Jenna Holloway – Releasing Limiting Beliefs to Unleash Leadership Potential

By PeopleLeaders | People Leaders Podcast

Jenna Holloway - Releasing Limiting Beliefs to Unleash Leadership Potential

Leaders often have good intentions and great ideas, even great visions, for themselves, but often they don’t succeed in bringing those intentions to fruition.

This is not exclusive to leaders of course, but the result of a leader falling short of their potential is that their team can often be affected as well.

In this interview, with Jenna Holloway, Jan discusses the impact of limiting beliefs on our performance, the underlying cause of limiting beliefs, how they play out in day-to-day life, and what we can do about them to stop them limiting our potential.

Listen closely, especially to the bits about non-judgment and self awareness. And let us know if this episode hits the spot with you or if it gives you food for thought.

Episode Highlights:
  • [01:31] Where Do Limiting Beliefs Come From?
  • [06:00] How Can You Identify Limiting Beliefs?
  • [10:42] What Can You Do About Limiting Beliefs?
  • [15:11] Do You Need to Know Where Limiting Beliefs Came From?
  • [20:36] How Can a Leader Develop Their Own Self-Awareness?
  • [27:55] What Else Can a New Leader Do to Support Their Leadership?
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NB: This transcript has been AI generated and may contain some slight errors. Please judge our efforts accordingly 🙂

Jan Terkelsen: [00:00] So, hello everyone. Welcome to the People Leaders Podcast. I'm really looking forward to this episode in particular as I get to ask questions and learn from an expert. So without any further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Jenna Holloway.

 a multi award-winning hypnotherapist and intuitive mindset coach, and she uses subconscious reprogramming and intuitive mentorship to help leaders, coaches, and other service providers really break free from self-sabotage, overwork and also overwhelm. And as we know this year our focus is on new and emerging leaders.

And for this particular episode Jenna is gonna share with us some really interesting strategies so we don't actually feel overwhelmed when perhaps we are still overworked. So, welcome, Jenna.

Jenna Holloway: Thank you. Nice to meet you. Thanks for having me. Okay. Yeah.

[01:31] Where Do Limiting Beliefs Come From?

Jan Terkelsen: So when we first started looking at this interview, you know what really piqued my interest is the notion on limiting beliefs because, you know, our limiting beliefs are such a foundation of, you know, our behaviours and that.

So I'd like to ask you like, where do you think limiting beliefs come from? You know, what are they?

Jenna Holloway: Yeah, such a good question. Limiting beliefs. Well start, I'll go right back to the beginning. What our brain, when we are a child, we are programming our minds. So we are not born with a set of programs, you know, we literally learn everything.

We learn how to walk, we learn how to talk, and we also learn so much about ourselves and how life works, and we pick that up, just being a sponge as a child.

We don't have a conscious brain online in our early childhood, so we literally just soak up everything and we form beliefs, like we build our understanding as we're growing up and we form beliefs about who we are and our place in the world.

Now, unfortunately we're doing this as a child, so we don't have the maturity to understand context or nuance or big picture things.

So for example, if our parent is super stressed one day and flies off a handle at us, we might form a limiting belief in that moment that, you know, well, whatever the situation is, it's crazy.

Like we can form limiting beliefs on the smallest, most mundane, innocuous circumstances. But because we don't have that maturity to have the big understanding of what is actually going on in that moment, we can form a belief there, right there in. And that belief can be positive of course, but if it's, if it's a negative belief that holds us back, then it, it, it will stay with us.

All beliefs stay with us unless we change them, right? But they are formed and they stay in the subconscious mind. So that means that we are not necessarily even conscious of what beliefs we have and our beliefs, they stay with us into adulthood and they affect everything.

Because they affect how we perceive situations, how we feel in situations, the actions that we take, everything, because it's our subconscious brain that is taking in the world around us all the time, and putting it through the filter of, "What have I experienced before? How has this kind of, what does this kind of thing remind me of subconsciously and what, how should I act in this moment?"

