We all have limitations. Dictionary.com defines limitations as “a limiting condition; restrictive weakness; lack of capacity; inability or handicap.” Limitations are a fact of life and play a role in how we shape our lives. Sometimes, we can be acutely aware of certain limitations that we have. In other instances, we have adapted to our limitations in such a way that we no longer perceive the limitation. In another category, we may not even realize we are avoiding actions or behaviours due to our limitations.
Last week, working with my long-time Pedorthist, Adam Janke regarding my orthotics, I fell into the “avoiding” category of my limitations. Without going into too many details, I was not doing my daily rehabilitation exercises prescribed for a hip issue by another specialist. Adam called me on this and knowing that I go to the gym and work out regularly, questioned my lack of motivation for these seemingly basic exercises. The result of the exchange was that he suggested some other exercises that I may be able to more easily incorporate into my existing fitness schedule. I commented to Adam that his process of uncovering my limitations and offering solutions to work with them was similar to the work I do with clients.
What struck me about this awareness of my limitations is that I consider myself relatively self-aware. Of course, as documented, there is always room for improvement. When working with clients on limitations, the experience is typically unique for each individual. The “ah-ha” moment or that moment of realization regarding that a career decision, past, present or future could be the result of a limitation, can be a step towards a sense of clarity for most. The definition of limitation as stated at the beginning of this post is also usually viewed as a negative attribute, but it does not have to be. Depending on your perception of the limitation, it could be an impetus for self-improvement, or it may push you to improve other aspects of your personality or skills set where you know you are already strong, thereby mitigating the limitation.
It may take an objective point of view to be able to realize your limitations in some cases. Regarding your limitations that you already recognize, challenge yourself to use that knowledge to become aware of and build on your strengths. A healthy awareness and acceptance of your limitations can be your roadmap to unleashing your potential in your life and career. As Jonathan Swift so eloquently wrote, “Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not of.”