If you know me, you also know that I am wired to reach new vistas, challenge myself to break my own limits, and expand and grow in every possible way. And preferably take others along with me.
Indeed, I believe our purpose is growth and breaking the limits of yesterday.
However, I’ve also learned that not all of us are wired this way. As a coach, this is a hard pill to swallow.
I was talking to a friend and she shared how her parents had been the same and had lived the same lives for the last 30 years. She, too, had a hard time understanding that someone would pick sameness over advancement.
I wondered: are they even aware of their own limits? Are they scared of them?
Each of us has a capacity on any given day. I talk about mental, physical, and emotional “spoons” with my clients. This capacity, like lifting weights, is very real and pushing beyond it right away *can be* harmful. But, like with lifting weights, what happens—what can be done—over time and with proper support?
Then, I wondered, are we all designed in a way that we reach a point when going beyond these personal limits isn’t possible?
Recently, another person pointed out to me that this is, indeed, a reality for many, including himself.
Again, a very hard pill to swallow.
At the same time, research and well as anecdotal experiences, including my own, confirm otherwise.
So what gives?
Then it hit me: we can overcome our own limits, but only if are aware of them and we choose to do so.
As a human species, we are actually wired to seek new vistas and break our own barriers. Why have goals otherwise? Look at all the invention and advancement!
Additionally, are very few limits, especially when it comes to personal self work, that we can’t break.
Therefore, the question is how do we do it and will we?
Here are 5 Ways to do so:
Recognition: the key step is recognizing what our limitations are at the moment, and being brutally honest with ourselves and about them. For example, I have an issue with “letting go”. I’m like a pit bull; once I grab onto something, I don’t let go. Unless I acknowledge that this is a limitation, a real thing that’s harming me, I will rationalize it away, excuse it (I need time, energy, can’t do it, always been this way, genetics, etc.) The main issues why many people stay stuck without overcoming their limits is because they don’t recognize them, they’re too scared to recognize them, or they don’t believe anything can improve. The last one is function of being afraid of pain that is required to change or sticking with the minimal pleasure, like comfort, that comes with not changing. So they run in circles instead of seeing the limitations for what they are: opportunities for transformation and better experience of life. That is: more pleasure!
Willingness: most of us are scared of change; we want the comfortable. We will even lie to ourselves to stay comfortable. I’ve done this: maybe I don’t have to do the hard thing and let go, maybe a miracle will happen. And I believed it. I am sure you have, too. However, if we want to break through our own limitations and change, we have to be willing to do so... we have to be willing to do what we perceive as hard or painful. Otherwise, we’ll find ourselves, like many people, regretful for missing those opportunities to grow. (It’s a familiar narrative: OMG, all the time I wasted on this person or that thing, etc.)
Support system: after we’ve identified what limits we have and willed to change them, we need a support system. Again, this is another area where we might fool ourselves, unless we have the right kind of support—and these are key guidelines: people or tools who will give us insights, support us through it all, and yet hold us accountable. This is one of the areas where a coach can be really helpful. (Yes, I am shamelessly telling you to hire me! :)
Cut the crap - Elizabeth Gilbert has a great quote that sums up this step perfectly: “I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with a person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.” The more we own up to our own limitation, recognize how much we’re playing a victim, the more we will get tired of that crap. Of course, only if we want to. Otherwise, like 75% of Americans who report to live unsatisfactory lives, we can also indulge in this comfortable discomfort, never really owning it up.
Face the fear: you know how much I love talking about this greatest demon of our human existence. What are we really afraid of that’s stopping us from recognizing our limitations and willingly overcoming them? Fear of turbulence? That we’ll lose our identity (“who we think we are”)? Fear of pain? No pain, no gain folks!
So yes, each of our limitations are very real, and many of us don’t even see or are willing to admit these limitations, but with the appropriate awareness, attitude, and systems, change is possible.
And what a change it could be!
As I wrote this post, a client messaged me to report that she’s lost 70 lbs over the last two years. Her secret? Take a look at the list above.
Love and light,