Why Do I Feel So Limited?

That’s a question we all would encounter at some point in our lives, but it is also a hard question to answer. It’s such a big question that, as you try to answer, you are hard-pressed to know where to start.
So, how do you “eat an elephant,” so to speak? By cutting it up into pieces.
The elephant is that single, generic question: “Why do I feel so limited?” Cutting up into smaller, bite-sized pieces means asking more than one question and have these questions revolve around specific areas. Ask yourself these questions to enhance your development:
 
What are my greatest strengthsMake a list. Think about how these strengths have brought you to where you are, and how much further they can take you. Our weaknesses might hold us back, but our strengths can determine how high we can rise. Weaknesses are like a boat anchor while strengths are like the motor.
 
What am I able to control in my life? Worrying about things that are outside of your control is a waste of time and effort. Don’t tire yourself out with futile engagements. Focus on the aspects you’re able to influence. Apply your thoughts, time, and effort accordingly.
 
What do I want to stand for? Think about what you want others to remember you by, the legacy you want to leave… and make decisions surrounding that. Live in a manner that would support how you wish to be.
 
If I could accomplish one great thing in my life, what would it be? You probably have several options for your life, and it’s not always easy to choose. Your heart and mind may not always agree, and the temptation is to go for which one is stronger at the time. Try to keep a balance between what you know and what you feel.
 
What is the most important skill I’m lackingEveryone has strengths and weaknesses. Our weaknesses are often responsible for limiting our personal growth and success. There are advantages to being well-rounded. Make another list. Look at your areas for improvement and make a plan to work on them little by little.
 
How do I get in my own way? Anticipate what could go wrong and prepare for it. Gaining something usually means giving something else up. Are you prepared to make that change? It’s not easy to examine this part of ourselves, but the benefit is immense.
 
If I could talk to my 18-year old self, what would I sayHindsight is 20/20, but the mistakes you’ve made in the past are probably still occurring. Think about the choices you think you should’ve made as an 18-year old. They will provide insight into your current situation.

Show ‘Em What You’ve Got

Would you like to be picked for challenging projects? Would you like to be promoted? Would you like to continuously be on your boss’ list of potential successors? Being able to do your job is just the tip of the iceberg you have to climb. You would need to do a little bit more than that to advance.
Your leaders are always evaluating you and your peers. A Harvard survey found that 98% of companies have some sort of system to identify high performers, a select group that represents only about 3 to 5% of the workforce.
However, just because one is on that list doesn’t mean they stay there forever without doing anything. It’s just as challenging to stay on that list as landing on it. The same survey found that up to 20% of these rising stars drop off the list each year.
In order for you to get on that list and stay, take a look at the things that you can do right now.
1. Deliver results. Do your job and do it well. Keep track of the milestones you have accomplished and put these down in writing. Be the person your leaders think of when the words “meets and exceeds expectations” come up.
2. Develop a relationship with your boss. Make him or her look good. Know what is important to them so that would know which areas to focus on. Keep an open line of communication with your boss, and be candid (but respectful) with your opinions.
3. Focus on learning. Learn about your organisation. Read, study, observe, ask questions. Figure out how the company runs, what its culture is, where its priorities lie, and, most importantly, what you can contribute to it.
4. Ask for feedback. Receive this gift with an open mind. Proactively invite others to let you know what they think about your work. List down the relevant feedback and work on improving yourself. Thank your colleagues for their comments.
5. Be humble.Let your actions speak for themselves. Contribute to the team and share credit with others.

Manage Your Frustration

Imagine this: The plan you put together so very carefully is not working. The timeline is getting derailed, and the resources you were expecting did not show up. You had certain expectations, and these were not being met.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
Frustration happens. Frustration cannot be avoided, and it certainly is not enjoyable. However, if you manage it well, then you will be able to work through the issues positively. You will also be able to see clearly where your plan is failing, and make the necessary adjustments.
Don’t let frustration stop you in your tracks. Try these techniques to handle the frustration in your life:
1. Focus on how far you’ve progressed towards your goal. Celebrate your achievements, and reflect on the areas for improvements. Combat frustration with positive thoughts.
2. Provide buffer time. Things will always take longer than planned. Do you need to complete your project by yearend? Start earlier and ask yourself: “What’s the worst that could happen?”
3. Remain rooted in the present moment. Today is as good as it can get. If you keep thinking about what else you need to do, or what you should have done, then you would definitely become frustrated. Stick to what you have and what you can do now.
4. Know why you get frustrated. Who or what triggers it? Make a list of those triggers and avoid or anticipate. When you are able to anticipate the triggers, then you can steel yourself and say, “I will handle this positively today.”
5. Have reasonable expectations of others. No one else is you but you. Don’t go about your project thinking that people should do things the way you would 100%. Stick to the deliverable, and make room for some difference in the strategy.
Remember those times in the past when you felt so frustrated that the world seemed to crumbling all around you? How do you feel about that incident now? It is likely that, at some point in the future, you will feel the same about the frustrations you are feeling now. Why wait? Choose to feel better today.

