Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Admitting limits when you're a "no limits" kinda girl

Whether or not we like to admit it...there actually IS a limit to what we can accomplish in the little time we have. I'm not saying that our potential is limited...I'm saying that we have capacity issues. There are only 24 hours in a day. We actually need to sleep, eat...we can't just keep going full steam ahead, full out running, all of the time.

Oh, and then there's what other people bring into the equation. We can't control that either, and even the best laid plans sometimes get blown to bits because...well, we're social. We're complicated. We have all kinds of quirky relationship dynamics that guide our actions. And unless you lock yourself away to work away at your goals...sometimes life gets in the way.

So what happens when grand plans meet daily necessities and bump into unexpected events? Limitations.

And this is where dreams die.

The truth is, you can't do EVERYTHING. You need to prioritize. You need to figure out what's really important. And goals...dreams...visions of the future...they can easily get lost in this process. Try to do to much and chances are, nothing gets done. If you don't plan for your priorities, they get lost in the shuffle.

I've been working on admitting limits and setting priorities. Wow, its not easy. Its a process, for sure. I can easily convince myself to give up sleep. To work on vacation. To commit to doing more, to helping, to doing what it takes to get stuff done.

But then, of course, other things don't get done. And some of those things are really important to me. Frustration sets in. Less sleep. Distraction. And everything is affected.

How do you get past the limits?

1. Define your goals
You just aren't going to get there if you don't know where you're going. Write down your goals, make a plan to achieve them and be realistic about what its going to take (time, resources, etc.)

2. Enlist help
I'm horrible at this. You need people to not only to support you, but sometimes to actually help you achieve your goal. In fact, most things you CAN'T do alone. So ask and get people on your team.

3. Give up control
If I'm horrible at asking for help, I'm downright abysmal at giving up control. But once you get people to help, you have to let them help. So give it up. Seriously.

4. Prioritize (really, really)
This is the part of the process where you look around at what your doing and figure out if its getting you where you want to go. Are your actions supporting what you want to achieve? If not, change what you're doing.

5. Pace yourself
Be patient but not complacent. Don't confuse the two. Patience means understanding the realities of how much time things take. Complacent means letting things take too long...and then maybe them never happening at all. So be patient, realistic, and don't burn yourself out. Burn out is just as dangerous as complacency.

Sometimes you need to sprint, but sometimes you really are running a marathon. There are different limits to each and the winning runners acknowledge those limits and work within them effectively.

Your dreams shouldn't have limits, but all of us do. The only way we can reach our dreams is to be honest, strategic, and tenacious about who we are and what we want.

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