Monday, July 18, 2016

5 Steps to Grow Beyond Your Limits

Your limits do not have to be so limiting. We humans are made for growth. Our ability to learn along with our curiosity and capacity for courage and hope means we are perfectly suited to smash those limits into smithereens...whatever those are. If that sounds good to you, here are 5 beginning steps to take to pull of some real, limit-smashing growth.

  1. Know Your Limits – If you don’t know what your limits are, ask. The people around you – friends, co-workers, family – they already know and will be very excited to find out that you might soon be catching on. But you can also figure this out through some ruthlessly honest self-assessment. I am not talking about being overly self-critical to the point of beating yourself up and feeling guilty. Everyone has limits. This is just an exercise in acknowledging yours. Think of it as blowing up and moving past the limit of being unable to be honest with yourself. Just make a list of those things to you don’t do well. Think of areas where you struggle to get results or make progress. Think of those things that hold you back or keep you frozen in your tracks. You will find your limits in there. 
  1. Decide to Grow – Your limits do not have to remain your limits. Granted, some things we are just not wired to do. When I was younger, I thought briefly about teaching math. Then I got into a college statistics class. Once I discovered that it involved more than calculating batting averages or free throw percentages, I knew I needed to try something else. It started with a decision to expand my world and open myself up to a variety of possibilities I had not considered before. I did think I was a bit old to be changing horses mid-stream. But even ancient 28 year olds can make course corrections. That was 28 years ago, by the way, and if I felt called to grow in a new direction today, I would not hesitate. You know what they say, 56 is the new 54. Something like that.
  1. Get a Coach or Mentor – Let’s face it, if you are reading this and considering how you can grow beyond your limits, you are already seeking outside sources of direction. There are people out there who can ask you the right questions, and provide the right prompts to inspire and awaken the thoughts and ideas that will move you into action, propelling you forward into the kind of growth that helps you get grounded into your sweet spot in life. Ask someone you trust who might know one of these people. You can even ask me. I have worked with three different coaches, and have made positive changes in my life and profession I never would have apart from those relationships.
  1. Engage in Growth Disciplines – There is a popular saying that action rather than thinking removes fear. As a member of a Christian church all my life, I have always heard that perfect love casts out fear. I think there’s a connection. Love is an act, not a sentiment. So whether from a religious or non-religious point of view, the truth remains. Action removes fear. And fear is the greatest limiter of all. So the thing to do is just to decide on that first step. What is one thing I can begin doing right now to cause me to grow? What new skill can I develop? What new relationship can I build? What new set of learnings can I acquire? Then budget time for the growth disciplines you choose and make them a regular part of your daily routine. If you are wondering where to t=get the time and are like a lot of people, just steal the time from Facebook, Pinterest, Sports Center or Fixer Upper.
  1. Put New Learning into Practice Quickly – This one is self-explanatory. Don’t hesitate. Make that call to have coffee or lunch. Enroll in that continuing education class. Call that coach and work out some agreeable terms. Read those books. Practice that new skill even if it is awkward to do so.
You really can grow beyond your limits. But you have to start. So start. Now! I’ll stop here so you can.

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