The essence of growth is to increase in size. The size of your performance, your knowledge, your impact, your life even, depends on the limits of your edges. If your edges aren’t challenged, pushed out and punctured, your achievements will be restricted. How you challenge your edges depends on your perception of your limits.
Your edges are YOURS. These are the limits you believe of yourself. Henry Ford nailed it when he stated “whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right”. The key to this statement is that you have to think. In order to challenge your limits, you need to understand your personal perception of these barriers. Creating awareness of our own subconsciously imposed limitations is tricky. It’s akin to mining for an unknown metal; you won’t know when you’ve found it, yet sorting through the sub-terrain material is the only way to have a chance at Eureka!
We are so often taught to give ourselves a solid pep-talk before tackling new and unnerving tasks. Newer research (Albarracin et al) presents strong arguments that we will get more from ourselves by challenging ourselves with tough questions. It seems that giving ourselves the “you can do it” pep-talk is a fairly empty promise of success and often an unsupported declaration. In contrast, asking questions that elicit self-reflection and resource-channeling can work wonders to ‘sell’ us on our own abilities and increase our willingness to stretch and ultimately improve our outcomes.
Our edges are formed by our years of compounding experiences. What seem like innocuous moments in our everyday lives layer up to build stashes of beliefs about our abilities, our potential and our limitations. It is only when we challenge the truth of our experiences and our beliefs about boundaries that we will confidently and full-heartedly step towards our edges. It’s time to ask yourself if your limitations are REALLY barriers or if you’ve convinced yourself that your world is flat and that you will fall off the edge.
Daniel Pink presents a great focus on buoyancy in his book To Sell Is Human. Buoyancy is the skill to stay afloat in a sea of rejection. When we look at our own edges, the rejection comes from within. This is the toughest dismissal to tackle because we have to convince our deepest selves that we can and will push past our current best.
Some key questions to initiate self-interrogation aimed to stretch your limits:
- Why CAN I do this?
- What HAVE I done before that has come close to this?
- Why CAN I push further this time?
- What tools DO I have to help me push beyond my current best?
- Who DO I have support from? Who CAN I depend on to rally behind me?
- When HAVE I pushed past this type of limit before?
- Where was I when I broke a similar barrier down?
The questions are endless, you have layers and layers of experiences and beliefs to sort through. The key is to pull the supporting resources that will assist you in unlocking your potential by challenging your edges. You need to work on your deepest personal beliefs to change your perception of your limits. You are exponentially more likely to succeed in stepping to the edge when you truly believe you can go beyond. When you continue to believe that your world is flat and that you may fall off the edge, you will likely not even approach your limits, thus limiting your growth, performance, success and happiness.
Your edges are YOURS. Yours to challenge, to stretch and to extend.
To Best Yourself, you need to know your best, challenge your best and tear up your edges!!
Albarracin, Senay & Noguchi: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3626423/
Daniel Pink: To Sell is Human
Photo: Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada