“You only know yourself when you go beyond your limits.” – Paulo Coelho
When you were a child, did your teachers or parents ever tell you, “You can be anything you want to be when you grow up!” If you have heard these words, you may have dreamed of becoming a scientist, astronaut, professional football player, or brain surgeon. Yet, somehow, our faith in ourselves often dwindles throughout life. Today, I want to share how you can pick that childhood faith back up and realize that you’re capable of more than you think and how to push beyond your limits!
Recognize What May Be Holding You Back
The first step in pushing yourself past your limits is addressing what’s holding you back – whether negative people, self-imposed limitations, or something else.
While people can often be encouraging, they can also bring negativity. You may not have grown up hearing, “You can do it!” And If you didn’t, that’s okay. We’ve all had moments in our past where we let others discourage us from doing something we wanted to do or allowed someone to convince us that we weren’t good enough. This is exactly what happened to me after I earned my master’s. I considered pursuing my doctorate, but I never did because I didn’t think I was smart enough. And where did that come from? Years of being shamed and told that I was less than. I allowed my past feelings of being less than prevent me from even getting started, so I was limiting my potential.
Flash forward to the 2019 Boston Marathon. Before the race began, I met a few runners who inspired me on many levels. I talked to one guy from Canada who had trained multiple days in below-zero temperatures and had to run in metal cleats because of the ice. Another was using the Boston Marathon as a warm-up for a hundred-mile race in Colorado. Those stories made me realize that these amazing feats and accomplishments were more mental than they were physical. Suddenly, a switch went off in my head and I made the decision to do something I had thought impossible only a few hours earlier – complete the Ironman triathlon before the end of the year.
When I got home after the marathon, I joined all kinds of forums and online groups to learn as much as I could about the Ironman. The last race of the season that I could do was only six months away down in Florida. I must have reached out to two dozen coaches, but nobody wanted to train me. They said that six months wasn’t enough time to prepare for the Ironman. What’s funny was that the people who had already done the Ironman, or a half Ironman, were the most discouraging. But that only motivated me more. Instead of buying into this disheartening feedback, I used it for motivation, which helped me achieve what others called impossible – completing an Ironman with only six months of training!
In addition to discouraging influences, some people don’t push themselves past their limits because they struggle with making peace with their past or fall victim to negative self-talk. You may be worried about what others think, lack motivation, have self-doubt or restrict yourself because of past failures or trauma. Whatever the reason, it’s time to go head-to-head with these negative thoughts and start believing that you are capable of more than you think!
Discover How to Push Beyond Your Limits
Once you identify what has been holding you back, you can dig in and prove that you can achieve what you feel is impossible.
Please take a moment and think about how this applies to you. Do you have a career goal you feel you could never reach? Do you want to achieve more financially, spiritually, or physically and feel it’s impossible? What is your “I can’t” category?
As you read the following tips, think about what you’ve told yourself you can’t do. So many people say, “I can’t,” but if they believe in themselves and commit, they can do it. It doesn’t matter who you are – it’s all about getting your mind right.
Prepare to Conquer Your Goal
You’ll never reach your “impossible” goal if you don’t create a plan. All the grit and determination in the world won’t matter if you don’t set yourself up for success with a well-thought-out plan.
I didn’t go into the Ironman without the proper planning and preparation. It required months of learning, research, and, of course, training. Ensure you can push beyond your limits by planning appropriately.
Get a Coach (or Accountability Partner)
This second tip is crucial. I’ve witnessed firsthand how good coaching can help people achieve their “impossible” goals. I’ve had so many people over the years tell me they could never run a 5k, half-marathon, or marathon. Then, I’ll work with them, give them a plan, and next thing you know, they’re running their first race. A knowledgeable coach, who pushes you past your limits, can help you achieve far more than you think you can.
* If you cannot hire a coach, I recommend getting an accountability partner with whom you can check in periodically.
Visualize Your Success
“As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.” ― James Allen
Lastly, take time to visualize your success. Think about what it will be like when you achieve that goal you think you’re not capable of. What will you feel, think, and see? Who will be there? I can’t say enough good things about the power of visualization.
Learn More About How to Push Beyond Your Limits
Whatever you think you can’t do, I’m here to tell you – you can!
For more tips on pushing yourself past your limits, please check out my book, Thriving in the Storm: Nine Principles to Help You Overcome Any Adversity.
Lastly, before I leave you today, I’d like to share a couple of podcasts I think you’ll enjoy – How To Get To The Top 1% Of Earners and Overcoming Challenges. Please let me know what you think!