inner critic

All of the clients who work with me are working toward a goal. Some are looking to find their voice in their organization. Others are looking to play bigger at work. Others are working on becoming better leaders, etc. As they are working toward their goal, many of them get stuck because of limiting beliefs. Their ‘doing‘ side is committed to moving forward and taking the actions to make it happen. In fact, they are focused on taking action, action, action to move forward, yet, for some reason, aren’t getting there.

They have their foot on the gas, so why aren’t they moving?

Doing vs Being

What they don’t realize is that their other foot, their ‘being‘ side, is pressing on the brake. Their ‘doing’ side is working as hard as it can to move forward but their ‘being’ side is saying,

“These actions are too much of a risk, we cannot move forward.”

To move forward, we need to investigate the ‘being’ side. Why would it say that?
What is keeping the brake on?

Limiting beliefs list

The ‘being’ side is responding to internal barriers or limiting beliefs that are resisting the actions from the ‘doing’ side. There are many limiting beliefs that may keep us from moving forward. The limiting beliefs list is unique to each individual. Let’s look closer at 4 of these that I run into regularly with my clients.


We all have a safety instinct inside us. We are wired to be alert to danger. That fear can freeze us and work against our actions. What role is fear playing in keeping the foot on the brake? What are the fears? How does it feel? When does it show up? What is the fear’s end game, i.e. what is the worst possible outcome? Confronting that fear and seeking to understand it is necessary for lasting change.

Underlying risks

On the surface, we may believe we want to take action, to grow, to change. Our brain can logically see the benefits of the change. However, underneath that top layer, we have worries and we have assumptions of who we are and who we want to be. Those worries and assumptions can act as an impediment to growth and development. We want to change externally, but internally the risk of that change is too high based on those worries and assumptions. We have to work through those worries and assumptions before we can take action on the change.

Inner critic

The inner critic is the manifestation of the safety instinct mentioned above. The inner critic is the voice in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough, not smart enough, and shouldn’t take the risk. It may be the inner critic whose foot is on the brake. Working to understand that inner critic so that you can hear the voice without taking direction from it may be necessary before change can happen.

Patterns of behavior

We all have patterns of behavior, beliefs and thoughts we have carried with us throughout our entire lives. They are so ingrained in us that we are subject to them; we don’t know there is a different way. Digging into these beliefs, thoughts, and patterns of behavior is necessary before we can take action on the change we are seeking.

If it feels like your foot is on the gas, but you aren’t making progress toward your goal, you may need to look inside to see what might have be causing your other foot to step on the brake.


limiting beliefs, Limiting Beliefs: Is your Foot on the Gas, the Brake or Both?

Amy Wolfgang

Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.

Schedule a Consultation
limiting beliefs, Limiting Beliefs: Is your Foot on the Gas, the Brake or Both?

We meet you where you are on your career journey.

Take the first step now by scheduling a free initial consultation.


You May Also Be Interested in...