And the reason our brain is doing this is to keep us safe. It only cares about our survival. And it doesn't care about our happiness, our dreams, our confidence, or what we wanna do to succeed.

It doesn't care about any of that. And so this is how the limiting beliefs completely shape our success and how we are able to show up for our teams and, and drive our teams forward in everything.

And I think what's really, what's really pertinent to the people listening to this podcast is you can feel extremely successful, extremely confident, really at the top of your game, in your career, and then, somebody sees something in you and you get this responsibility to lead a team, and then suddenly it's like the carpet has been whipped from under your feet and you just lose all of this confidence.

Suddenly you feel vulnerable and it just, it feels so unnerving, because you're like, "Why do I feel this way? I've always been confident."

And that's because you are suddenly you are, you are, you are being put in a new position where you are being, being made to lead. And that is almost like you know, if you imagine being an entrepreneur and you've been really successful, really been really successful in sales, and then you go and run your own business and you have to sell something and you just can't do it in the same way.

It's because you are driving the ship forwards and suddenly all your vulnerabilities come to the surface and can be really, it can be really hard to navigate that because it's always how we feel that matters because how we feel affects how we show up, and the ne, the moves that we make and how we feel is, is always governed by the beliefs that we hold in the subconscious mind. So it's hugely important.

[06:00] How Can You Identify Limiting Beliefs?

Jan Terkelsen: And it's interesting because you know, my sister is an identical, we're identical twin sisters, so we had a similar, you know, framework around our family, but we are very different, based on our beliefs.

And it's really interesting some of her beliefs, you know, like I look at her and think, "Wow!" Okay, you know, she doesn't have any limiting beliefs around finances and things like that.

Whereas I have some limiting beliefs around those and, and vice versa. So it's really interesting to use her as a mirror around, "Oh, okay. That's a limiting belief for me," because I can see that it is possible and, and she does that for me.

So it's a really nice way that we can see that. So for other people who don't have twin sisters, how do you actually connect with, so what is a limiting belief for me that's holding me back? How do you know? How can you actually identify them?

Jenna Holloway: Such a good question. And just before we go any further, I have twins too.

They're not identical, but yeah. Oh, it's just very precious. They'll be a twin. They're not, I dunno if you can see behind me, I've got one curly, I've got one curly brown hair, one and one blonde straight hair, one. They are so different. But yeah, the question, what was the question?

How, how can you identify what your limiting beliefs are? What's your next move? It's a really good question.

So, Basically nothing about us. Okay, how do I explain this? We any feeling that you have that is less than positive or neutral is a pattern and a program in a subconscious mind. Okay? So if you are in a situation and, and it's good, it's really important to, to foster a really good relationship with your body.

So you recognize and you are able to feel your emotions because that, that's your guide. Your emotions are your guide and they... like, when you're feeling triggered, for example, it's really important that you see that from a place of power, personal power, because it's, it's great if, if you're triggered that that's your sign, you've got something to work through there, then you can get on and do that.

But if you are not in tune with yourself, if you need to do a lot of personal development basically, then, then you, you've got a lot of work to do, but the more you can commit to personal development, the more successful you're going to be.

Because the moment that you notice that you feel slightly uncomfortable in a situation, or you have a negative emotion, or whatever that may be, you know instantly that that is a pattern and a program.

It's not who you are, it's just your wiring, and our brains are neuroplastic. That just means that we can con, we can change our brains, we can change them, we can rewire them.

And so when you realise that something feels less than positive or neutral, you can just go within and you can say, "That's interesting. What is making me feel that way?" Because ultimately, everything about how we're experiencing the world is a choice.

Nothing can, for example, nothing can make us annoyed. We choose to be annoyed. And when we're annoyed, we are triggered. Right. So it's, it's, it's showing, it's mirroring something within you too. To grow through and to heal basically, because you weren't born that way.

You've, you've experienced something in your life that formed a belief, for example that you are, you are not good enough, or you are not worthy, or people judge you or whatever it is, that isn't true.

It's just something, it's a limiting belief that you've formed and it's unhelpful.