Be Self-Aware

What is self-awareness? It is the knowledge and awareness of who you are as a person, your personality and character. When you know yourself, you know what makes you tick, and what buttons to push. This includes an awareness of how other people see you.
Your level of self-awareness can influence your relationships, career, and happiness:
Self-awareness is important if you want to take control of your life. Where you want to go and how to get there are determined by your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. If you know yourself, then you can anticipate your tendencies and control them.
Being self-aware helps you see which beliefs and emotional reactions are pushing you in the wrong direction, and empowers you to make the appropriate adjustments and steer the ship your way.
Self-awareness shows us the real reasons for failing in the past. It gives us clearer hindsight without the emotional baggage that comes in admitting our contribution to something that had gone wrong. When you can see your own mistakes clearly, with the defensiveness and the blame game, then it is easier to draw the path forward.
Build your self-awareness one step at time:
Write your own manifesto. Reflect on how you see life, your ambitions, and “what you want to be when you grow up.” Write it all down. Read it back to yourself. Look at the things that surprise you about yourself.
Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Be concrete about what these strengths and weaknesses are. Use verbs, not adjectives. What exactly do you do that makes you think you are “reliable?” What do you mean by “hard worker?”
Interview people close to you. Ask them what they honestly think of you. How would your children or colleagues describe you? Do their descriptions match what you may have thought about yourself? What gaps will you need to address to improve yourself?
Self-awareness is the cornerstone of success and self-improvement. It is necessary to understand your beliefs, habits, strengths, and weaknesses to make a personal change.
Give it some time and thought. Start building on self-awareness today.

Practice Leadership

Leadership is not the sole territory of politicians, corporate executives, military generals, spiritual advisers, rockstars or Olympic champions. Truth is, anyone from any background in any vocation or profession can make good use of leadership skills.
Effective leadership doesn’t come naturally for most of us. However, there are several key actions, which, if practiced everyday and in all situations, can build and refine leadership:
1. Do and be your best. Constantly look for ways to improve yourself. Be aware of your weak areas and strive to develop these. Know what your strengths are and continue to hone them.
2. Determine what you want and go after it. Think about what you want to accomplish in life. Set realistic goals that will help you move in that direction. Take a break from time to time to reassess your progress… and also reflect about whether this is still the dream or if it’s time to chase another dream.
3. Work with others. Leaders are known for their ability to inspire others to work towards a common goal. No matter what it is, your dream will impact other people, and it will need other people to come true. Learn how to listen. Learn how to ask for help or advice.
4. Keep a positive attitude. There are so many things, events and even people, that are way out of our control. Plans fall through, people leave, things don’t get done the way we want them. But you have control over your reactions, your emotions, and your mindset. Teach others to have a positive attitude and to be passionate in their efforts by doing so yourself.
Taking the time to develop your leadership skills can radically increase the amount of success that you experience in all areas of your life. Continue honing these skills so that you can achieve your goals and enjoy a more satisfying life.

Be Grateful

Given the lightning speed we go on practically everyday, it is but natural to feel tired and stressed from time to time. In times like these, what (or who) is in your hands to control?

 

The simplest thing to do to manage our stress is to move our attention from things that trouble us to things that boost us. Studies have shown that developing our sense of gratitude helps raise our mood, focus, self-esteem, will power, long term health, and even level of success.

 

Here are a number of things you can do to help develop your sense of gratitude:

 

Keep a list of the things you’re grateful for. Yes, literally count your blessings. You can keep a journal to document all the positive things that happen to you. After some time, you’ll see just how much good has accumulated.

 

Start the day on a positive note. When you wake up in the morning, make a promise to yourself that “this day will be a good day.” Make a mental note of the things that you look forward to for this day. It is up to you to set the tone.

 

Be alert to the goodness all around you. Isn’t it so easy to spot the negative things happening in your life? You see it right away, as soon as it happens! Try shifting that attention to the positive things around you. “That strong rain is just so refreshing after a really hot, dry week!”

