace them with positive thoughts that are supportive of your goals and ambitions? What if you could truly learn how to get out of your own way and stop sabotaging yourself?
This is what reprogramming your brain for success is all about! So, let’s move on to discuss how you can get started.
How to Reprogram Your Brain for Success
An important part of dealing with your subconscious mind is coming to terms with the fact that it will always be there, chatting at you with warnings of how things could go wrong. It is a part of the human brain that has evolved with us over millions of years and it isn’t going anywhere. BUT, just because it has an opinion about absolutely everything, doesn’t mean it gets to make the decisions.
In this section, we will discuss how you can take back control of your life and overcome your limiting beliefs by following this simple 3-step process:
- Acknowledge and dismiss
Let’s get into each part of the process.
Step 1: Identify
When you are trying to reprogram your brain for success, the first step is to identify what the problem is. What exactly are your limiting beliefs?
Luckily, they have some very typical patterns they follow that make it easy to identify them:
“What if” Questions
Have you ever wanted to try something new and found yourself asking all sorts of “What if” questions? You find yourself asking questions about all the things that could go wrong, such as: “What if no one buys my product?”, “What if I screw up this presentation?” and “What if I am a complete failure at this?”.
Now, presumably, you are not actually a fortune teller. So, why are you trying to predict the future? These negative predictions are meant to tap into the fear of the unknown and are a common way your subconscious mind will pull you off course.
You’ve made your list for the day and are ready to get started on your daily activities. But, suddenly you are feeling massive resistance to actually doing anything. Maybe you “just don’t feel like it”. Maybe you feel like you’ve worked so hard and you deserve to “treat yo-self!”. After all, who wants to work when you could binge-watch Netflix or scroll social media instead? You can always get the work done later, right?
The procrastination thought pattern is all about offering up appealing alternatives to the plans your logical brain has set out for you to accomplish. And, in true subconscious fashion, these alternatives sound appealing in the moment but will virtually never align with your actual goals.
Bringing Up the Past
If you find yourself dwelling on past experiences and using them as an excuse for what you do (or don’t do) today, understand it is your subconscious in action.
When you are trying to push out of your comfort zone, your subconscious will bring up bad, usually embarrassing or traumatic things that have happened to you in the past that it feels are related to the situation you are in now. It wants you to feel all those same emotions and really relive that particular event as if it is happening in this very moment. It uses these past events as “proof” that you have failed before and are certain to fail again this time.
With this type of limiting belief, your subconscious is really bringing out the big guns with the emotional appeals. It wants you to feel extremely uncomfortable so you will stop dead in your tracks and go back to the status quo. Not a great formula for success.
Do you recognize any of these negative thought patterns making an appearance in your life? Well, that’s actually a good thing! Because once you’ve identified them, you can do something about them.
Step 2: Acknowledge and dismiss
Once you’ve identified your limiting beliefs, it’s time to acknowledge and question them. For some people it even helps to address them out loud.
When you actively question the requests and suggestions coming from your subconscious it will be immediately obvious how ridiculous they are, and how they won’t help your situation at all. In fact, they will usually do the exact opposite.
Is your subconscious asking you to do something impossible like predicting the future? Is it telling you that somehow scrolling social media will help you get your “to do” list done? Is it trying to get you to wallow in a past experience that no longer serves you?
Your response to all this can be very simple: “Yeah, thanks but no thanks, subconscious. I hear your suggestions, but I’m going to stick to my plan for today.”
Put your subconscious mind on notice that it isn’t running the show and go right ahead and dismiss those thoughts. You – conscious, logical you – are in charge and what you say, goes.
Step 3: Replace
We’ve established how to deal with your limiting beliefs in real-time. But, it’s also important to take a proactive role in improving your mindset.
As Einstein famously said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Meaning, if you stay in your current thought patterns, you are likely to continue experiencing the same challenges, right? So, you are going to need to figure out a new way of thinking that is more in line with your goals if you want to achieve greater success in your life.
When you focus on reprogramming your brain for success you are going to take your mindset to the next level by replacing old limiting beliefs with new beliefs that support your success. These new beliefs will be foundational in helping you to accomplish great things.
There are many different ways our conscious brains can take back control from our subconscious brains and help to rewrite those old thought patterns. Here are a few simple ways to do that.
Upgrade your environment
One of the easiest and best ways to quiet down those negative thoughts is to reduce the negative information you are taking in. Your subconscious mind is constantly absorbing new information and if most of it is negative, you will tend to have more negative self-talk as well.
Try watching less news and decreasing your time on social media (more on screen time and your brain in this Harvard article). Focus on surrounding yourself with more positive people. When we focus on taking in positive information we can arm our subconscious with information that better supports our goals.