Any limit, any belief that's limiting is gonna be holding you back in some way because it's triggering you and our brains do not care about our success or anything, they only care about keeping us safe.

So when our subconscious mind detects danger or detects something that we think isn't good enough based on what we think isn't safe based on what we've experienced before, for example, the chance of promotion, you know, for example, everybody's telling you, you will be amazing for that role, and consciously, you know, you would, but you hold yourself back from ever going for it or ever speaking up in meetings or ever being direct in your communication with that one person in your team that intimidates you a little bit.

Whatever it is, you are going to adapt your behavior subconsciously to protect yourself. And the limiting belief doesn't need to be there. And it's the limiting belief that's gonna get you to self-sabotage away from the things that consciously you want to create in your life and in your career.

[10:42] What Can You Do About Limiting Beliefs?

Jan Terkelsen: Yeah, I love that, Jenna. You know, there is that, the dichotomy of feeling safe but also growing. And when we are growing that's when we actually have to go beyond what perhaps our feelings are telling us.

But you know, as you said, your emotions are such a good guidance system for us, and I love that notion of any feeling that is less than positive is a program or a pattern.

So there you have it. Like, you know, once you actually understand that, oh, okay, something is rising within me and being really curious and, and have that sense of inquiry about it, then you can actually have maybe a conversation. So, now I've started to identify some limiting beliefs. What can I do about it then?

Jenna Holloway: You, first of all, you try and work out where it's come from, because any limiting belief that you have, you've gathered in a moment. Okay?

So it could be somebody like if you are, if you are nervous of speaking in public, it could be that there's been a comment made by a teacher when you were a child. It might have been very well meant. It might not have been, you know, a mean teacher or anything like that.

It might have just been a comment that you misinterpreted or, you know, just didn't get, you know, you misinterpreted and therefore you formed a limiting belief.

And from my work, it's just absolutely incredible where limiting beliefs come from. So for example, you could. You could be putting your hand up in class as a child and get the answer wrong, and nobody laughs at you, nobody makes fun of you. The teacher is really kind, says, "That's a really interesting point. Let me explain why that's not the case."

Or, you know, from an outsider looking in, there's no reason at all why you would see a limited belief formed in that moment. But if the child feels embarrassed and feels, if they make that, it's not the, if, basically what I'm saying is it's not the situations that you live through, it's not the experiences that you have as a child that make you form limiting beliefs.

It's what you make those experiences mean about you and your place in the world. So when you are triggered as an adult in life, in your, in your career, whatever, it's good. You just need to work out where has it come from and what is the limiting belief, like, if you can write it down.

And just show, like, see it with your, with your mind's eye and get perspective and be like, "Okay, that is absolutely not true, and I know exactly where that came from. That was some unkind child that lived on my street. That looking back at that situation as an adult, I can clearly see that that child had a lot of issues, you know? You know, was a bully because they were bullied, they had a, you know, shouty dad or whatever it was."

You can see from an adult perspective, when you're looking back at that situation, why that happened. So therefore you, you're basically, what you're doing there is you are bringing something unconscious to the conscious.

It's like you're turning the light bulb on and you can see what's going on, and then you've got, you've got the power to be like, "Right, okay, that's absolutely not true. I'm gonna choose a different belief."

And there's so much power in just deciding and being aware because when you've made that decision to change that belief, you then need to have that relationship with yourself to work with that new wiring in your brain to enforce that new worrying. You want to make that wiring stronger than the old worrying.

So, the positive self-talk going on in your mind is super important from that moment onwards because you want to look for evidence that that new belief that you've chosen is true.

And as I, I think I've said this already, your brain is only wired to be negative because it kinda cares about your survival, so it's always gonna look for the evidence of something that's gonna keep you safe. So it's gonna look for the negative evidence.

So you've got to really work on this. When you decide on a more empowering belief to have, you have to really work on it to look for the evidence of what that's true. And you can keep a diary. You can keep a list of all the evidence that makes that true and go back in time as well. There'll be so much evidence that you have for this new belief that your brain was just as disregarded because it wasn't relevant before.

