Neurodivergent women often face unique challenges in their personal and professional lives. One of the biggest obstacles they encounter is the presence of self-limiting beliefs. These negative self-perceptions can hold you back from achieving your full potential and hinder your progress toward success.
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Understanding Neurodivergent Women
Neurodivergent women have unique strengths and challenges that stem from differences in how their brains process information. Neurodivergence refers to the many different ways that people's brains work, including conditions such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and others.
One of the key concepts of neurodiversity is that these differences are not inherently good or bad, but simply different. In fact, neurodiversity can be seen as a form of biodiversity, with each person bringing their own unique perspective and talents to the table.
However, neurodivergent people often face significant challenges in a world that is not always designed to accommodate their differences. For example, social communication can be particularly difficult for those with autism, while executive function challenges can make it hard to stay organized and focused for those with ADHD. These challenges often make neurodivergent people feel “less than” those around them.
It's important to recognize that neurodivergent people are not broken or in need of fixing. Rather, they may simply require different types of support and accommodations to thrive.
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As a neurodivergent woman, you may have experienced self-limiting beliefs that can hold you back from achieving your goals and reaching your full potential. Self-limiting beliefs are negative thoughts that you have about yourself and your abilities, which can prevent you from taking action and pursuing your dreams.
According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, self-limiting beliefs can include thoughts such as “I'm not good enough,” “I don't have what it takes,” or “I'm not smart enough.” These beliefs can be deeply ingrained and may stem from past experiences, societal expectations, or personal insecurities.
Self-limiting beliefs have a significant impact on our lives. They can hold us back from seeking promotions, starting new businesses, or taking any steps that fall outside of our comfort zone. We’re afraid to try new things because we assume we’ll fail because we’re not good enough.
Reflecting on the opportunities we may have missed or the time wasted due to these beliefs can be eye-opening. The personal cost of self-limiting beliefs is substantial, both in terms of missed professional growth and overall fulfillment.
To overcome self-limiting beliefs, we have to first identify them and understand their source. Many of these beliefs are so deeply ingrained that we may not even be aware of their existence. Start by paying attention to negative thoughts that arise when considering new projects or opportunities. These fleeting thoughts are often indicators of self-limiting beliefs that need to be addressed.
Dig deeper to uncover the source of these beliefs. Was it a comment made in the past, a belief ingrained in your family or social circle, or a perception based on a previous experience?
Sometimes it’s hard to pin the origins down because it can feel like we’re blaming our loved ones. First, I gotta say if the shoe fits. Second, even if they love you and want the best for you, that doesn’t mean they didn’t say hurtful damaging things. And I’m not saying that you have to confront them. But, understanding the origin of these beliefs is crucial in eliminating them so you can replace them with more empowering ones.
Assessing the Validity of Self-Limiting Beliefs
Self-limiting beliefs tend to go unchallenged and are rarely examined for their validity. It's time to flip the script and assess the truth behind these beliefs. Are they based on facts or merely opinions and perceptions? Often, we find that these beliefs are not supported by evidence and are merely holding us back.
Most of the time, these beliefs stem from someone’s opinion about us that we took as fact. This is especially true if that person is someone we care about or respect. And as I mentioned, what they said might not have been meant as a criticism, even if that’s the way your brain interpreted it. Often these statements are things we take in as kids and internalize.
But now you’re an adult. You can look at these beliefs and really decide if they are based on fact. Challenge yourself to consider what could be achieved if these beliefs were not true and explore the possibilities that lie beyond them.
It's important to recognize and challenge these self-limiting beliefs in order to overcome them. One way to do this is by examining the evidence for and against your beliefs. For example, if you believe that you're not good enough to pursue a certain career, ask yourself what evidence supports that belief and what evidence contradicts it.
Interplay of Neurodivergence and Self-Limiting Beliefs
As a neurodivergent woman, you may experience self-limiting beliefs that hold you back in various aspects of your life. These beliefs can be related to your neurodivergence, such as feeling like you are not good enough or that you cannot succeed because of your differences.
