fingerprint seen through magnifying glassSome people come to me looking for coaching because they think they need an entirely new career. And some of those people really do, but others might just need a tweak in their outlook.


And I’m not talking about “just think positive”, or “if you get lemons, make lemonade”…


It’s actually simpler and more fact-based than that.


Current beliefs can limit your fulfillment


Sometimes we can have limiting beliefs about what we’re supposed to be doing at work. Do any of these sound familiar to you?


  • Work is not supposed to be fun, if it were fun, why would anyone pay me to do it?
  • If I’m not feeling drained at the end of the day, I haven’t worked hard enough
  • I’m successful at work to the extent I can turn off my need to experience joy and fulfillment


This is just a short list, but there are countless limiting beliefs surrounding work may have worked for us in the past for good reasons, but that can now hold us back from feeling fulfilled. If you’re living with one of these limiting beliefs, what can you do to tweak your outlook?


Turn the belief around and look for proof that it’s true


Try this ‘trick’ that someone* taught me:


  1. Identify your limiting belief
  2. State the opposite (non-limiting) belief
  3. Find evidence around you for the non-limiting belief

Wait, what?


OK, as an example, let’s use this limiting belief for Step 1:


Work is not supposed to be fun


Let’s say that having this belief is keeping me from doing work that is fun, which is what I’d love to have in my life. In Step 2, I turn the limiting belief statement around:


Work is supposed to be fun


Just saying something and not believing it isn’t much good, which is why the third step is to find evidence to convince yourself.


Find evidence that the opposite of your limiting belief is true

I’m not saying you need to do a scientific, statistically significant research study. I’m saying give yourself the assignment to find one example. Just start there. It can be in your own life, or in someone else’s.


In the case of finding evidence that “work is supposed to be fun”, you might think of situations in your current work where you actually have fun. Just brainstorm, don’t limit yourself in what you come up with. It could be that you enjoy getting coffee with co-workers. Or that you like an aspect of your job—maybe you love when you can spend time holed up working on a spreadsheet or a presentation. Whatever it is, it’s fine.


And resist the temptation to tell yourself, “Yeah, that’s great that I have fun 5% of the time, but my problem is with the other 95% when I don’t have fun.”  The key to the trick is to notice when you do.


Now you know that your limiting belief is not always true

When you find evidence for your non-limiting belief being true, and start noticing how that works for you, you’ll:

  1. Realize that what you currently believe, and is holding you back, is not always true
  2. Begin to find more evidence to counter your limiting belief


You’ll usually find more examples of the non-limiting belief being true, both in your own work and life, and in others. And the more you notice it (i.e., the more you focus on fun at work, in this example), the more you’ll attract it. Consciously or unconsciously, you’ll begin figuring out how to do more of what you want—in this case, have fun at work.


When you focus on what you want, you tend to get more of it


I was working in a job where it felt very much like a bad fit. I was doing a lot of work that wasn’t my cup of tea—a lot of data work, a lot of Excel spreadsheet work. I didn’t feel I was good at it, and I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, I was hating it.


One day I decided to try focusing on the aspects of the job that I did enjoy. The parts where I built relationships with teammates and business partners. The parts where I got to use my presentation and communication skills. And noticing how much joy and fulfillment those aspects of work brought me. The simple act of noticing that was very powerful.


I think that simply noticing can often be enough to create a shift in outlook that can result in greater job fulfillment. When you notice what’s fulfilling about what you’re already doing—even if you’re not feeling as fulfilled as often or as much as you’d like—you end up feeling that fulfillment more intensely. Maybe enjoying it more than you otherwise would. And that can be its own intrinsic benefit.


But the benefits don’t need to stop there.


Other people like it when you feel more fulfilled

Other people, consciously or unconsciously, are ‘infected’ by the joy and fulfillment you experience. Maybe you come off as happier, more relaxed, and easier to be around and work with.


And everyone, consciously or unconsciously, starts thinking, “This is nice, how can we get Juan/Jill to do more of this? This works.” And all the people you come in contact with around the subject of work will somehow look for and create opportunities for you to do more of what you find fulfilling.



What do you think? Will you give this ‘trick’ a try? What has been your experience with countering limiting beliefs at work?



* The someone who taught me this trick is Master Certified Coach Vicki Escude, with Success Unlimited Network.