[15:11] Do You Need to Know Where Limiting Beliefs Came From?

Jan Terkelsen: Absolutely. And that notion around collecting evidence. So what we recommend for new and emerging leaders, any feedback or any especially positive feedback, testimonials from clients about the work that they've done, we ask them to keep a file. And every now and then when they're in that state of, you know, imposter syndrome or they're not, you know, feeling confident they have to actually do something, go back and see how other people see you as well.

You know, so that's a another way of just boosting that, and I like that idea of that positive self-talk because you have to be your biggest cheerleader, because the world around and you are gonna find there are going to be opportunities for you to you know, like challenge that in every facet of your life, but the person who is gonna stay with you for your life is you. So why wouldn't you instigate a cheerleader?

And we often say to people, you know, you wanna talk to yourself like you would your 12 year old child on a good day. You know, be really clear and kind and optimistic and yeah, things like that.

Yeah. So what if you can't trace a limiting belief. So you have an awareness. There is an emotion coming up, but you know, you are trying to, like, "Is it my imagination that I think it happened, you know, with the, my teacher or my mother or my father or sister?" What if you actually can't land on it? Or you’re second guessing yourself?

Is it important to really identify where it came from, the source?

Jenna Holloway: That's such a good question. And it is really hard to do by yourself. But ultimately, no, you don't have to find the route. You, you just decide that new belief and it, I mean, it's harder if you can't find the root cause. I mean, I'd, I'd recommend working with, with a hypnotherapist, like myself, or you know, somebody who works with subconscious reprogramming, cuz the, it's the fastest way to do that reprogramming.

But ultimately you don't need to. You can, because our brains are neuroplastic, you get to change them yourself, but it does require effort and consistency and repetition and exactly like you say, that relationship that you have with yourself is the most important one because your brain is always listening to you.

So if you want to, if you want to rewire a limiting belief to one that is empowered, you're not gonna be able to do it unless you have a positive, you, unless you are your own cheerleader, because every your brain's listening to every thought that you have and every word that you say and that self-talk that inner dialogue is so, so important.

If you wanna build yourself up, if you wanna feel good, if you wanna be able to manage risk and be bold and make old move and things, you have to have that good relationship with yourself inside, because you are always there. You know, there's no getting away from your own mind or your thoughts. Like, it's such a game changer when you really have that really positive relationship with yourself.

And the thing that I forgot I wanted to say earlier, just coming back to it, is when I said that, you know, your brain only cares about your survival and that, that literally is it nothing else. When it detects that you've hesitated on something, it will know. It will know that that is something that is risky because anything other than what you are doing without hesitation...

You know, for example, you go into the bathroom to brush your teeth, you don't hesitate. You just go in and do it. But if you have a great idea and you don't immediately act, take action on it, then, then it, your brain is gonna go, "Ding, there's a risk here."

And so what it then does is it will magnify that risk and give you all of the possible scenarios about why not to do that. You know, out, the negative will far outweigh why it was originally a good idea, and then you'll procrastinate and stop yourself doing it.

So it's really, really important to just know and have this level of awareness about how the brain works, so that you are aware that your brain does this kind of thing and you can just be on your own team and really get the best out of yourself. It really does start with personal development and that work, that inner work.

Jan Terkelsen: Yeah. And you know, to your point is that you have to be conscious. You know, you really have to be aware of the words that you are saying out loud, but also inside your head because that's just a, you know, a precedent that you're, that you are really setting, isn't it?

There's a book that we always recommend to our clients. It's called The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. And one of the agreements is to be immaculate with your words, you know, because they are really powerful, aren't they? And so powerful.

The other thing about, you know, you said so many things, which I, I totally love about developing your level of awareness, and for any leadership program that we do, the first module, the first port of call is to know thyself. Because then you are setting the foundation and also you then have the right to lead others. You know what I mean? Like, if you can't lead yourself in a way that's true and authentic and clear, how can you actually lead other people in a way that you know is going to be those things as well.

Jenna Holloway: Yeah, so I completely agree.

[20:36] How Can a Leader Develop Their Own Self-Awareness?

