The Four Limiting Beliefs Stopping You From Creating a Business and Life You Want

With simplicity there is power, alignment, and purpose.

Your limiting mindset is holding you where you are.
Your limiting mindset is holding you where you are. Pexels

Do you have the mindset for greatness?

This isn’t hokey, fluffy, BS advice.

If you’re laughing at this point, or are about to close this article or think you know better, then you need this more than anyone else.

You’re not hitting your big goals and you clicked on this article for a reason, so at least give yourself a chance and finish this. All the advice and books in the world will be useless to you until you fix your mindset.

Your limiting mindset is holding you where you are.

One of the most powerful ads Nike has ever created doesn’t feature Michael Jordan or LeBron James. It pictures a chubby kid huffing and puffing as he’s running down an open road.

Nike’s ads usually feature great athletes—physical specimens at the peak of their careers who have already achieved extraordinary success.

And here is this fat kid…running…and he’s…great?

Yes, because he took the first step. He started doing.

Whoever made this ad for Nike is a genius and needs a raise.

This ad speaks directly to your mindset for greatness.

When you’re finding your greatness, you start at the beginning. Everyone starts at the beginning. And the beginning is really hard. Just taking the first step is hard. Maybe this kid wants to be a distance runner and win an Olympic medal. He tells his friends and family and they all laugh at him.

Classic #LittleMan behavior.

“You want to what? Um…have you looked at yourself in the mirror?”

This fat kid is you.

You have a big goal and you’re just getting started on it. You don’t have the skills. You don’t have the training. You don’t have the experience. You don’t have all the answers. So you’re going to make a lot of mistakes and you won’t make very much progress right away.

The difference is going to be how you see yourself when you look in the mirror. Do you honestly, deep down, see a future Olympic runner?

Or do you just see a fat kid?

If you see greatness, you’re ready for your One Word.

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word. —Buddha

Here’s the secret: There is One Word that defines who you are.

There is One Word that connects all the things in your life that make you come alive. Think about the friends you have, the music you listen to, the books you read, the movies you watch, the companies you’ve worked for, the businesses you’ve started. Think about everything in your life right now that you enjoy.

They are all connected.

Until you figure out what that connection is, you’ll never live up to your potential.

What’s your favorite song? And what does it have to do with who your best friend or favorite book is?

The answer is everything. And it can be boiled down to one simple, powerful word.

Great people can be described in One Word.

Martin Luther King Jr.: Equality. Oprah Winfrey: Heart. Steve Jobs: Impact. You: ?

If you want to break free from the chains of mediocrity and really make an impact, then it starts with finding your One Word.

You have to stand for something powerful and important.

You are where you are because of what you believe.

You are a product of your environment, the people around you, and the media and information that you consume.

However, there are Four Limiting Beliefs that hold you back from doing something great:

  1. It’s too bold.
  2. What do you think?
  3. Someone else is doing it.
  4. It’s too simple.

If you’ve ever had big goals but for some reason never took action…

If you’ve ever started something you really wanted to do and then stopped…

If you’ve ever built something to a certain level of success but then hit a plateau that you couldn’t break through…

Chances are it’s because of your limiting personal beliefs. If you want to change your circumstances, you start by changing your beliefs.

Your One Word is a big deal. It’s the life-changing, world-impacting, history-writing kind of deal.

And chances are the limiting beliefs (we all have some) that have held you back from doing big things before will hold you back again this time around.

So we need to start by addressing the four most common limiting beliefs many people have about their One Word.

Let’s go break some of your limiting beliefs!


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you…It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. —Marianne Williamson

“It’s too big, too daring, too bold.”

“Who am I to have such a big word like that?”

Stop. Right. There. The story you tell yourself about what you can’t do has hurt you for your entire life.

Don’t let it keep you down now. This is too important. Your One Word is supposed to be big. It’s supposed to inspire and motivate you.

It’s supposed to be bold.

Exercise 1: Think about yourself at age eighty, looking back on your life. Are you going to regret that you didn’t take action and believe in yourself because you were scared?

Exercise 2: Reflect on the message you want to spread to your children and grandkids. How are you going to authentically encourage them to follow their dreams when you didn’t follow yours?

Exercise 3: Look back on the first time you tried something new. You were scared and nervous. The next time it was easier—and even easier the time after that. Being bold becomes easier every time you practice being bold.

Exercise 4: Research the story of any famous entrepreneur you look up to. Chances are they started off in a situation that is no better than yours right now (it was probably way worse), and they made it. You can too.

