During my career transition journey, I have found myself placing so many limits on myself, labeling it as realism. People often get confused about the differences between being a realist and placing limits on yourself. This misunderstanding is easy to have because the two are so closely related. However, it is SO important that we know the difference between the two so that we can live a life that fulfills us in the most amazing ways.
I don’t measure my success by other people’s standards and I don’t compare myself to others intentionally or as much as I used to in the past. Comparing myself less and doing fewer things just to make others happy with my choices was a huge part of my personal growth journey. However, I first began to notice that I was placing major limits on myself when my boyfriend told me not to take small opportunities when I knew I was worth more and to have the patience to wait for bigger and better. This was so enlightening for me and really empowered me to reach for bigger and better. I realized that I am enough and that there is no harm in shooting for opportunities that seem like a bit of a reach.
Planning for the launch of my vintage boutique has also made me realize that I have habitually placed limits on my potential. I found myself afraid to make certain decisions, postponing the launch over and over again because I am afraid of failure. I’ve looked at other boutique owners and thought that I wasn’t going to be as lucky to have such a successful business. I have succeeded to convince myself that I am not “them”. These are times when it is important to recognize that you can be realistic without ruling things out and placing limits on your potential or abilities.
So what is the difference between being a realist and placing limits on yourself?
When you are a simply a realist without placing limits on yourself, you make decisions based on a mixture of fact and intuition. You are “realistic” in your decision making but you don’t box yourself into a certain job or life. When you place limits on yourself, you allow negative self talk to convince you to go one way over another. When you place limits on yourself, your mind places a box around you and within it lie your abilities and your potential.
After realizing that I was placing limits on my potential, I realized that I was living carefully, inside certain boxes, on eggshells trying not to break any rules. I have moved away from that limited mindset by taking a shot at opportunities or activities that I may not have before. I have practiced envisioning myself doing things I may not have previously. Your mind can be your worst enemy or your greatest ally but I think you have to make that choice.
If you leave this post with nothing else, leave refusing to place limits on your potential. Live life intentionally but STAY OPEN. Don’t box yourself in and stick to the limits that your mind places on you to do things, avoid things, look, or live a certain way. Most importantly, step a little bit outside of your comfort zone from time to time. You might love it. If you hate it, you go back and try something else.
Thanks for reading!