Jan Terkelsen: Yeah. So is there any other suggestion that you would have, Jenna, for new and emerging leaders who actually want to develop their level of self-awareness? Like what are some of the things that they could do?

Jenna Holloway: Oh, that's such a good question. How, how long have you got?

I would say, first of all, get good at observing yourself. Be like non-judgmentally, observe yourself. And it's also really important to not box yourself and see, you know, only watch yourself at work because who, how you do one thing is how you do everything right? So look at your behavior when you are, when no one's watching you.

And what, so you, you know, your emotional intelligence is, is so, so important. And, and the more you can work on yourself, the more you're gonna be able to hold space for your team and get the best out of your team. And so yeah, watch, observe yourself and just practice, practice that, observing yourself, but with pure total grace.

Never ever make yourself feel wrong. For something there, there's just no point. Like shame is a very, very low vibrational emotion and it's heavy. And it is, I talk about this concept of life where you've got all of your ambitions, all the things that you want to experience in your career and in your life in general.

And you've got this house, like the house is your current reality. And at the moment, everything, every seat in the house is taken, is taken up. There's no space and all your dreams, everything that you want to experience and create and live, all the things, they're all standing outside on the doorstep.

And they're right there because anything you imagine you can create, literally everything that we see in the world was once imagined in the mind's eyes. So we can do it, but the minute you imagine it, the thing that you decide you want, it's landed on your doorstep. It's right there, but it's not gonna come in because it knows that every seat in the house is taken. It's much as it, as much as it's ready, as much as you're ready for it, it's not gonna come in. So what you need to do is you need to see the seats in the house as alignment.

So anything that is misaligned, anything that is, that you are doing in your life that is not fully congruent with who you truly are and what you truly want and your identity and everything.

You know, so people pleasing that takes up a lot of space in the house. Stuff from the past that you are carrying around, like you've got if you haven't done much personal development or healing, you know. I call it healing because it is, it literally is removing the heavy things from the house that you've lived through in the past that you don't need anymore. They're taking up space.

And when you do this work, you are reprogramming your limiting beliefs, for example, you're clearing so much space, and in your dreams can come. It's about creating space and the more space that you have for example, emotionally, when you do this work on yourself, you could hold space for so much.

You just don't hold yourself back anymore.

So I can't remember your, in your original question, Jan. Sorry. Oh. Just

Jan Terkelsen: about how do you develop self-awareness and so that

Jenna Holloway: Oh, I've been going that long.

Jan Terkelsen: No, that's beautiful. It's beautiful about the observation. Yeah.

Jenna Holloway: Yes, it's observing yourself, absolutely watching and just noticing without shame, without judgment, and never trying not to ever make yourself feel wrong.

Like this is, this is another thing as well, I've not even said yet. Perception is everything, because nothing in life is positive or negative. It just is. And how you perceive it is your choice. And so when you are perceiving something as something that is basically disempowering for you, that's not helpful.

So you've got the, you've got the opportunity there to reframe it. How can I see this in a different light in a different way? What's another perspective? And without, again, without judging, without making yourself feel bad, just coach yourself through it. Be more empowered like that is the way forward.

Because, because it's like, It's like when it's like turning the light on basically. If you are not aware, if you're not seeing what you are doing, you're just moving through life on an auto pilot, repeating the same unhelpful patterns that you've repeated all of your life, which are resulting in, you know, missed opportunities or disappointment or, you know, unfulfillment.

Jan Terkelsen: Hmm. And when you, that's fascinating. Like when I'm hearing this, I'm, I'm just thinking about all the people who hesitate, you know, like, "I need to have that difficult conversation, but, you know, I, I, it's too uncomfortable for me." And so that's creating space in the house, you know, because, exactly...

And, and again, you are kind of limiting that potential not only for you, but also the person who may be gifted when you actually do have that difficult conversation or you do share your observations.

And you'll notice about creating space. So, space for me, you know, meditation creates that spaciousness in my mind. Mm-hmm. So I actually can allow those thoughts.

