Finding Your Limits And Working With Them

There’s a difference between strategically striving towards success and pushing against a brick wall to get there. This difference may lie in recognising your limitations and pivoting to accommodate them.

Recognising and accepting your personal limits may not seem like a palatable task, yet it’s important for development and forward movement. This willingness to accept your present shortcomings can open up opportunities. In fact, the ability to adapt to change has been linked to better performance and to increased life satisfaction.

How do you determine your limitations?

Honest self-reflection is a great place to start. It’s easy to do, anytime. You can set aside a few moments to jot things down, but you can also put it into play throughout your day. For instance, when a challenge or task arises, ask yourself: Does this fit within my skill set and am I able to handle it?

Your answer will likely be “yes” more often than not. After all, we continuously and subconsciously assess and accept challenges from our environment. But when you fall short and are unsure how to proceed, be honest with yourself.

And it’s not just about practical skills—it’s about personality characteristics as well. Notice any unnecessary reactions and tendencies towards situations.

Listen to constructive feedback from others. The famous human ego loves to get defensive when we’re told we’re wrong. But feedback is a great indicator of how and where we can improve.

Observe and learn from others rather than playing lone wolf. The work place is full of people with different skill sets, so soak up what’s around you. This can help you realise how much there always is to learn.

Need some examples?

Limit: You find you are easily stressed and overwhelmed at work, often biting off more than you can chew. Handling more than a few projects at once isn’t realistic at the moment.

Working with it: Work on yourself in the areas of stress management and letting go of control. Learn to delegate, collaborate, and accept help from others.

Limit: You find you aren’t experienced enough in a certain area and the need for this particular skill set keeps arising.

Working with it: First, accept help from a knowledgeable co-worker. Then, think about the possibility for professional development. Tell your employer that your performance would benefit from a course or certificate, and see what they can do to help.

Limit: Your communication could use some work. You struggle getting ideas across and sometimes find yourself in misunderstandings.

Working with it: Focus on self-improvement. Research ways to improve communication in the workplace and practice every day. Don’t get discouraged if you stumble along the way.

It’s not often we discuss limitations. Perhaps because it’s more motivating to discuss abilities and strengths. Yet there is no shame in identifying where we need to develop—because that’s how we eventually succeed.