Self-Limiting Language


Note: Conversations I have with my coaching clients often inspire my blog posts.  I NEVER share information that would identify a client and I ALWAYS ask the client for permission before I post.

Woman holding a skeleton key over white background

Do you ever catch yourself using self-limiting language?

  • I’m not qualified for that job.
  • I’ll never lose the weight after having the baby.
  • I shouldn’t ask for that raise.
  • I’ve never been able to quit smoking so why try again?

I believe many of us are guilty of using negative statements that limit our thinking and our potential. But have you ever heard someone use a seemingly positive statement in a self-limiting way? Here’s what I mean.

Last week I had a coaching session with a client I’ve been working with for almost a year. She and I have a great level of trust and rapport. She not only wants “tough love” and healthy push-back, she demands it. And so I felt very comfortable challenging a statement she made.

She was telling me about a wonderful opportunity that was about to come to fruition. The opportunity has been years in the making. She’s understandably excited. She called it a…

Once in a lifetime opportunity.

After a few minutes of sharing the excitement with her (I love it when clients achieve their goals) I circled back to her “once in a lifetime opportunity” statement and I challenged her.

“Why does this have to be once in a lifetime? Why can’t it be the first of many?” I asked.

“You’re right!” she responded. Her voice had an excitement to it. She made an immediate shift. She now looks at the opportunity as a beginning rather than an end.

Since that conversation, I’ve been examining my own language. In what areas of my life am I limiting myself via my self-talk or statements I make to others…even via positive sounding messages?

I’m making a conscious effort to rid myself of all that junk.

What about you?

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