“On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, ‘Okay, this is the limit’. And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.” –Ayrton Senna, Brazilian driver
Too often, our lives become more about living within our limits, rather than pushing forward. We set limits early in life that direct our steps, our goals and our future. The outcome of our life is dictated by standards we put on ourselves, rather than intentional choices and decisions.
Think back to when you were younger, making friends in junior high and deciding whether or not you were worthy of the popular kids the jocks, or the brainiacs. Like most of us, you probably found yourself pegged into a group and stuck there because that was what was expected. Later in life, when you got a job, you probably put limits on what you thought you could or should earn. Now that you’ve been on the path for so long, it isn’t even something you question or fight. It’s simply the way it is.
I disagree. Just because we set a limit at one point doesn’t mean it can’t be changed or extended. If that was your philosophy in a sport or competition, you would never improve. So why do we accept it in other areas? We don’t give ourselves enough credit or opportunity to exceed our own expectations and hopes…
In reading an article by Melanie McQuaid about triathlons, I realized how much of what she referred to in training related to life in general. She said, “Even with additional responsibilities you can achieve your potential. This is why I think most people should goal set and then discuss them. It’s preferable to talk to someone who will help ensure your goals are high enough and to help you be accountable to yourself. I believe it is always better to dream big and then commit to the best of your ability.”
We all need to think more like that. Who cares if we aren’t number 1? Who cares if we don’t reach the pie in the sky dream? What matters is learning, growing, and moving forward. Isn’t it better to have tried, than to live in a cage of your own limitations?
If you agree, even just a little bit, think about applying some of these strategies for pushing past limits:
- PLAN: what do you want to accomplish and achieve? Make a plan for how you can invite it into your life. I’ve always wanted to learn to tap dance, so I decided to take a class and planned it by registering and putting it in my calendar.
- TRAIN: show up. It’s really not that complicated. Show up day after day, week after week for yourself. I’m training for a triathlon and really don’t see myself as a triathlete yet. That doesn’t matter because what’s important is that I show up at 7 am for my bike ride or my swim in the lake. Showing up for the training counts!
- EQUIP: give yourself the tools you need to succeed. It’s pretty hard to learn how to tap dance without proper shoes. The ones I have hurt my feet so I don’t like dancing in them. That makes me avoid practicing. Not a good way to learn something new. It’s time to invest in the planning and training by making sure that I’m equipped with the tools to achieve.
- BELIEVE: have the courage to believe in yourself. It’s not fashionable to be inspired and content. Everyone likes to complain: about their weight, their debt, their spouse. Be different. Believe in the possibility. Let go of the limitations and stand out from the crowd. You can be a rule-breaker.
Are you ready?