Self-limiting beliefs can also be related to societal expectations and stereotypes, such as feeling like you cannot be successful in a particular career because it is not traditionally associated with neurodivergent people. These beliefs can be especially harmful because they can prevent you from pursuing your goals and aspirations.
It’s important to recognize and challenge these self-limiting beliefs as they arise. One way to do this is to reframe your thinking and focus on your strengths and accomplishments.
For example, instead of thinking “I can't do this because of my neurodivergence,” try reframing it as “I have unique skills and perspectives that can contribute to this task.”
Another way to combat self-limiting beliefs is to seek out and connect with other neurodivergent people who have overcome similar challenges. This can provide a sense of community and support, as well as inspiration and motivation to pursue your goals.
It’s also important to remember that self-limiting beliefs are not a reflection of your abilities or worth as a person. Everyone experiences self-doubt at times, and it’s a normal part of being human. By recognizing and challenging these beliefs, you can overcome them and achieve your full potential.
Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs
Now that we have a better understanding of self-limiting beliefs, let's explore strategies to overcome them and unlock our true potential.
Developing an Alternative Belief
One effective approach to combat self-limiting beliefs is to develop alternative beliefs that are empowering and supportive. For example, if you believe you are not ready for a leadership position, replace that thought with “I have unique skills and experiences that make me an excellent candidate for this role.” By reframing our thoughts and focusing on our strengths, we can challenge and replace these limiting beliefs.
Another strategy is to reframe your self-talk in a more positive and empowering way. Instead of saying “I'm not good enough,” try saying “I'm capable of learning and growing in this area.” This can help you shift your mindset and approach challenges with more confidence and resilience.
And don’t forget the power of “yet.” If you’re not sure if you can or are ready to take something on, add yet to the statement. “I don’t have the skills to be a supervisor yet.”
Constantly Challenge Self-Limiting Beliefs
Rather than allowing self-limiting beliefs to dictate our actions, we should intentionally challenge them. Take small steps outside of your comfort zone and prove to yourself that these beliefs are unfounded.
If you believe you’re not a good writer, start by writing a blog post or journaling regularly. As you build evidence of your abilities, you will start to disprove these limiting beliefs and gain confidence in your skills.
Try a Mantra
Daily mantras or affirmations can be powerful tools for overcoming self-limiting beliefs. Choose a positive statement that resonates with you, such as “I am capable and deserving of success,” and repeat it regularly. By consistently reinforcing positive affirmations, you can reprogram your mind to focus on your strengths and potential, gradually diminishing the impact of self-limiting beliefs.
Keeping Self-Limiting Beliefs at Bay
Overcoming self-limiting beliefs is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort. Even after successfully challenging and replacing these beliefs, it's crucial to remain vigilant to prevent their resurgence. Here are some tips to keep self-limiting beliefs away:
- Practice Self-Reflection: Regularly check in with yourself to identify any old beliefs that may resurface. Address them promptly and replace them with empowering thoughts. You might not always notice the negative thoughts creeping in, but if you take time to do some daily reflection, you should be able to recall them and address them.
- Continual Growth: Embrace a growth mindset and commit to continuous personal and professional development. Emphasize learning and improvement rather than focusing on perceived limitations. Part of having a growth mindset is to be willing to take chances, learn, and fail because you learn from those failures. The point is that you don’t give up.
- Celebrate Success: Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Recognize that each success serves as evidence that you are capable of overcoming challenges and achieving your goals. This is hard, especially for women. We might feel silly congratulating ourselves for something others might think is insignificant. Don’t listen to the haters. Celebrate your wins.
- Surround Yourself with Positivity: Surround yourself with positive influences, whether it's through books, podcasts, or supportive friends and mentors. Cultivating a positive environment will help counteract any negative beliefs that may arise.
Overall, self-limiting beliefs can be a major barrier to success and fulfillment for neurodivergent women. By recognizing and challenging these beliefs, you can take steps towards achieving your goals and living a more fulfilling life.