Happy New Year, and welcome to a new decade!

The turn of the year is always a moment for us to reflect on our path so far and the way forward. But this one feels special, doesn’t it? So much about 2020 seems momentous and urgent – and sure, it could be the busyness of it all, but I see so many people doubling down on their personal and professional growth this year with a real sincerity and tenacity.

As we start to climb the mountain of challenges and opportunities that this year will bring, I wanted to share a powerful exercise that a colleague turned me onto in 2019: naming, addressing and countering our limiting beliefs.

Limiting beliefs are the messages we have internalized and accepted as the narrative of what we can and cannot do. They are artificial, constructed beliefs about our finances, relationships, health, abilities and more.

To be clear, limiting beliefs are different from boundaries, which describe what we will and won’t do. Limiting beliefs live as stories re-tell ourselves — old memories that continue to cause us pain are animated by a limiting belief.

Here’s an example we all have heard: A colleague who enrolled in a graduate program years ago but was forced to drop out to take care of family now says, “It’s too late for me to go back to school or continue my education.”

Immediately upon hearing it, you probably think, “What? Says who? Sure there are challenges but objectively it’s not ‘too late.’” But obviously our colleague doesn’t exactly see it that way, otherwise they wouldn’t make such a statement.

The process of breaking our limiting beliefs is about stating them honestly and vulnerably, stating the reasons they cannot be true, and adopting new, empowering beliefs instead.

Here are a few examples, shared with permission:

I’ve found this exercise useful in setting personal and professional goals, particularly over the long term. Looking at limiting beliefs can expose to us how quickly and ruthlessly we judge ourselves, and preclude ourselves from opportunity because of limits we’ve told ourselves are hardwired When we can put some set of these limiting beliefs out the door with the year that has passed, we open up new possibilities for our work, for our lives and the impact this has on others.

I hope you can take some time to go through this exercise to kick off your new year. We owe it to ourselves and our work to examine what we perceive as our limits. And remember – if you’re on this email list, chances are it’s because you are a person connected to some kind of work about improving life for someone else. Never forget that you have chosen to put your gifts to use for the benefit of others. This makes you exceptional, and you’ve got a cheerleader in me and our team.

– Michael Tipton
President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation
Head of Community Relations


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