Limiting beliefs, the unseen barriers that hold us back. Here’s how to find them.

We all have them.

Some are great, they can help us make good decisions

Some are not, they can get in our way.


But limiting beliefs can be hard to spot.


Here’s how you can uncover beliefs that might be limiting you and your school.


Look out for things you assume automatically. For example:

  • ‘It’s hard to recruit good teachers’
  • ‘It’s just how they are, they won’t change’
  • ‘There’s not enough money’
  • ‘We don’t have time to do ‘x’’


Objectively some of these beliefs are based in facts:

  • Recruitment is harder right now and there are population reasons for this (less graduates and more retirements reducing the number of teachers we have)
  • Change initiatives may have failed in the past.
  • There’s a budget shortfall.
  • Current activity already takes up all the time available.


But, instead of stating the limiting belief to ourselves, what if we reframed them as a question?

  • It’s hard to recruit good teachers vs we’ve always found good teachers in the past, so how can we do that now? / How will we find the good teachers out there and appeal to them?
  • It’s just how they are, they won’t change vs if our children can change, so can our adults; so what can we try?
  • There’s not enough money vs we have ‘x’ budget, how can we make it do what we need it to?
  • ‘We don’t have time to do ‘x’’ vs how can we prioritise our time better to achieve ‘X’? / what can we stop doing to free up time? / how can we do what we are currently doing easier and faster to create time?

Now those beliefs seem less limiting and more possible.


And we can test those beliefs. 

There’s a saying in business: ‘Nothing is true until your market tells you it is.’


For example:

  • It’s hard to recruit good teachers.
    Who did you recruit last year and how’s it working out? Did you get good teachers?


I’m not saying these are easy challenges to overcome, if they were I know you would have overcome them by now.


But here’s the thing: Some schools are overcoming them.


Not a week goes by where I don’t come across an example of smarter spending or investment, of hiring a superstar member of the team, of a difficult conversation turning a situation around.


What’s often different is the belief that sits behind the actions that were taken.

Beliefs can affect our energy and outlook.


What beliefs do you spot this week? And what belief might help you more (without being delusional of course 😉 ).


Spotlight Resource

I have a lot of free resources for you.

Here’s a big belief buster: 5 myths about ‘outstanding’ schools put to the test


Are schools judged as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted…really better than other schools?

Surely they have it easier?

And isn’t it a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’, because if you get ‘outstanding’, you have to hold onto it?

And that’s almost impossible…isn’t it?

We researched 100 primary schools who were graded ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in the academic year 2022-2023. We learnt the truth behind some common beliefs to understand: are they fact or fiction?

You can find out all the answers here: