You Are Capable Of So Much More!

Written by on October 28, 2016 in Breaking Barriers with 48 Comments

You are capable of so much more

So often we only do what we think is expected of us, when we are capable of so much more. ~Cynthia Hand

Early in my sales career I almost always worked and traveled alone, so when I had the opportunity to collaborate with a group of 50 sales managers across the country for a few months I was excited about the opportunity.

What I learned turned out to be a fascinating lesson in human nature.

As with most sales positions, we each had our goals, but with few exceptions, what I saw again, and again, was that once a manager hit their target, they relaxed and coasted until the beginning of the next sales cycle.

Seeing similar behavior during my decade as a life and small business coach, I have come to understand we all do this to a certain degree. Rather than challenging ourselves to discover all that we are capable of, we set our standards for achievement based on what we believe is expected of us.

This way we fit in, don’t threaten anyone too much, we can minimize the risk of discomfort or failure, and we can still feel good about ourselves. It’s a win/win all around!

Or is it?

There are two kinds of people. One kind, you can just tell by looking at them at what point they’ve congealed into their final selves. It might be a very nice self, and they may be perfectly happy, but you know you can expect no more surprises from them. Whereas the other kind keeps changing, they are fluid. They keep moving and challenging themselves and the motion of it keeps them young. In my opinion, these are the only people who are truly alive. You must be constantly on your guard against congealing. ~Gail Goodwin

If You Only Knew …

I know it sounds like a tired cliché, but it is so true. Most of us have no idea how much we are truly capable of since we rarely, if ever, challenge ourselves to find out.

In time these self-imposed limitations become who we are, so when we’re presented with an opportunity to try something new or stretch ourselves in a way that might risk discomfort, we fall back on familiar excuses. ““I’m too tired.” “I’m too busy.” “I don’t know how.” “It’s not the right time.”

But keep in mind, we’re not talking about adding more tasks to your list, that’s busy work, and you don’t become the person you were meant to be with busy work!

The limits we create in our head about what we are or are not capable of not only keep us stuck in a life that is smaller than we deserve, they make it much harder to develop confidence in our ability to effectively deal with life’s inevitable challenges and occasional unexpected detours.

Let’s try something different. Here’s a fun exercise to illustrate how easily you can change a perceived limitation.

Stand up and face a wall (preferably one that is not completely blank), and stretch your arms straight out to each side.

Keeping hips and legs facing forward turn from your waist as far to the right as you can go. (Your left arm should be pointing toward the wall.) Take your hand and point your index finger at the wall to fix your exact stopping point and make sure it’s clear in your mind.

Once you have identified a stopping point that you can clearly see and remember, put your arms down at your sides turn forward and relax.

Close your eyes and take a few deep calming breaths and visualize that point on the wall, then imagine going beyond it.

Now, open your eyes and once again stretch your arms straight out from your sides, and then turn from your waist as far as you can to the right and see how far you go this time.

You may be the exception, but so far 100% of the people I’ve done this with have gone well beyond that original stopping point.

This exercise is simply meant to illustrate that we never know how far we can go if we make a habit of stopping the first time we experience a little resistance.

When Was the Last Time You Surprised Yourself?

It’s a glorious feeling to discover you are capable of doing more than you realized you could do. But you’ll never know that feeling unless you’re willing to challenge yourself.

There are a million different ways people find to discover new things about themselves, and a lot of them have absolutely nothing to do with work!

“I never thought I could run a mile!”
“I never knew I could write!”
“I was amazed at how much I enjoyed that cooking class!”
“I was shocked when my painting turned out so well!”
“I’ve learned that I love ballroom dancing!”
“I discovered how much fun it is to take an acting class!”

Other ways you can stretch include setting a few healthy boundaries, creating your own self-care plan, standing up to a fear or forgiving someone.

All it takes is a tiny inch outside of the familiar and we can delight in the new wonders around us and within us.

Surprise Yourself and Inspire the Rest of Us!

The Breaking Barriers series was launched with the intention of challenge readers to do the work to recognize and break through self-limiting beliefs. While this can be done alone, it helps to have support and an element of accountability.

If you’re ready to begin challenging yourself and end 2016 on a high note, I’d like to invite you to participate in the Breaking Barriers to Confidence 30 Day Challenge that will run through the month of November.

Breaking Barriers 30 Day Challenge

Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living  click here.

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  1. The title of this post got my attention right away, but, I must say the image of the sunflower half opened was such a perfect companion!

    I enjoyed the facing the wall exercise. I think most people do look at resistance as “uncomfortable.” They can formulate an idea in their mind that this is indeed the boundary of what they can do. If they believe this, then they set the limit for their progress.

    I like to look at the point where I feel resistance as not a stopping or limiting point, but see it as showing me what level I am currently at. Then, I can choose to see it as a challenge to grow.

    As in the quote you shared, “You must be constantly on your guard of congealing.” Congealing means not truly living your life. I loved this!

    Deborah A. Ten Brink recently posted…10 Ways To Tap Your Creativity [video]My Profile

    • Well said Deborah, and I’m glad you liked that exercise. I learned that years ago in a Dale Carnegie workshop and still occasionally use it to remind myself that when I think I’ve hit the end, give it one more little nudge. Thanks for contributing to the conversation. 🙂

  2. Sushmita

    An Interesting Challenge!
    I like to go challenge myself and go out of my comfort zone.
    Your posts each time inspire me.
    Thank you for spreading the inspiration! Sharing it ahead!
    Sushmita recently posted…Sharing, Ultimate Money Management Tips from Experts!My Profile

  3. Kristina Rylova

    Marquita, love your posts. Another very interesting one and a great idea again!
    I also try to exercise my “öut of the comfort zone” way of thinking!
    Good luck with that

  4. William Rusho

    This makes me contemplate who we once were, and what happened to us. We grew up, and went to school, at one time we all wanted to be astronauts, or athletes. Over the years, our peers, elders and even school started wearing our dreams away, until we settle for lesser dreams. We must rekindle that earlier spirit, and understand that when the earth beats us down, means we can spring back higher than we were before.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. Rosary says:

    I love this! I’ve been trying to go outside of my comfort zone more often and challenging myself to do things I’d never thought I’d do. Granted though I do sometimes fall into the trap of “I’m too tired” or “I’m too busy” etc. Thank you for posting this and reminding me that we are capable of so much more than we think.

  6. You know I postpone reading your blog until I’m mentally prepared, right? 🙂
    This is so thought provoking that I think I’ll have to ponder quite a bit until I can add anything to the conversation!
    I think of my niece and her husband and how the two of them have pushed themselves over and over barriers of all kinds. I so admire them and people who push on beyond the norm.
    Ah, gotta’ think!

  7. Phoenicia

    We can become comfortable when we have hit our initial target rather than push on. I too believe we have more to give but do not always showcase our very best.

    I once watched an American film where the coach was illustrating how much more his team had in them. He chose the best player, blind folded him and asked him to crawl whilst carry a lighter team member on his back. The coach crawled with the best player feeding him words of encouragement along. Do you know he covered double the ground he normally do when training? I found the film most inspiring.

    I always look forward to reading your blog- you inspire me.
    Phoenicia recently posted…What action are you taking to achieve your goals?My Profile

  8. Erica says:

    Sounds like a good challenge. I think as humans, we often crave comfort. And that might be the best thing for us when we’re looking to expand and grow.

    Sales is tricky. I still work part time in sales and many of my co-workers have a goal they need to reach at the end of the month. Once they hit their goal, they try to hold onto their sales so that they can post them the next month. And this makes some sense, because if they don’t hit their goal for the month, they don’t get paid for any of their sales. So companies often play a part in sabotaging the full potential of their team by the way they structure goals. Because as much as my co-workers want to think, if this is how I did in month A, I’ll do even better in month B, the phone doesn’t always ring. So they play it safe.

    But with entrepreneurs, we’re only holding ourselves back. So it is important to remember that our past accomplishments don’t defy our future growth.
    Erica recently posted…5 Ways Journal Writing Keeps You Skinny, Sexy & Stress-FreeMy Profile

    • Great share Erica! No question the sales profession is not for everyone and I can see where it would be very tempting for some to manipulate the system to avoid coming up short. That said, there is always going to be a way to justify not challenging ourselves to do more than just enough to get by. During that particular period I referenced in my example I achieved 200% of my sales goal, and I didn’t do it by waiting for the phone to ring. Doing the work to discover what we’re truly capable of is always risky business, no matter what the field. 🙂

  9. Inspiring post, Marty. IMHO, life would be boring and have little meaning if we did not continually challenge ourselves and continue to stretch and learn. That adds to the layers of our wisdom and the meaning of our lives.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…celebrating the best chocolate treatsMy Profile

  10. Ramona McKean

    Marquita, perhaps not exactly what you’re talking about, but I find after reading your post a certain quote by George Bernard Shaw coming to mind. Perhaps you are familiar with the splendid torch idea he speaks of?

    “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
    I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
    I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

    I couldn’t resist sharing. 😉
    Ramona McKean recently posted…Music to Build Bridges, Cohen, KD and HallelujahMy Profile

    • Oh I think it fits beautifully Ramona! I especially relate to the line “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live”. My sentiments exactly! 🙂

  11. Nice challenge Marquita.I am sure all those who participate will greatly benefit.I also felt like signing up for the challenge, however I am unable to do so at this point of time in life..Keep up your good much to learn from you always..
    Priya Prabhu recently posted…Key findings in differences in languages and scriptsMy Profile

  12. Mark

    Well didn’t you just nail it as usual M!

    And there is so much to be said, about not only imposing our very own limitations, but doing so, so we don’t have to risk going beyond our comfort zones!

    And you best believe I’m totally familiar with that evergreen challenge!LOL!

    And BTW, thanks for sharing such a neat and extremely helpful exercise.

    It’s the first I’ve ever heard of it.And it truly is amazing, what we are ultimately capable of, provided we’re interested in getting out of our own way!Thanks M!
    Mark recently posted…So Why Don’t Successful Entrepreneurs Ever Work On This Particular Day?My Profile

    • You know it’s funny about that exercise Mark. I learned it many years ago in a Dale Carnegie course and it just really stuck with me. Every now and then, if I find myself feeling like I’m ready to give up on something, I’d go through that exercise to remind myself to give it one more push. 🙂

  13. Ravi Chahar

    Hey Marquita,

    I have always thought about the limit I have made for myself. Whether it’s about the work or the life.

    We all have something special and we can’t find it out until the boundaries are pushed.

    You have brought up an interesting topic today. Thanks a lot for sharing with us.

    Ravi Chahar recently posted…How To Boost Your Business Growth With Facebook Marketing Tips?My Profile

    • Well said Ravi! I can’t imagine a day without doing at least one thing new or that scares me even a little, and I have managed to turn my entire life upside down this year, so 2016 will definitely set a record in my book of challenges. 🙂

  14. Chery Schmidt

    Hello Marty! Awesome Advice as always my friend! Thanks again for the needed push! It has been a while since I went beyond my limits. Time to get to work..
    Chery :))

    • Well, since I follow your blog I know most of that is because you took a break to spend time with your family this summer, and that falls squarely in the “self-care” bucket so you are doing OKAY in my book!

  15. Kimba

    Can’t wait to watch all those barriers come tumbling down in throughout November. Stretch and reach my friend!
    Kimba recently posted…When Wonder Woman Needs a Time-OutMy Profile

  16. Hi Marquita,

    Loved the images in your post.
    It’s always great to read what you write.

  17. Edward Thorpe

    Hi Marquita,

    Wonderful message and an effective exercise. Loved the quote about evolving as a way to ‘stay young’. Thank you,
    Edward Thorpe recently posted…Safe Travel Tips For SeniorsMy Profile

  18. Hi Marquita,
    Great exercise on changing a perceived limitation. We think we are doing all we can but really we are capable of more. When starting anything new you are learning and growing in ways you are not fully aware.
    I liked you mentioning about spread sheets. I too used to hate them until I really had to learn how to use them. Now I almost like them.

    Best of luck with your 30 day challenge!

    • Well said Kathryn. My role model in this regard was my late grandmother-in-law. She was 105 when she left us and she lived every day of her life to the fullest, always seeking to learn new things and there were few things she enjoyed more than a good debate. Well, maybe roller derby. 🙂

  19. Kusha Kalra

    This was one of the most inspiring post I have come across lately. I agree with you on these line ” we never know how far we can go if we make a habit of stopping the first time we experience a little resistance.”
    Every time we face challenges, we expand our comfort zone. Instead of staying there…making that shift is important!! Thanks for this lovely reminder and motivating post.
    Cheers, Kusha

  20. Summer Price

    I always enjoy reading your posts. They are always very uplifting and make me really think. Great exercise/challenge also!

  21. Vatsala Shukla

    I love the exercise you’ve shared for testing our resistance, Marquita. We are capable of a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. Pity many of us only realize this when we get a wakeup call and start our Hero’s Journey.
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted…Success and the Law of Giving RevisitedMy Profile

    • So true Vatsala, and while they come in all shapes and sizes, we are all visited by a wake-up call at some point in our life journey. Thanks for sharing and contributing to the conversation. 🙂

  22. Suzie Cheel

    Your post has inspired me to stop talking about getting my book written and doing it ,
    I love the words on your image- spoke to my heart as recently i been discovering that when I trust me more I can surprise myself xx
    Suzie Cheel recently posted…What Is Your Heart Whispering This Week?My Profile

  23. Marquita, Love this blog. It is so easy to not push yourself, step outside the box, or change from what we consider a winning situation. Why improve what already works, right? Movement is life and if we want our business to continue to live we must move with the times and do more than “just enough.” Thanks for reminding us.

  24. Dave

    It never ceases to amaze me how just deciding to try something new, even if you “know” you will not succeed results most often in an outcome that is completely opposite from what is expected.

    The comfortable is safe, but the pushing of oneself beyond what you “think” you can do is not only eye-opening – it also serves as a springboard to even more ambitious goals and achievements.

    And, before you know it, you look in your rear view mirror and realize that you have grown, changed, and have actually “lived” your life. It’s not always easy, to be sure, but the rewards are so very much worth it!

    Thanks for the reminder and motivating words, Marty 🙂
    Dave recently posted…Captain KindnessMy Profile

    • I love your analogy about looking in the rear view mirror! That is so true and sometimes the most irksome experiences turn out to teach us the most. A funny example of that is how I used to be SO resistant to using spreadsheets, really hated them. But the manager I worked for at the time used them a lot so she forced me to learn how to use them, and of course I fought her every step of the way. That was years ago, and today I keep all of my goals and a lot of my records on spreadsheets, I’d be lost without them! Thanks for sharing Dave, always value your thoughtful insights. 🙂

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