Now, this doesn’t mean rejecting everything that isn’t happy all the time – that’s just not how life goes. But, limiting your exposure to situations and influences that tend to play into your negative thought patterns is a small change you can make in your daily life and a great way to start reprogramming your brain.
Visualize your Success
Visualization is a technique commonly used for goal setting and it is an extremely powerful tool for leveling up your mindset.
Imagine success in your life, whether that’s the dream job you’ve been working towards, financial freedom or starting your own business. Imagine it in technicolor detail all the way down to how you will feel once you reach your goals.
You cannot go halfway with your visualizations; you must really immerse yourself in them and believe as if they are happening at that moment. You can use visualization in conjunction with meditation to help you with your focus.
As you visualize yourself accomplishing great things and how that looks and feels in your life, you will help your subconscious mind to start forming more positive, goal-oriented stories it can reference. Just as our subconscious mind likes to replay our failures over and over as if they are happening, we can use visualization to teach it to reference these positive emotions and experiences instead.
Affirmations for success
Uncovering your limiting beliefs will help you to craft positive affirmations that support your new beliefs.
It’s easy to get started – simply write down your limiting beliefs and come up with a positive affirmation that is the opposite of that belief.
Then, repeat these positive affirmations to yourself on a daily basis. A sticky note on your mirror can be a great way to remind yourself to do your affirmations and keep yourself consistent.
You can also incorporate positive affirmations into your life by listening to audio programs or videos. There are tons of apps you can download or free videos to watch on YouTube.
Positive affirmations can actually activate and strengthen neural pathways in the brain. Strengthening these neural pathways will help you to access positive thoughts and feelings in the future, which will help to make this process easier and more natural for you as you continue to work on improving your mindset. Keep working at it and soon it will be like second nature!
Set yourself up for success
A super effective way to take the load off your brain (and eliminate some of those opportunities for your subconscious mind to try and talk you out of doing things) is by making daily routines and plans for yourself. The goal here is simple: less thinking and more doing.
Essentially, “present you” and your conscious brain can help give “future you” a leg up on your subconscious by planning ahead.
Your conscious brain loves making lists that are in support of your goals. So, in the morning as you have your coffee, or even the night before, write down a list of everything you need to do that day. You will head into the day more prepared and with less of an opportunity for your subconscious to come in and make suggestions.
“Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” is a saying for a reason. Planning out your day helps you to have less downtime and takes some of the extra thinking out of your day so you can focus on building healthy habits and taking action toward success.
Get down with binaural beats
Did you know you can listen to special music to help rewire your brain?
Binaural beats are two tones played at different frequencies that stimulate your alpha brainwaves and help you get into a more relaxed state. Since your mind is more receptive to new information when you are in a relaxed state, it is a great idea to listen to binaural beats during your visualization and affirmation exercises. It will enable you to sharpen your focus on the positive messages you are working to program into your subconscious.
Binaural beats can also be helpful to play in the background while you are working to help get you into an awesome flow state. Definitely a wonderful tool to combine with some of your other efforts!
How long will it take to notice a change?
This really depends on what your pre-existing beliefs are and how much effort you put into this process. Some limiting beliefs can be changed quite quickly whereas some may take a long time.
Keep in mind, you need to make sure you give yourself enough time to actually see results. That’s probably the biggest challenge when it comes to reprogramming your brain. Commit to sticking with the technique(s) of your choice for a set amount of time. If you are consistent with your efforts you will definitely reap the rewards of an improved mindset.
So, there it is, your crash course on reprogramming your brain for success. As an entrepreneur, it is incumbent on you to set yourself up for success by taking a good hard look at your thought patterns and seeing where improvement may be needed.
Now, don’t get us wrong, it is okay to have negative thoughts! Everybody does! But it is important to recognize when you start to travel down a negative thought path so you can get yourself turned around before you let it go too far. It is okay to feel your feelings and yes, sometimes things in life go wrong. The key is to not let those feelings, thoughts and experiences take such a hold on you that you are unable to move forward.
This is your time to take a great interest in yourself and really study how your unique mind works. How empowering is it to know that you have the ability to change some of these old thought patterns that have been holding you back?
Need a push in the right direction?
That’s what we are here for!
We have some other helpful mindset articles here that may be useful to you as you delve further into your entrepreneurial journey.
We would also love to meet up for a Power Coffee Session and help you with any obstacles you are facing in your business. Entrepreneurship can have a lot of ups and downs and sometimes it is hard to know how to move forward. Rest assured, we have dealt with many of the same obstacles you are likely facing and would love to help you build an action plan to overcome them. Heck, even if you are just looking for a pep talk – because we all need those from time to time! – we are here for you!
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