I will never tell you I’m happy I had a brain tumor. I often miss the old me that wasn’t limited by balance, hearing and vision issues. But I will not allow myself to be the person who never [fill in the blank] after brain surgery. I am constantly stretching my own limits, and what I have found in doing so – is that others tend to stop before they find their own.
Are you limiting yourself without even realizing it? Where could you be if you pushed yourself just a little bit further than you are today? A few easy steps can help you stretch your limits personally, professionally, physically or emotionally.
First, STOP SAYING “I CAN’T”.
Let’s get serious about the term, “I can’t”, shall we? “I can’t” is really your way of saying “I refuse to try”. There are very few cases when you truly can’t do something. For me, I am deaf in my left ear. Speaking into that ear is as good as speaking to my foot; it does not function to hear. Unless there is a clinically-proven physical reason for your situation, remove “can’t” from your own personal dictionary. Replace it with “I have difficulty” or “I choose not to”. Removing this one simple word from your vocabulary has the amazing effect of changing your perspective. “I could do that, but I’m choosing not to” puts you in the driver seat of the decision. And “I have difficulty with” removes the finality of the statement. You may struggle today, but who knows what might happen tomorrow!
Next time you say you can’t do something, question yourself. Is that true? Can I really not do this? What will happen if I try? To go one step deeper, ask yourself these questions: What am I telling myself about why I can’t do this? And how is that story still serving me?
Second, take BABY STEPS.
You may have your eye on the prize but focus yourself on what’s within reach. For weeks following surgery, I had people walk with me. Every day, I would ask them to walk one house further. On days I felt good, I’d walk two houses further or I’d try walking without holding on as tight. When I started to run again, I ran just 10 steps with my husband holding me up. My prize: gaining back the life I knew. My focused goals: one house, one fewer hand to hold, 10 steps.
Whatever you’re working toward is big. By definition if it’s a goal or ambition, it’s beyond your current limits. Limits are stretched slowly, here and there, with small but important wins along the way, until you wake up one day and realize you’ve shattered the limit you set for yourself.
Third, DO YOUR BEST AND FORGET THE REST.
I’m stealing this mantra from one of my favorite trainers, P90X guru, Tony Horton. Thank you, Tony, for bringing this saying into my life. I say it to myself almost every day. Steal it for your own internal audio and begin to live it. After all, this is really all we can ask of ourselves, right? To do our best? If you’ve done that, you’ve succeeded for today. Forget the rest. It will only weigh you down and add to the story about why you can’t.
Fourteen months following surgery, I won the masters division in a July 4th road race and completed a triathlon. Two years after surgery, I made a major decision to leave my steady-income job to start my own business. I now help people find their own limits – and push beyond them. What are you capable of? Call me at 410-337-4940 to find out how you can stretch your limits. www.extendcoach.com