Photo credit: Ian Shane/FlickR
"I want you to help me teach this class tonight."
There are many reasons why this request seemed crazy to me. For starters, it was a tango class, and I had only been dancing a year.
Also, the class was in Buenos Aires, the Mecca of tango, where people flock from all over the world to dance and learn. Add to the list, I was nowhere near being comfortable enough to engage with more than fifty eager students in Spanish.
Despite my reservations, I helped teach the class. Everyone walked away happy, and all my excuses turned out to be false limits I was placing on myself.
If you want to achieve more, have more, and live more, you've got to accept this guiding principle: when you live life on your terms, limits aren't real.
When you play by the rules of others, by default, you accept their terms, their constraints, and their boundaries. But since you are the boss of you, you are the one who determines how far you go. You decide who's game you'll play.
Even though we all have the ability to fly free, many of us stay perched in the safety of our comfort zone.
But if you desire to live a life free of limits, you'll have to overcome the resistance from the following sources:
"I'm not qualified." "I could never do something like that." "I'm just not ready yet." If you have ever advised yourself of any of these things, you have limited your potential. You've talked yourself out of life-enriching opportunities.
Living life fully is about trying new things, even when you're not sure if they'll work. It's about enjoying the moments, and giving yourself permission to be imperfect as you learn and grow.
If the stars always needed to be perfectly aligned to move forward, you wouldn't get much of anything done.
So stop focusing your mind on all the reasons why you shouldn't do something. Instead, make a list of all the reasons why you should. Consider all the things that could go right. It'll change the way you see the situation.
Your loved ones
When my cousin was a toddler, her parents only let her go outside after they put her in knee and elbow pads. They wanted to protect her from the pain and scarring that would come if she fell and bruised her little limbs. When she finally got outside, she fell and scraped her nose.
As much as her parents tried, they couldn't protect their daughter from all the potential dangers that could hurt her.
It's a similar situation with your loved ones. Because they want what is best for you, they often try to shield you from pain and other uncomfortable situations. So they encourage you to stay within the boundaries of the established safe zone. They don't want you to shake things up too much, or cause trouble.
Your loved ones mean well. But no matter how much you live with caution, there's still plenty of opportunity for unfortunate situations to find you. So instead of living life in a bubble, go out and spread your wings. You may encounter bumps and bruises as you learn to fly, but you'll recover. Just like my cousin's nose did.
To reduce the resistance from your loved ones, share with them your vision, your desires, and your goals. The more they understand what's driving your need to push beyond the norm, the easier it will be to support you in it.
The status quo
If the phrase "because that's the way it's always been done," frustrates you, then you understand the danger that comes with accepting the status quo as a life sentence.
Society often has a long list of norms of what people should and shouldn't be able to do. But norms are like averages. They exist, until someone comes along and resets the bar.
Every invention, advancement, and breakthrough had to prevail over the status quo to bring about positive change.
Someone had to stand up against "the way things are" to show others that "the way things could be" was possible.
Surround yourself with like minds to stay inspired about your ability to move beyond existing standards. Brushing up on the success stories of change makers who've gone before you will fuel you as well.
You can live life outside the lines
Moving into uncharted territory isn't always easy. At times it is quite uncomfortable. But the rewards that come from exploring what lies beyond the familiarity of your comfort zone are worth all the effort.
So release yourself from the limits that prevent you from living an extraordinary life. The opportunities on the other side of the boundaries are abundant.