Why are you keeping yourself small?


By Stephane Leblanc, Founder and CEO, International Centre for Conscious Leadership

In my work as a catalyst for the transformation of leaders, I often meet people who are keeping themselves small by allowing their fears and limiting beliefs to stop them from rising to their full potential and fulfilling their dreams.

As we live a human life full of challenges, all of us have been hurt along the journey of our life and we all have acquired fears and limiting beliefs. Unless we have done some inner work, for most of us, these fears and limiting beliefs are well established in our subconscious and, although we may not be aware of them, they have a significant impact on our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

The most common fears that limit people's potential are the fear of failure, the fear of being embarrassed, the fear of being rejected and the most common limiting beliefs are I am not good enough, I am not worthy, and I am not lovable. These fears and limiting beliefs keep us small as they stand in the way of our true greatness.

Many people choose to stay small as it is more comfortable as they don't have to stretch themselves, even though they know they are not fulfilled and are living well below their full potential.

Chogyam Trungpa said this on fearlessness: "Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others." I love this quote because it shows us that fearlessness is more about being human than being perfect.

People will go to great length to avoid confronting their fears and limiting beliefs with the result that they are not having the impact they desire in the world. I have met some people that were so afraid to disturb others, that they could not grow their Linked-in network. I have also met some who dreamt of becoming public speakers but were so afraid to be humiliated on stage that they never did their first speech.

Most of these fears were acquired when we were very young. I used to work with a woman who was very afraid to speak in public. She had been educated in France and when she was young she went to the front of the class to solve a problem on the board and she was humiliated in front of the class by the teacher as she could not solve the problem properly. From then on, just the thought of speaking in public brought fears in her. One night, while we were leading a workshop, she started to speak in front of 40 people and she suddenly froze. She immediately looked at me and in her eyes, I saw that she was asking me to save her. In my eyes, I told her to step through her fear. After an uncomfortable moment of silence, she started to speak again and in that instant, she started to heal her fear of public speaking and of being humiliated.

In my experience, we can only heal our fears and limiting beliefs but recognizing them and choosing to step through them with courage. The only way out is through. This is the hero's journey that all great women and men have gone through to rise to their full potential by becoming their true selves and embracing their life mission.

I experienced this myself as I tried to launch my own organization. After a long career as a senior executive in large international organizations, I was quite disillusioned by the traditional corporate world which was not very conscious and I had the vision of starting my own global organization to be a catalyst for leaders transformation all around the world.

Even though I had developed great skills in developing people over the years as I had managed large organizations of 3000 people with revenues of 2.5 billion $, deep inside me, I did not think I was good enough to become an entrepreneur. My biggest fear was to be rejected for who I truly was and to not make enough money to provide for my family. My biggest limiting belief was that I was not good enough. It took me five years from the time I had the vision to create my own organization to me actually creating it. One day, I just jumped with courage and two years later, I am so happy I did as I am living my life purpose and I am impacting so many people around the world.

Humanity is going through a lot of challenges and many believe we are at a crossroad, that whom we choose to be and what we choose to do in the next few years will define our fate as a species. 

There is no more time to stay small, humanity needs all of use to step through our fears and limiting beliefs so we can rise to our full potential and make the biggest contribution we can to the evolution of humanity. Our society is the reflection of all of us and we will not make it if most people stop themselves from expressing their true selves due to their fears and limiting beliefs. It is time to open our hearts to find the courage to transform ourselves and let go of being small.

Why are you keeping yourself small?