“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” – Albert Einstein
Our careers, just like our personal lives and aspirations, are full of limitations. Though some, like the physical, cannot be always overcome, there are countless numbers of limitations that we actually (unknowingly) impose upon ourselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur or someone who works for the man.
The plain and simple reality about the following 5 career limitations is that they’re very much under your control. If you want success in your business or job, it’s important to nip them in the bud before your life flashes by and time runs out.
1. Kill all those “Yeses”
There’s only so many hours in the day. Not to mention, none of us have any idea when our final tomorrow is coming. Saying yes to every request that comes in is a sure-fire way to limit your own success in life and business.
You have to put a value on your own time – pick and choose what activities and favors you engage in. Eric Thomas often repeats this great quote:
“I have 24 hours in the day. During that 24 hours, I can either make my life or break my life.”
The yeses do have their place, but make sure it’s worth your while. For instance:
- Agreeing to go drinking with friends when you know you have to be at the top of your game the next day.
- Agreeing to go to a concert of an artist you don’t even like just because you don’t want to hurt a friend’s feelings.
- Doing something time consuming and/or inconvenient, like agreeing to move a friend halfway across the country when you know you need to buckle down and get to work.
You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Say “no.” Apologize if you want to. But assuage your conscience by going above and beyond to get what YOU want out of life.
2. Cut out the noise
Our lives are full of external noise that corrupts our ability to get what we truly want with our career. Emails, social media, trashy celeb gossip sites, text messages, BBM, etc. – all contribute to your personal and business life, for better or worse.
These career-halting limitations are literally killing your dreams and sapping your creative energy – every single day if you’re like most living in the digital era. Those who find the internal strength to kill these “dream killers” are the very same people you see gracing the cover of Forbes magazine on a regular basis.
For the most part, these distractions are no different from interrupting your workflow to battle it out with someone in Call of Duty or some other mindless video game. If it isn’t relevant, leave the frivolous for when/if you have the time to act like a brainless teenager with no responsibilities beyond doing the dishes after dinner 5 nights a week.
3. Terminate information overload
Basically, figure out what you need to, and truly want to know. Cut out the rest of the crap that you don’t. This is similar to cutting the noise (ie., celeb gossip and the like) but goes far beyond that.
There’s so much information available these days, really good information – for some people. Take learning a language for instance, or reading up on a subject that has nothing to do with your goals, but seems cool anyway. Many of us would love to learn a new language, like how to speak Spanish or French.
What you have to ask yourself, though, is this: “Will learning this language – or reading this book on 17th century baroque artwork really help push my business/career in the right direction?” The answer will tell you whether forcing your brain to absorb this information right now is helping or hurting your ambitions.
Same goes for the news. Just how many stories can you listen to about the carnage surrounding ISIS and their misbegotten campaign to terrorize the world can you really handle during a day – a week? Sometimes, we just have to say “No, not right now. I don’t have time to read/watch/listen to that!” to the information put before us, just like we have to say no to requests that aren’t in line with our goals.
4. Limit the people you let in your life
I’m not saying to stop making new friends and business contacts. However, you need to limit those you let in to those who share your values and also those who’re motivated to succeed – and willing to work their way toward it each and every day.
Like that stoner roommate you’re still hanging out with, perhaps more out of a sense of nostalgia or obligation, than because you actually enjoy their company? Get rid of them…
They aren’t going to help you go up, but rather down. How many times in life have you heard someone at the bottom working for minimum wage complaining that some former friend of theirs stopped hanging out with them once that person started making the big bucks, launching a successful business, or getting a big promotion at work?
Too many times to count, I’d guess…
That’s because limiting your friendships and contacts to people who’re like-minded in some form or another is the only way to ensure you’re properly focused on the endgame you’re hoping to achieve.
5. Quit chasing other people’s definition of success
This is the last bit of advice I’ll leave you with. You don’t need to be a banker, lawyer – whatever – because someone else thinks that’s what will make you great. Parents, sadly, are usually the worst for this career-killing limitation. Once you realize that success is ultimately that which fulfills you and you only, chasing your own dreams becomes all the more easy.
In a way, this is another form of external noise. A loud, thundering racket that pushes you to chase after something in an effort to get validation from the people telling you what they consider greatness, when in reality you’ll find yourself standing on top of an explosive volcano at the end of the journey, rather than that big mountain you’ve dreamed of climbing ever since you were a kid.
“Our only limitations are those we set up in our own minds.” Napoleon Hill