Catch up on Kayla’s story by reading the first part in her Entrepreneur’s Corner series.
We all know what it’s like to be plagued by limiting beliefs.
You know, the ones that keep you up at night as they play in your mind on repeat.
They can go undetected for years, steering you in ill-fitting directions before you’re aware they even exist. Some are planted in us when we listen to other people’s experiences and opinions. Others develop all on their own.
No matter the origin, limiting beliefs are known to wreak havoc on entrepreneurs, especially in seasons of transition.
When new decisions need to be made, it’s easy to slip into old thought patterns and habits to combat uncertainty and confusion. We may not be willing to admit it, but most of us would rather have the comfort and familiarity of a limiting belief than face the reality of what’s hiding behind it.
But every so often, you’ll come face-to-face with a limiting belief. Once it’s been revealed, do you examine it carefully, or are you tempted to avoid it entirely? I usually yo-yo between these two responses, but after dissolving my first business and rebuilding my mental health, I chose to face this one head-on.
This is my story, but I have a feeling you’ll find yourself in it, too.
Confronting one of my most significant limiting beliefs
After months of journaling through my most intimate thoughts and reflections, I realized that if I was going to give entrepreneurship another try, my new business couldn’t look like my first one.
I was done overwhelming myself with work and chasing after the wrong metrics of success. I wanted to create an online business that was profitable and sustainable, something that was intentionally built with my values in mind from the very start.
I decided to rebrand myself rather than going back to a day job. But I didn’t have a clue what my new business would look like.
In search of an answer, I turned back to my journal and made a simple list of my business-related skills and personal strengths. I remember feeling silly doing this at the time, but I had to cover all of my bases. I was determined to figure out what was next for me, no matter what it took.
After my journaling session, the page was covered with ideas; but I kept feeling drawn to one particular skill scribbled in the margins: writing.
Writing has always played a significant role in my life.
Writing was there when I learned how to express myself through poetry. It was there when I shared stories that mattered through my blog. It was there when I strained my vocal cords from years of singing and desperately needed a new creative outlet.
I still remember the joy of holding my first hardcover book of personal writing in fourth grade, and the satisfaction of seeing my poem hang on the door of my middle school principal’s office.
However, the career paths I considered had always classified writing as a secondary skill. Fashion journalism, public relations, social media consulting—all with a dash of writing but never more than that.
This realization troubled me, so as a response, I decided to sit with the idea of becoming a writer for a few days. After letting it float around in my mind, I was struck by the impossibility of it. It felt so out of grasp—but I wasn’t sure why.
Identifying your limited belief
Clearly, there was a disconnect between my love of writing and my reluctance to pursue it as a career. Instead of staying in a dreamy state of mind where all things are possible, I felt an urge to reject the idea and bury it with others from the past.
Since it produced such a strong reaction within me, I examined the belief in an attempt to learn about its origin and decipher its truth (or falsehood) once and for all.
By tracing back my thoughts, I stumbled upon a memory from elementary school.
I remembered my teacher requesting to talk to me after class one day. I cautiously approached her desk with my assignment in hand and was delighted to see her wearing a smile. She went on to affirm my latest writing—yet, in the same breath, she flippantly mentioned that writing was no way to earn a living.
She lightly chuckled, rolled her eyes a bit, and encouraged me to keep writing before saying I could return to recess.
The rest is a blur, but once I identified this memory, I had some questions on my mind:
What caused my teacher to believe this? What motivated her to share it with me?
I examined the memory a few times over, trying to recall fuzzy details about our classroom, the lessons she planned, the stories she shared…
Then a realization washed over me:
She was once a writer, too.
As an aspiring bestselling author, she frequently talked about her novels in class. Unfortunately, her books had never been traditionally published, causing the light behind her eyes to dim whenever she spoke of her fading dreams.
She continued to teach—a career path with more stability and security, to be sure—but it was clearly not what she wanted.
Life had not dealt her the hand she planned for, so in return, she passed her failed experiences to me—an enthusiastic but lost seven-year-old girl.
You may have been introduced to the same “starving artist” trope as a child.
It’s the idea that artists, musicians, writers, and creatives shouldn’t expect to make money from doing what they love. This all-too-common trope makes us believe there is little value in the work we produce and the skills we develop over time.
I’ve heard some form of this limiting belief from other teachers or professors, my parents, and close friends since then—not to mention the noisy cultural messages we all grow up with.
It’s no wonder I had never seriously thought about pursuing writing as a career. This early memory, coupled with decades of reinforcement, convinced me to chart a completely different course for my life.
Now I wasn’t so sure that the course I’d chosen was ever the right one for me.
Challenging your limited belief
Once you have identified a limiting belief, you have to make a choice.
Are you going to challenge its validity or let it sit in your mind undisturbed? Since I was in the depths of self-discovery, I chose to challenge it.
Returning to my journal, I spilled my thoughts onto the next blank page and prayed. I talked to the Holy Spirit about my fears and anxieties around writing as a career, giving all kinds of excuses and reasons not to move forward.
At that moment, I felt two words rumble inside of me: “Test me.”
I didn’t hear it through an audible voice or see a vision of what to do next, but its strength and clarity gave me the confidence I needed to test the belief. I mean, what did I have to lose?
The next day, I took action and bravely asked two of my social media consulting clients if they wanted to work together on their copywriting. Until then, I had only produced content for my own blog and a few clients at my previous agency job. Asking them required me to take a leap of faith.
I essentially told these two clients, Hey, so I’m not doing this thing anymore, but do you want to continue working together as I experiment with this other thing?
It was scary to ask the few clients I had to take a chance on me. They were the reason I was paying my bills and staying afloat, so it took every ounce of humility to surrender this fear.
To my surprise and delight, they both said yes!
This is why I tell entrepreneurs to focus on building strong, long-term relationships with their clients and audience. You never know when you’ll need to pivot, and many of them will stay with you as you walk through these transitions.
Their encouragement fueled me as I began working on my first paid copywriting projects. One of my clients hired me to write her website copy, and the other hired me to write a welcome email sequence.
From the moment I wrote the first drafts of my client’s website, I felt a sense of ease and a rush of peace, confirming this was what I needed to pursue. With this new clarity, I set out to rebrand myself as a copywriter: I relaunched my website, published an Interact quiz, and announced all of my new services.
However, there were a few more obstacles to overcome before I could successfully relaunch.