Look at your One Word and feel empowered. Feel the energy that comes from it.

You’re going to use it to do great things and impact the lives of many people.

Be bold, be proud, and love it.


When you follow your heart, you’re never supposed to do things because of what you think people might say. You do it for the opposite reasons. —

Stop being ruled by the opinions and judgments of other people.

It’s okay to be collaborative. It’s okay to seek people’s counsel. It’s okay to ask for guidance. But if you’re unable to take action until you get the go-ahead from someone else, then you’ll never truly be in control of your life.

As I coach people through this process, I often get asked, “Evan, from what you know of me, what do you think of my One Word?”

This is your life. Live it. You don’t need anyone’s permission.

Finding your One Word is a very personal and intimate experience. I recommend searching for it in isolation from others. It doesn’t matter what your friends or family think. Don’t ask for their approval. Instead, go deeper within yourself to find it.

Take a few long walks. Meditate. Go away. Disconnect. Sleep on it. Hike. Bike. Run. Shower. If your One Word doesn’t come to you immediately, then you need to give yourself the mental space to figure it out.

Don’t talk with others more. Talk with yourself more.

This is your purpose and only you get to decide. You need to stop living their version of your life and start living your version of your life.

Get to the point where you have your One Word and you feel so good about it that it doesn’t matter who tells you it’s wrong. You’re sticking with it because it’s who… you…are.

I can’t pick your purpose.

I can’t answer the question for you.

Nobody can.

I can be your coach, but I can’t get on the field and score a touchdown for you. That’s on you.

The last thing you want to do is make a big decision like this based on what other people are thinking instead of making your fantasy come true.


If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants. —Isaac Newton

The more powerful a word you pick, the more it will have been used already.

My One Word, #Believe, has been used over and over and over again.

There have been seven movies and TV shows called Believe.

There are twenty-eight music albums called Believe. There are almost forty songs put out by major artists called “Believe.”

Justin Bieber and Cher both had Believe music tours. Britney Spears launched a fragrance line called Believe. Believe was the name of one of Shamu the whale’s shows at SeaWorld.

Believe was a marketing campaign used to promote the Halo 3 video game.

“Believe” has been used over and over again and will continue to be used because it’s a powerful word with a lot of meaning.

So does that mean I can’t use it?

Absolutely not.

I’m putting my own mark on the word. I’m using it in ways others haven’t yet.

Remember: you get to assign your own meaning to the word.

#Believe for me means (1) having passion for what you’re doing, (2) having confidence in yourself to start, and (3) having the conviction to follow through.

Everything I do embodies those three elements of #Believe. So if someone has already “taken” your One Word, that’s great! It means it’s powerful, and if you put your own twist on the word, you can have a big impact on the world.

The unique part isn’t the word but, instead, your take on the word.


Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. —Confucius

It’s too simple.

“I can’t be put into one single word. I want to say more.” This is a common reaction from people when they look at their One Word. If this is your reaction, then you probably needlessly over complicate a lot of things in your life or business.

Understand that there is incredible power and freedom in simplicity. Power to set the direction of, and change, your life. Power to make it easy for people to help you on your journey. Power to impact millions of people and change their lives.

Like Steve Jobs said, it’s “about values. This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us…And so, we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.”

Remember that you get to define what your One Word means to you.

Your One Word can represent parallel ideals that all have deep meaning.

Most people think #Believe is about believing in yourself (self-confidence). That’s only part of what it means to me. To me it’s also about believing in what you’re doing (following your passion) and believing it will work out (perseverance). “Confidence,” “passion,” and “perseverance” are all related words brought together in my One Word, #Believe.

That’s what turns “believe” into #Believe.

Recall the example from earlier to turn multiple words into One Word:

You can also combine multiple words that may seem like they’re not related into a more meaningful One Word that unites them. For example if you love adventure but also value caring for others, maybe your One Word becomes #Heart, which you define to be following your heart (adventure) and being heartfelt toward others (caring). You take two unrelated words and bring them together to form your One Word, #Heart, to better define who you are and what kind of life you want to live.

With simplicity there is power, alignment, and purpose.

Get it down to One Word.

At 19, Evan Carmichael built then sold a biotech software company. At 22, he was a VC helping raise $500k to $15mil. He now run, a popular website for entrepreneurs. His book, Your One Word: The Powerful Secret to Creating a Business and Life That Matter, is available now.

The Four Limiting Beliefs Stopping You From Creating a Business and Life You Want