The Factors That Influence Your Personality -Your Belief System

Candidate undergoing personality test

by Mary Curran, Internationally renowned Personal & Executive Coach. 

Your beliefs are what drive you. They are intangible and frequently unconscious. They are often confused with facts.

A fact is usually something that has happened, whereas a belief is a generalisation about what will happen. It is a guiding principle. Some of our beliefs give us freedom, choice, and open possibilities.

Beliefs are formed haphazardly throughout our life from the meaning we give to our experience. If you find yourself thinking or believing “I’m a fake,” “I’ not good enough,” these are the thoughts/beliefs that feed the “Impostor Syndrome.”

These beliefs often play out in work and at home.

In my 23 years of experience as a coach, I believe that beliefs and values exert such a powerful influence over your life, they amount to one of the most important areas that we focus on in coaching.

You are the product of your belief system and your beliefs are the product of who you are and your value system. In other words you become your belief system. Although your beliefs can give you freedom, choice and open possibilities, other beliefs may disempower you, affect your behaviour in a negative way and close your choices.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – A quote from Henry Ford.

A great question to ask yourself is – Am I stuck in the now because of my past experiences, and my beliefs about that experience?

It is what you do with what happens to you in your life that matters. If you evaluate and take the learning from that experience, you can move forward with a positive message that you are doing great now. Everything is ok.

Self-limiting Beliefs

Unfortunately, it is human nature to maximise the negative and minimise the positives.  You give more attention to the bad things people say to you and allow them to form in your sub-conscious as negative self-limiting beliefs. Self-limiting beliefs take your power away, control and even destroy your life. It stops you from being the best version of who you are.

When you speak in terms of ‘I can’t;’ ‘I should not;’ ‘I suppose’ or use other passive terms such as: ‘maybe;’ ‘let us see how it goes/play it by ear;’ ‘I might;’ ‘I will try’ (which is an in-action word with no results), these are excuses.

Typical Self-limiting Beliefs are:

‘I’m not good enough;’ ‘Nobody believes in me;’ ‘I am not important.’

The ‘I’m not good enough’ self-limiting belief is a very common problem for lots of people and comes from trying to live life to the standard of you, as a perfectionist, or to somebody else’s standard.

Of course, you can never be happy if you live your life under this pressure because you are constantly thinking, ‘I have to do this’ or ‘I have to do that’ in relation to everything you do. You constantly compare yourself to others and continue the self-limiting belief – “I’m not good enough.”

‘I can’t do something’ is also a self-limiting belief, because when you say it, you close down every possibility of doing anything positive.

At work saying – ‘Nobody else can do this but me.’

This is also a self-limiting belief, coming from your ego. The result is you do not delegate and you take on too much work. When you take on personal responsibility and realise you do not have to do everything, as you have a choice, you then become empowered about how you choose to live your life.

Removing Self-Limiting Beliefs

“Catch them, challenge them and clear them.”

You can begin by removing “if” and replacing the word with “when.”

If” introduces doubt which prevents you from achieving your best.

Also tell yourself when clearing self-limiting beliefs:

‘From today I am not giving any more energy to this self-limiting belief.’

In coaching, I invite you to feel and imagine how holding onto a self-limiting belief has served you to date. Once you find that this self-limiting belief is only serving you in a negative way, you will readily let go of this self-limiting belief and work to replace this self-limiting belief with a positive affirmation.

To identify what self-limiting beliefs exist in your life and what new affirmations/beliefs are required to replace them, ask yourself the following questions:

How is this current self-limiting belief serving me?

How will my life be better with this new belief I am creating?

How might it be worse?

What is the best thing that can happen if I keep my old self-limiting belief?

What is the best thing that can happen if I move to my new belief?

It takes 27- 30 days of regularly repeating an affirmation and feeling it fully, to remove a self-limiting belief. Once you form the affirmations to counter your self-limiting beliefs, you will find that after this time the self-limiting beliefs will fade away.

Through repeating the positive affirmations, the brain forms new neural pathways, which in turn creates physical connections to the repeated affirmations.


Affirmations, which are statements or declarations to yourself that something is true, are very positive in helping to change self-limiting beliefs and behaviour patterns.

Some examples of affirmations are as follows:

‘I only attract like-minded people into my life every day.’

‘I believe I am a loving and powerful person and people are attracted to me because I care about them.’

‘I believe people listen to me with enthusiasm and respect.’

‘I am attracting a like-minded, loving person into my life right now.’

The most empowering belief you can ever have is:

‘I choose.’

The affirmations must be stated in the present tense; they must be positive and personal (for example, ‘I value my time and choose how I spend it’).

Once you have a positive belief system you are in control no matter what happens. Moving from “having to” to “I choose to” gives you back your power and reminds you that you have a choice.

About the author

Mary Curran is an internationally renowned Personal & Executive Coach. Apart from working with her Clients in Ireland, Mary sits on an American Platform where she coaches Leaders and CEOs worldwide.

Her passion is “Empowering People to move from Great to Brilliant” in all areas of their life, both personally and professionally. As a Personal & Executive Coach for 23 years, Mary has mentored and trained many of Ireland’s best coaches and made a positive impact on the careers and businesses of over thousands of individuals.

Having qualified in the University of Sussex as a Supervisor, Mary supervises many Coaches. Mary is Author of “Life Begins when you are ready to listen” and is out now on her website: She has appeared on RTE TV, Virgin Media, Newstalk and RTE Radio 1. In print, she has contributed to the Irish Times, Irish Independent and the Irish Examiner.