Have you ever looked at someone else and wondered "how in the world did she ever pull THAT off?" Maybe it was getting a big raise when company finances were tight, or creating a brand new, exciting position for herself, or even breaking the "rules" of how things are "supposed" to work? How DID she do that?

We'll get to that in a second. Beliefs and fears dictate how we perceive the world, ourselves, and our expectations (we look at fears in more detail in a separate article).

Beliefs are "an opinion or conviction" whether right or wrong. These form your mind's "rules" of the game of life. People once believed that the earth was flat. This belief prevented them from exploring and understanding their world, because they were convinced that you could sail a boat right off the edge of the earth, so sailing off into the sunset would be a suicide mission!

So what beliefs might you have (consciously or subconsciously) that hold you back? Here are some examples:

• I have to work hard to get ahead.
• I get fulfillment from my personal life, not my work life.
• I'm not skilled enough (or don't know enough) yet.
• I'm too old.
• I'm too young.
• I'm not good enough.
• I'm a fraud - my success is due to luck/my company/being in the right place at the right time.
• I can't have it all.
• If I (make a lot of money / make Executive / get the promotion), my friends won't like me as much.
• To get ahead here, I'd have to give up my personal life.
• I can't get a new job in this economy.
• Everyone in leadership is a jerk -- they don't care about the "little people" like me.

which of these do you believe? What other beliefs do you hold?

You may know the story of the four-minute mile. For years, the fastest runners in the world could not run the mile in less than four minutes. Everyone therefore believed it could not be done. When Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3 minutes 59 seconds in 1954, it seemed an earth-shattering feat. Within 46 days, another great runner, John Landy, had also broken the 4-minute threshold. And by the end of 1957, sixteen runners had recorded sub-four-minute miles. As soon as people let into their thoughts and their beliefs that it could be done, it was. Over and over.

Look back at your list of beliefs. What if you could shift your beliefs and believed instead...

...it is easy to get ahead in life?
...you can be fulfilled in all areas of your life?
...you are enough, and knowledgeable enough, right now?
...age has no impact on how you make your decisions?
...you are good enough just as you are?
...you deserve your success?
...you can have it all?
...achieving your goals makes you more of who you are, and the people in your life appreciate who you are?
...you can get ahead and have a meaningful personal life?
...the right job is right around the corner, and you are perfect for it?
...leaders are much like you and care about the people who work for them?

Is it possible that you're holding yourself back based on some of your beliefs? If you believed the opposite or something better, how would you look at the world differently? What might you do that you're not doing now? What conversations would you have? What actions would you take? And finally, how much of a difference would it make in your life?

To return to your "how in the world did she pull that off?" friend, think about the beliefs that person holds, and how they contrast with the beliefs you hold. What does she believe that you do not (or vice versa)? All of a sudden, maybe it's not quite so strange that she did pull it off, after all.

Author's Bio: 

If you like this article, get your Top 10 Ways to Rock Your Role report at no charge, and receive career management articles and tips from http://www.careerevolutiongroup.com.

Lauren Still (MBA, CTACC) is a strategic career coach for motivated professionals. She works with individuals and organizations to increase performance, “connect the dots” between where the individual is and where they want/need to be, maintain healthy work-life balance, and achieve goals and objectives more quickly. Lauren keeps her clients’ “rising stars” on their upward trajectory, and helps them avoid the “crash and burn” that many high-achieving professionals encounter.