The number one thing holding you back isn’t real!

Are you letting fiction hold you back?!

All the skills coaching, personal training and fitness coaching in the world will not allow us to reach our goals until we overcome this factor.  The number one factor holding you back from reaching your potential is your mind!  Specifically self-limiting beliefs.  We all have self-limiting beliefs, just some of us in areas that greatly effect achieving our most important goals and some of us are fortunate enough to have them in areas that only effect minor goals.  I hear some of my students say these self limiting beliefs out loud, “I stink at climbing!” but often we are not even aware of these beliefs, they are in our subconscious.  The interesting thing is that many times these self-limiting beliefs are completely unfounded!  That’s right, quite often the thing holding you back has no basis in reality.

Any belief that holds you back is a self-limiting belief.  When your subconscious says, “I am not good enough” that is a self limiting belief.  Sometimes they actually start out positive “I can do that well but I never will be as good as ….” but in the end they set a limit to your achievement.

They are often caused by failing at something (as you may or may not know I believe that, “failure is a nature and necessary part of the learning process” quote from Dan Millman).  For instance, a former self-limiting belief I had was that I could not do a trackstand.  One day a friend and I each tried to trackstand and I ended up falling over. For years after this when asked if I could trackstand I would reply, “no, I can not trackstand” and for years I couldn’t trackstand.  Was this limitation real?  Of course not, one day I decided I would try using baby steps (working my way from 1 second trackstands to 20-30 second trackstands) and in less than a hour I was doing 10 second trackstands!

How to do you stop this often subconscious self defeating cycle?  Step one is to identify the belief, “I am a good rider but will never be great” or the most misguided one I heard the other day, “I only weigh 140 so I don’t have the muscle mass to climb like the bigger guys” (this is misguided because in general the lighter you are the better climber you are, most great climbers are short and stick thin).  Once you have identified the belief check to find the source of the belief and see if it is real. Where did the belief come from? Does it make sense? Is there proof that the belief is true? Once you have these questions answered you can create a strategy to rid yourself of the belief.  If the belief was caused by a past failure tell yourself, the past doesn’t equal the future and practice doing the skill/section of trail that you feel you can’t do correctly.  If it has no basis in reality (your friend said, “wow you suck at descending 10 years ago”) tell yourself, “that was ten years ago, I now understand body position and vision better, my bike is way better and I have the skill to descend much better now”.  Often you will find that once you identify a self limiting belief you laugh, realize that it is preposterous and you move past it.

Don’t let fiction, fantasy or conjecture hold you back.  Attack these self limiting beliefs and achieve your best.

6 replies
  1. Sal Ruibal
    Sal Ruibal says:

    You are so right. The best part of your classes is how you break down those fears and self-doubts step by step. The bike wants to do all this stuff, you just need to get out of the way.

  2. JT DeBolt
    JT DeBolt says:

    This is fantastic stuff. A huge source of limiting beliefs is the incessant comparisons we draw between ourselves and others. It is powerful to learn from those who perform at a level above our current level, and aspire to raise our game to the next level. However, it is critically important to avoid comparing ourselves to others, especially if they are at or slightly above our level.

    A great way to avoid this is a simple mantra. I recommend something like this (in your own words), “That rider is awesome, and I’m on my way to that level of performance as well. I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at, and I have it inside me to perform like that too.”

    In thinking and talking to ourselves in this way we are a.) acknowledging the excellence in others (which ironically comes back to us tenfold), b.) affirming our own value, and c.) focusing on uncovering our true potential though focus and commitment to our own excellence.

    Always know that you are awesome “as-is”. There is no “improvement”, but there is refinement of your existing skills into the finely honed edge that already exists inside you, just waiting to be uncovered!

    Keep up the awesome work, Gene!

  3. Bernie Kitts
    Bernie Kitts says:


    I couldn’t agree with you more even as a metaphor for life. The only thing holding you back is you. That theme is codified in the James Allen classic “As a Man Thinketh.” I applied your mini lessons and videos last season and my riding improved dramatically after at least a ten year plateau. I entered my first race which was on my home trails and came in 6th. That made me want to improve more and train even harder for this year. I will be 59 next month and am enjoying my trusty Ellsworth even more thanks to you!


    • Gene
      Gene says:

      Thanks Bernie. Great to hear that our mini lessons improved your riding dramatically after a ten year plateau! Can’t help but say if those mini lessons dramatically improved your riding imagine what 18-20 hours of coaching over 3 days would do!

      Glad to be of help Bernie, keep on creating great rides,



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