Everything has a limit. From how many boxes and pieces of furniture, can fit inside a moving truck (we expert Tetris players can do this with a bit more efficiency) to what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, there are limits. But when it comes to the human spirit and dreams things are different.
“Your only limit is you”
The greatest obstacle between us and the attainment of happiness or dreams is self-imposed limitations. Unlike things of a physical nature where laws of physics such as time, space and gravity reign, when it comes to pursuing our dreams or reaching our inner potential we limit ourselves, most often without even realizing it.
Maybe you’ve heard the self-imposed limit’s greatest hits. It includes classics such as:
- Taking the easy road
- Making excuses
- Not taking responsibility
- Staying in a comfort zone
- Giving up/Losing focus
- Making up illogical but logical rules
It’s difficult to shake off these earworm tunes. Humans are wired with self-preservation and most of the limits we created were designed as ways to protect ourselves. The rest? Those are products of insecurities or distorted views of oneself.
Fear? Fear of what? It isn’t as if most of us are being chased down by man-eating tigers guarding the entryway to our dreams. Fear, just like our limits, is often an illusion.
Doubt, uncertainty, need for perfection makes tasks or goals seem or become impossible. If you don’t believe you will get that job, you won’t even apply for it. Sort of hard to land if you haven’t taken the leap. If it’s ‘not the right time’ now, then what illogical or perhaps unattainable criteria will make it the right time?
But are those really fears? You betcha! Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- What if I fail or embarrass myself?
- What if DO succeed and others are jealous and my relationships change?
- What if I do succeed INITIALLY but can’t sustain it?
- What if I don’t meet mine or other’s expectations and end up with disappointment?
- What if I find out I’m not as competent as I thought?
These are certainly fears as defined as ‘an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat’.
These are threats and likely to cause pain. And yes, any of these situations can happen and are not unlikely scenarios. The issue isn’t if it or something else negative can happen but is the potential reward, the achievement or attainment of what you are seeking, worth the risk?
Is reaching our dreams or goals worth more than what is holding us back?
Too often we seem to rarely acknowledge that we have the capacity to be more than we settled for or believe is possible. Even though we see success stories all around us, those that defied the odds or persevered in the face of adversity, we often think it is something special reserved for ‘them’ and not ‘us’. It simply isn’t true. We ALL have that capacity. The difference is just in what you believe and what your action steps are.
It is important to approach goal setting and our dreams with a positive AND a realistic mindset in order to shed those pesky self-imposed limits. Anything less is already setting ourselves up for failure.
- Work on small goals — Take things one step at a time with attainable and measurable goals.
- Meditate — Get a clear picture of what it is you want to achieve in the first place. Clarity is key otherwise losing sight is inevitable. Meditation also helps gain focus.
- Invest in you — take classes for skillsets that are needed or purchase the tools that will be necessary to complete the work towards your dream.
- Develop a mantra — Keep it positive and encouraging. This can also help keep your reason for what you are doing strong and fresh in your mind.
- Create or find a community or network — This provides support, accountability and gives ideas and feedback along the way to achieving your goals.
Within the last year, I have started on the road to overcoming my fears and insecurities in order to achieve my goals. Shedding the limits I have spent years meticulously building in order to protect myself is not an easy task. It’s downright frightening, but it is also exhilarating.
Recognizing and feeling my past accomplishments has helped me to realize my future capabilities are endless. It reminds me of my growth and the rewards I have reaped both through the process and at the end. It promises to deliver again and again.
Building and cultivating a support network has done wonders to give me a safe space to test the waters and gain feedback necessary to take another step with sure footing. And if I fall? Then others are there to help apply some first aid and get me back on my feet again.
So I tell you, what I have told myself:
Be courageous! You are stronger than your fears!
With confidence, inward motivation and support networks, we can achieve amazing heights and then it’s only that the sky is the limit!
artwork courtesy of cottonwings