 

Perform random acts of kindness. Be someone else’s reason to be grateful. Practice random acts of kindness that would make another person’s day better. Let that mom carrying her child go first at the grocery checkout line. Smile at the person waiting with you at the doctor’s clinic. It may seem like a small act, but it may be just what that other person needs to get through his day.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words. Given the rise of technology, picture taking is very accessible these days. And yes, we do take advantage of that all the time! But what happens to that selfie after you’ve taken it and posted it on Instagram? It doesn’t have to end there. Keep your favorite happy pictures in a folder on your phone so you can take a look at them anytime to help make you smile.

 

Difficult times will always happen. We can’t help that. What we can do, however, is make sure that we have enough gratitude deposited into our system, so that we can withdraw some when times get hard.

Motivate Your Kids to Motivate Themselves

As in anything, kids naturally have a great sense of awe and curiosity of the world and of themselves. They have an innate ability to push themselves. However, as in anything, this ability needs to be nurtured and developed.
Let’s teach our kids to work hard and push for excellence:
1. Focus on character. Your values at home will be the values that your child will absorb and exhibit into adulthood. Teach them that a high grade is but a manifestation of hard work and perseverance, and that there is more to it than that.
2. Provide context. Talk to them about your beliefs and your reasons behind them. Explain actions and implications. When your kid understands why she needs to be the one to schedule her own dental appointment, and what it would mean to her, she would be more likely to do it.
3. Set goals. Does he want to attend the same university as his dad did? Help him articulate that goal and put it in writing. Show him what actions need to be taken to get to that goal. Celebrate his progress and failure with him and hold his hand while you both look ahead.
4. Boost confidence. Let your child know and feel that she is capable of good great things, and that she deserves every good thing that comes into her life.
5. Strengthen relationships. Building and maintaining relevant community relationships contribute to one’s self-worth. For some kids, being able to socialize outside the home helps boost their interest in activities done in the home.
6. Offer choices. Demonstrate to your child what options there are in any given situation, and what the consequences would be when a decision is made. Let her know that she is free to spend her allowance on a new iPhone case, but that she needs to manage her resources for the coming week.
7. Take risks. Kids who feel secure are more likely to seize promising opportunities. Praise your kids for initiative and effort regardless of the immediate outcomes. That way they’ll learn from setbacks instead of holding themselves back.
You have a powerful influence on your kids. Create a home environment that guides them towards satisfying their own expectations.

Get Moving

There is always an excuse to not exercise: the kids, the boss, the traffic, the complicated commute. But if you truly want to change – lose 20 pounds, get stronger, live longer – then there is always a way.

You can even start with the small, seekingly unimportant things. Sometimes, it helps to adjust certain accessories to make exercise more comfortable:

1. Wear comfortable and new sneakers. You may think you’re saving money by wearing old (ratty, ready-to-fall-apart) sneakers, but you’re just making it easier for injuries to happen. Workout shoes that fit comfortably can make a world of difference… starting with less painful feet. Take your time fitting shoes at the store. Try looking for an outlet that offers consultations, too.

2. Handle your hair before you start working out, so that you have less to worry about. Hair can be a dangerous distraction during exercise, especially if you work out with machines. Wear a headband if you have short hair. This way, your sweat wouldn’t drip on the floor or fly towards your Zumba classmate. If you have long hair, tie it up to make sure it wouldn’t get stuck on the elliptical.

3. Avoid baggy clothes. You don’t have to show skin, but fitted clothes are highly recommended. Very loose, baggy outfits can get stuck in machines, and they can get heavier as you sweat it out. You also wouldn’t be able to see parts of your body that you are working on. It’s easier to pay attention to your movements and avoid mistakes if you wear fitted clothes.

4. Try moisture-wicking fabric. Moisture-wicking fabric quickly absorbs moisture, so you stay cool, dry, and comfortable. Used for tops, pants, and other exercise clothes, this fabric can help you focus on your exercises instead of your clothes.

5. Add more chocolate to your diet. YES! Have some of that dark chocolate or drink chocolate milk before and after workouts. Studies show that ingredients in chocolate can strengthen your endurance.

Exercise is challenging enough without having to deal with uncomfortable clothes, accessories and unenjoyable food. Try these simple adjustments and make your workouts easier.

