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How Coaching Can Help You Overcome Your Self-Imposed Limitations

Updated: Mar 23

A person on top of a hill stretching his hand out to lend to someone strugglin to climb

We all have dreams and goals. But truth is, few of us get to actually achieve them.


Well, you could give a dozen reasons really – a poor upbringing, a lack of good education, childhood trauma perhaps, lack of financial support, a negative past, physical disability, not being lucky enough; the list goes on.

If you care to scratch beneath the surface, however, you will find that most of these are self-imposed beliefs we have placed on ourselves; mental blocks we have drilled into our subconscious over time and convinced our minds to be the truth.

Sounds harsh, as most are circumstances we found ourselves in through no fault of our own. But taking the feelings out of it, they are self-justifications that keep us from

fulfilling our true potential.

That is both a bad thing and a good thing. Bad in the sense that should we remain oblivious of this knowledge, we risk not hitting the heights we otherwise could – which is sadly what happens with most people. But also good in that this mind-set is entirely reversible.

As Mary Kay Ash reminds us:

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”

The power of the mind

The mind is the greatest weapon we have in our personal arsenals – which should not be surprising considering it is the most complex structure known to man. Our minds are capable of any thought, therefore the mind can help us achieve anything we set out to. For a lot of people, it convinces them to give up when they encounter obstacles along the way. That’s because the mind is wired to instinctively protect us, to give us comfort and avoid anything to the contrary. That is why when we encounter any form of hardship, the first response is to quit. When you make it a habit of accepting this, you become a quitter. If you do this and the habit becomes ingrained, this can create a mental block or limit which the mind confines you to. This desire to give up has to be overcome if you want to achieve your goals. There are several established ways to overcome mental roadblocks. Cultivating a resilient attitude is one, so is training your mind to become more optimistic. Changing your old beliefs and mind-set is also imperative, among other techniques - all things you can develop with the help of a resilience life coach. Usually, it takes great personal resolve to do this without regressing along the way. It is not easy, otherwise all we would need to do is flick that mental switch and voila – life will dramatically change to how we want it! If only… When you encounter your personal limits, what you get is resistance. This makes everything feel much harder to accomplish. And this is where mentorship and life coaching comes in.

Why having a mentor or coach matters

When one person believes in you, it becomes easier to succeed. This is a phrase you have probably heard at some point. Obviously, self-belief more than goes a long way. But as we pointed out above, it may not often be enough. Believing in yourself all the way is not easy. At some point, doubts, insecurities, fear and other negative feelings are bound to creep in which can cripple you. As American writer Suzy Kassem puts it:

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will…”

When in doubt, having a more experienced person, expert, or authority who unconditionally believes in you and urges you on can make all the difference.

To expand on the above quote:

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Mentors are far the best doubt killers.”

A mentor or qualified coach can help you unlock your potential regardless of what you are looking to achieve in life, be it venturing into business, launching a start-up, making career moves, advancing your college studies, sticking to your fitness goals, pursuing a passion, you name it.

As author-cum-CEO counsellor Tsun-Yan Hsieh notes:

“The whole notion of mentorship is to accelerate your development: to be the best you can be, get there sooner, to have a greater impact.”

That said, the role of a mentor or coach towards helping you overcome your self-imposed limitations cannot be underestimated. This is best illustrated by pro athletes and professional sports teams across the board who find the services of a good sports coach (in a psychological context) indispensable. That’s because they know very well that no matter how good they are physically, becoming successful involves overcoming any mental barriers. And there tends to be a lot of them. Outside of sports, some of the most famous leaders in the world all had someone who helped them unlock their true potential. Bill Gates’ mentor was Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerburg’s was Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey was mentored by Maya Angelou. Jon Katzenbach mentored the aforementioned Tsun-Yan Hsieh, who himself has gone on to become one of the most highly regarded CEO mentors not just in Asia, but globally.

Set yourself up for success with professional coaching

Mentors are not a preserve of the world’s top sports persons and chief executives only. You too can find a mentor a useful asset in your bid to accomplish more and push yourself to do things outside of your self-imposed limitations. Because sometimes all you need to keep you moving towards your dream is a little encouragement from someone who believes in you. This especially goes for those times when the going gets tough and negative thoughts and self-talk sets in. A mentor can help counter-balance any negative thinking or self-talk during such times. More than that, mentors also help us to push beyond our boundaries than we otherwise could considering most are limits we have placed upon ourselves. You see, as humans, we tend to underestimate what we are truly capable of achieving. But you would be amazed by the potential that lies within you if you can dare to venture outside of your comfort zone. A good mentor or professional life coach can help you push the envelope beyond the realms of your imagination.


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