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3 Quick Ways Dave Hollis Overcomes Limiting Beliefs

Executive Summary

Limiting beliefs follow a lack of experience. We’re more inclined to believe we can’t achieve something that we’ve never tried.

  • Former CEO of The Hollis Company and former president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios, Dave Hollis, let a limiting belief keep him from taking up running as a hobby.
  • He realized he was telling himself a lie because he was the only person who could define his potential.
  • Dave shares the steps to distinguishing fact and fiction as it relates to your growth and outlines the ways he overcomes limiting beliefs.

Tall people can’t be runners. I wish I could tell you where I heard this notion, but it was something I was taught and believed. For thirty-six years of my life. It had something to do with hips or joints or how much weight you had to haul. At six foot, four inches tall, I was told running was a thing I couldn’t or shouldn’t do, so I didn’t.

Then one day, out of nowhere, my right-hand at the office challenged me to a 5K race. We’re both super competitive. He’d been a runner his whole life, but he was also a few years older than I. I wasn’t in great shape, but I liked the idea of showing him what youth and initiative could do.

He took me to school. Smoked me good. It was the perfect introduction to something I’d been told I couldn’t do. It gave me motivation to see whether I could get better at it. That same colleague helped build the plan for my next race and the one after that. He helped me take a belief I’d clung to and throw it on its head.

Eight years later, I’ve run fourteen half marathons, including two on back-to-back weekends, and one “adventure marathon” in the wild hills of Ireland. I am a runner. I am a tall runner. I take to the roads every day.

The only thing that defines what you can become is you.

Letting something external determine your worth or your trajectory is what is called a limiting belief. Limiting beliefs are lies that hold us back in some way.

What are Facts and What are Limiting Beliefs?

Limiting beliefs are things we mistakenly hold as truths about ourselves. As they inform our identities, they give us permission to pursue certain dreams, act in a certain way, have confidence or no confidence in our abilities, or think we do or don’t have the right to do certain things. We think these are laws, that we have to learn to live within their bounds. But this is simply not the case. You create the limits for what’s possible in your life. You decide. You choose that reality. You. Choose. That. Reality. And, if we aren’t aware of our limiting beliefs, we’ll never be able to fully get out of our own way.

When we examine what it is we believe and why we believe it, the yield is transformational. It has been for me, and it will be for you as well.

So what are these limiting beliefs more specifically? They are the stories we believe that hold us back just by our giving them weight, those tracks that play on a loop in the background of our unconscious, telling us what we can or can’t do. Examples include:

  • believing this is just how things are;
  • believing that, since you’re not like someone else who does well in an area you’d like to do well in, it’s just not possible for you;
  • identifying yourself as a person who has talent in one area that disqualifies you from the possibility of excelling in another area;
  • believing you can’t do something even if you’ve never tried to do it; and
  • taking the principles from your childhood and the society you grew up in and automatically assuming they are true without testing.

The list could go on, but it’s important to understand where you believe your worthiness comes from, what you believe you can or can’t do, where you think your permission to be you comes

from, and how your upbringing, societal norms, comparison to others, or foundations of identity create boundaries around what’s possible. It’s critical to see all this clearly. Once we do, then we must understand why we believe what we believe.

Why Limiting Beliefs Hold You Back

In my experience, most limitations are created from and rooted in fear. Fear of what other people will think. Fear of deviating from the norm. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of

being exposed as the work in progress that you are, of people finding out you’re not that curated image of perfection you post daily on Instagram and Facebook. Insecurities about standing out in a way that could set you up for comparison, judgment, or ridicule are most of what keeps us marching to the beat of traditional norms.

Since the beginning of time, limits have existed. Limits keep people alive, and our brains are wired for survival. So limits are naturally going to exist in these brains of ours. The challenge, when we’re talking about limiting beliefs, is to know which of the things we believe are really there for survival and which are manufactured beliefs that don’t help us at all. If we don’t do the work to ask the questions, we’ll never know, and we’ll just keep believing all of them absolutely to keep us safe, to keep us alive. But we can do better than that.

Start now by identifying what it is you believe, which of those beliefs serve you, and which create unnecessary restraint that holds you captive, keeping you from where you want to go, keeping you from growth and ultimately fulfillment.

  • Step 1: deliberately work to know what you believe and why you believe it.
  • Step 2: separate what you believe into things to keep believing and things to drop. If it doesn’t serve you and the ones you love, let it drop, or move to step three and modify it.
  • Step 3: actively make changes to what you believe in the areas that hold you back. Turn the limiting beliefs into empowering beliefs. The way you position that hard thing you went through is everything.

The decision falls to you and you alone to believe in the truth that you are here for a reason, that you matter, and that the outside measures are nothing compared to your belief in yourself, the belief of your being enough. You have to know with outright certainty your importance in this world, regardless of what your job is, how you look, or what stories you’re telling yourself.

Don’t let your limiting beliefs sell a version of your worthiness that underestimates what’s possible for your life or chains you to a story that keeps you playing it safe, small, or not at all. Know that you are enough today and every day, that you are capable and in control of what limits you’ll adhere to, and use that knowledge to propel yourself forward in a way that maximizes your potential. You owe it not only to yourself but to those who matter to you most.

3 Ways I Overcome My Limiting Beliefs 

  1. I get back to the source of my truth on days I have a harder time believing it. Are there days when I have insecurity about being enough? Of course. It’s those days when I return to my faith, my wife, my kids, the feedback from my mentors, and the network who’s been positively affected by my work. You have an array of similar relationships and sources of truth that remind you how worthy you are of your dreams and how capable you are of achieving them. Tap into those resources on the days when it gets harder to remember (trust me, those days will pop up) so you can maintain the momentum you’ll need to build on that platform and achieve the impact you know you’re capable of.

  2. I made an actual list of the lies I believed that kept getting in my way. To map where I wanted to go with my life, I had to start by identifying the specific things that might keep me from reaching my destination. It’s an exercise that’s worked so well that, at our RISE conference, my keynote is consistently on the topic of “What’s going to get in your way.” We encourage the audience to develop their plan for where they want to take their lives, starting with what is likely to keep them from attaining their goals. It helps them build a plan considering what they’ll need to navigate around. Make your list, and what you need to do to reframe the lies you believe to keep you out of your own way.

  1. I got a fresh perspective. Have you ever been on a trip and had the epiphany that the things you thought were unchangeable or that gave you anxiety didn’t exist in this parallel universe? On a few occasions, a trip for work landed me in another country and I realized that the people there have a totally different perspective on the things I might have determined I just needed to live with, and this realization affected me so much that it completely changed the way I thought about those things. If you aren’t in the habit of disrupting your perspective for the benefit of seeing life through someone else’s lens, put it on the calendar and force yourself outside your normal routine. Your mind will be blown.

Dave Hollis

Dave Hollis is the former CEO of the Hollis Company. He is a father to Jackson, Sawyer, Ford, and Noah. Dave hosts the podcast Rise Together, the #1 health podcast on iTunes. Dave was previously president of distribution for the Walt Disney Studios.

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  • I have had many limiting beliefs. But the biggest one for me, was centered around what marriage looked like. The model I had was my parents, not a healthy loving relationship. I thought this was how it was supposed to be. So I spent 12 miserable years with a man I didn’t really love. We divorced and I realized this was not what marriage had to look like. Now I have a wonderful marriage with the man I deserve.

    Melissa Powell
  • Thank you for your words that make so much sense!! Very Helpful Sense!!!

    Melody L Schake

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