Deb Sofield


Your Only Limit Is You

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For the last five years I have been writing a weekly blog and producing a podcast, which stemmed from my Saturday radio show, “Encouragement for Your Life,” heard every week on 94.5FM. As we come into the holidays, I will be closing out this chapter of life–my weekly newsletter and podcast. That being said, after 250 shows/posts/newsletters – I will end my weekly dose of encouragement with the same encouragement that I started out with almost five years ago. Please hear me loud and clear (and I am speaking to myself here as well), your only limit is you.

And that is my theme for today. Because when all is said and done, and the dust settles and you’re staring at the sunset of your life, (whether it is easy to accept or not) the reason you are where you are is because of the decisions you made yesterday, today or will make tomorrow. Please don’t hear that as anything other than an obvious reminder, but also do not continue to live as if life is dumped on you without your approval or agreement. Admit it–you are in control, and your only decision is how you will choose to live. And now that you have been reminded let me share a few ways to set yourself up for success.

As much as we all wish to blame our circumstances, our lot in life, our families, our boss (or whatever it is you point to as the reason that you have not fulfilled your life purpose), in the end, it comes down to the most basic and simple truth-filled understanding. When all is said and done, the only limit on your life was placed on you by you.

Argue all you want about how life didn’t give you what others had, and I will show you millionaire after millionaire who grew up in an orphanage or on the street with nothing and no one, and yet they beat the odds. We read about them in magazines, we see them on TV and we admire them today.

You can continue to argue that I don’t understand all you are responsible for and those responsibilities are holding you back, taking your time, keeping you running in place so you can meet your obligations and provide for others. I hear you, and I will push back and remind you that others have done exactly what you are currently doing with all the responsibilities that you have (plus some) and have still rocketed to success. So, friend, that excuse will not work. Your only limit is you.

You may quietly tell me that you are not well, so that is why you have not been able to accomplish your dreams or achieve your goals. While I understand (to a point) the emotional toll that illness can place upon a person, throughout history I can still show you success after success in spite of, and in some cases because of, their illness people who have pushed through and achieved breakthrough success. Remember, your only limit is you.

So in the quiet of our time together today, let’s just be honest and admit that your only limit is you, and my only limit is me. And although I preach and teach this weekly, I, too, wonder why I am at one level and not another. I’m guessing that in the stillness of night we all wonder what could be and how do we get there.

I’ve often wondered how it happens. How does someone who comes from nothing go on to win big in life?

My own theory is that when you start with nothing, you have nothing to lose. So these people move ahead and take the chance–any and all chances–to change their life. Because when all is said and done, whatever happens to them is just par for the course since they started with nothing to lose.

I’ve got to believe that any loss or win, no matter what it was, would not reflect too intensely on them since no one thought they’d make anything of themselves from the start.

When you think about it, for so many people, there is a freedom in low expectations if you don’t acknowledge that your only limit is you.

When you do realize that you choose to limit your options or you are sick and tired of no one believing in you and your dreams, then one day you might choose to change your life, your outcome, your trajectory from the unexpected to the amazing when you concede that your only limit is you.

I parallel the drive of those who came from nothing to those who have a family, a home and education. I think about myself and my friends. Many of us had a safe foundation on which to land if life didn’t work out as we had hoped, and any fall from grace would be treated as a slight embarrassment easily covered up by our family and friends so as not to cause much more than a gossipy prayer request at the local church.

Yes, we hid our missed expectations and settled for what we could easily master and continued on. And yet I wonder what would have happened if our families had allowed us to fail and forced us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, making us try again to give us a few degrees of separation from the safe foundation to which we gripped for fear of being exposed as a “failure.”

For so many, that would never happen, so we’ll never know what the outcome might have been. Those are memories we keep hidden and only bring out to relive when we dream about the “almost” success we might have had if things had worked out differently.

Here’s the thing, setting aside what you assume, there is still time to do whatever it is you want to accomplish. Yes, it might be a bit more difficult to do since life filled your empty space and time, but please don’t think that the option is closed to you. Unless the dream is no longer allowed (i.e., climbing the great pyramids) you are still in the running for the race. You’ll just need to make a few adjustments to make it happen.

Will it be easy? No, not like it would have been back in the day, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. If you’re hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, I can only imagine the physical pain you’re heading towards, but they say once you reach the top it is worth the journey.

Will it still mean as much? I am guessing, yes, but you’ll have to tell me when you cross the finish line. I do know this, that unless you try, you’ll never have the satisfaction of knowing the outcome. Win, lose or draw at least you’ll have a great story to tell.

Will it still matter? I will say, yes, because you’re still thinking about it. So the dream, the desire, the hope is still there waiting to be ignited; you just need to strike the match and get going while there is time.

Remember, the truth is you have ignored or made excuses for in your past is this, your only limit is you.

Now that we have established the fact that you should no longer make cheesy excuses or hide, let’s think through the nitty-gritty of making it happen. The main obstacles I hear about are 1) money, 2) age and time.

Money. My theory on money is this. Simply put, you’ll most likely not have any more money tomorrow than you have today, so go ahead (being somewhat wise and prudent) and make the expenditure for the opportunity of a lifetime. The way I see it is, between the monetary interests on your money and the time and value of a trip or adventure, financially speaking, you should go as soon as you can make the time. You’ll have time to make money to pay it back if you go now. Waiting is just going to cost you more. By the way, do not have your financial advisor call me. They will never approve of your having fun spending money you do not have enough of or did not save. They are protecting your future for the nursing home for an extra year or two. Deb and the rest of your friends, on the other hand, want to hear your stories of your great adventure.

Age & Time. It was George Bernard Shaw who said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” And now that I am a bit older I understand his meaning–at least I think I do. I am under the impression that when you are younger, you take more chances and can bounce back a bit better. Those of us who are older and wiser and slower tend not to bounce as well.

If the dream is to run your own business, you can start a sideline business and see how it goes. The fact is, you have the time to do so if you’ll make it.

In the past, I have posted a video by Gary Vaynerchuk, which is about the second half of your life and how with the right mindset it could be better than the first half due to the wide open door of technology that has put the world at your finger tips. The best part about being a more mature entrepreneur is that you have life skills and knowledge that the kids never learned or most likely will never know until they dive into life and learn.

Stop with your bellyaching about age and time. As you well know, when something is exciting, time flies and no one asks your age; they ask what you know and if you will teach them. So consider stepping up to plate and getting ready to swing for the bleachers. If you are willing, the world is ready. If you are able, the opportunity will show itself, and if you’ll set aside your limits and excuses, there is no stopping you fulfilling your dreams.

Your only limit is you! Own it. Crush it. Forget about it and go do what you want to do.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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