Believe

At a certain point in my career, I felt a tremendous amount of doubt. I didn’t think I could progress any further than I already have, and did not know how to move on from that feeling. Thankfully, I had someone offer me comfort and renewed confidence from only three words: trust and believe.
We’ll talk about trust some other time. Today, let’s focus on beliefs.
Beliefs determine actions, which, in turn, determine results. If you are not getting the results that you expect or want, then perhaps it is time to take a long, hard, serious look at your beliefs, which lie at the core of what is happening in your life. Goals are easier and more effectively achieved when beliefs support it.
What do we believe?
There is always a way. Believing that you can actually succeed at a certain task or goal is required for you to take the first step. Reaching a goal starts with, “I will…” and not, “I don’t think I can do it.”
Everyone is doing the best they can. Everyone is busy, everyone has a lot of things to do. Everyone feels pressured. More often than not, you are not really the issue; don’t take things too personally. Of course, this does not mean that, just because the other person is having a bad day, he can take things out on you. This belief basically just tells you that, for the most part, the problem is not you.
Failure is a tool for learning. There comes a point in every endeavour when all the planning and thinking is done. You will just have to pull the trigger. Did you miss your target? Recalibrate and adjust your aim. The only real failure is in not doing anything. There are no successes without failures.
I can do anything, but I can’t do everything. Would you like to be a neurosurgeon, astronaut, rock star? Would you like to climb Mount Everest, or complete an Iron Man event, or take the gold at the Olympics? Of course, you can do anything! Just not everything at the same time, or even in one lifetime. Choose the most important one to you and let the others go.
Small improvements are enough. You want to change the world, but change is uncomfortable for anyone. Introduce a little at a time… think of it as a piggy bank: you put in one coin after another, and eventually that piggy is full. Small changes, if implemented slowly and sustained, can have a huge impact.
I don’t need to be the best. Being the best means beating out all competition, potentially including people you love. Being the best means making sacrifices that you may not be ready, nor want, to make. Being the best can lose for you precious time and energy spent in another aspect of life. Aim for a high level of success instead.
It will all be over someday. Not to be morbid, but no one lives forever. How do you wish to be remembered? Do you even wish to be remembered at all? None of your mistakes will matter in the end, but a lifetime spent impacting lives will cause a profound ripple of love and kindness.
What is your “I will…” for today?

Exercise Selfishness… Sometimes

One of the very first lessons we were ever taught in life was: sharing is good, selfishness is bad.

As children, we were taught to be considerate of our classmates. As teenagers, we were told to give way to our younger siblings. As adults, we need to be constantly unselfish for the benefit of others.

But is selfishness really always a bad thing?

Sometimes, being selfish on occasion can be the best thing for you and your loved ones. When you get what you want, then you are more happily and unselfishly able to give to others. Conversely, haven’t you felt at times that it’s so difficult to give because you are sacrificing too much?

Consider the advantages of being selfish:

You’ll experience more happiness. Studies have shown that some focus on the self ensures productivity, altruism and resiliency. When you are happy with yourself, then you’re more willing and able to help others be happy too.

You’ll enjoy better health. Each of us needs to take care of ourselves. We all need to ensure that we eat properly, get enough sleep, spend time with things we enjoy doing, so that we live healthier lives. When we are healthier, we are better able to care for those around us. We are also likely to live longer.

You’ll enjoy healthier relationships. Exercise selfishness by weeding out toxic relationships and eliminating those that take advantage of, or manipulate, you. Feel free to say no to any relationship that is detrimental to your well-being without feeling guilty that your selfish ways have hurt someone else’s feelings.

You’ll find opportunities for self-development. Spend time, money and effort on personal growth. This way, you are empowered to become the best possible version of yourself, and that will be enjoyed by those around you. Take time away from your pressing obligations and pay some attention to yourself.

You’ll find more meaning in life. Selfishness assures you of a life filled with people, advocacies and things that mean the most to you. You will need to be selfish and withdraw your attention from certain things and people in order to make sure that you are able to focus on and accomplish something significant and great.

You’ll be less needy. If you’re not taking care of your own needs, you’re putting yourself in the position of needing more from others. Being dependent on others results in being dependent on the whims of others.

Of course, our lesson from youth still holds, albeit with some adjustment: too much selfishness is definitely bad. However, you do need to exercise some degree of selfishness in order for you to make the most out of yourself, and in order for you to be of more value to others.

Seek to find the ideal balance between focusing on yourself and focusing on others. Set aside time each day to spend on yourself.

At the end of the day, you’ll find that making yourself happy will make others happy, too.