And the other point that I thought was brilliant of yours is that hesitancy. You know, when there is a moment of hesitancy, your body knows. You know, your body can't lie. And so therefore, it's so important to follow that charm and to back yourself when it does come, come to you.

And there's a response behind why you do that.

Jenna Holloway: Yeah, absolutely. And that thing that you were saying about if you're putting off having a difficult conversation, just notice what story are you telling yourself? Because you are, you are deciding, you are basically predicting the future. You are deciding what the other person is thinking, how it's gonna pan out, and you don't know that at all.

That is one possible story in a limitless potential outcomes and potential realities. So notice what story you're telling yourself in your mind. And take ownership of that. You know, tell your, it's not necessarily true. You've decided one possible option, and that is more than likely not true because your brain is trying to keep you safe.

And actually you, when you zoom out and see the bigger, bigger picture, you can see that actually having this difficult conversation is probably the right thing to do because it is in the other person's best interest.

When we act out of people pleasing, we try and predict how other people feel, and you can never, ever do that because you only have one, why your brain is so unique to everybody else's because the lived experiences and beliefs and the values that you have are so different from everybody else.

So you cannot predict how somebody is going to respond, so you waste so much energy doing this and our energy is finite. We choose where we place our energy.

So claim all of that back. Decide not to do people pleasing because ultimately when you stop people pleasing, you act in alignment with what's best for you, and it is always in the best interest of other people too.

[27:55] What Else Can a New Leader Do to Support Their Leadership?

Jan Terkelsen: Yeah, because you're being authentic and you're being in integrity, so everything is aligned.

Yeah. Yeah. I love that. And it's always a great reminder too for all of us, you know, like you know, like, where am I being in, in, out of integrity? Where am I off track? You know, like, and using as neutral language as we possibly can, you know, to your about not being judgemental and harsh on ourselves.

Yeah. So. Yeah. Just to wrap this up, I love the notion that you talk about, you know, the importance of self-awareness, creating that space and just noticing what's coming up in, in the body.

So if I'm a new and emerging leader and I am working on myself, but I'm still finding that things are just challenging for me, is there anything else that I could do that would support my leadership or at least, you know, help me move through some of these difficulties?

Jenna Holloway: Yeah, absolutely. I would say invest in a coach, somebody who can mentor you and see your blind spots.

Because we can't see our own blind spots and as much as we want to, when we're under pressure and we have a team, we need support. And who's supporting you, who's coaching you, you know, and see the value in that.

It's so, so important. It can, it can be such a game changer. And, and not even just for your career, your life. Mm. You know? Mm.

Jan Terkelsen: And it doesn't matter what trajectory you are on a coach at some point, you know, throughout really does help you see the things that you are just not, I don't know, privy to in your mind.

Yeah. I love that idea about the blind spot. So Jenna, if people wanted to reach out and find you, like, how would they find you and what are you working on at the moment?

Jenna Holloway: So my absolute passion is my own podcast that is called Bigger Than You, and it's a mindset, subconscious and energetics podcast.

Forgot the third part. Mindset, subconscious and energetics podcast for entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs, that's the title, but ultimately, like in the, in the intro, in the jingle, it's actually for visionaries.

Somebody who has, who has soul, a purpose, you know, that's bigger than them. That's where the name of the podcast came through.

I'm very intuitive, so I really kind of just lean on my intuition and it's how my whole business has evolved. So, that is where I pour out everything, you know, intuitively, I speak my heart, I speak what's on my mind all the time. And that I would say if you've enjoyed listening to me and, and the things that I've shared today, head to the podcast to get more.

And in terms of where you can find me and connect, LinkedIn I am Jenna Holloway on LinkedIn or my website, jennaholloway.com. But yeah, LinkedIn is, I'm fairly active on LinkedIn, or Instagram.

Jan Terkelsen: Beautiful, oh, I'm sure people will. This has been such a fascinating and energetic conversation. I really enjoyed it.

So thank you, Jenna. Really appreciate it.

Jenna Holloway: Thank you so much. I've loved being on. Thank you. Bye.