Reasons to Expand Your Limits
I feel I owe you an apology. In previous posts, here and here, I’ve shared some of my methods for expanding my self-imposed limits that had the potential to hold me back from growing my capabilities and range of experiences. I hoped they would be as much help to you as they have been to me. (Feedback indicates they were.)
But I never bothered to tell you why.
The reasons are pretty simple: by expanding your limits you not only grow your capabilities, you learn. And what you learn helps you live a better, fuller, more satisfying life. It also sets the stage for you to grow even more.
So let’s take a quick look at some of what you can learn by expanding your personal limits:
It’s Beneficial to Ask for Help
It’s a classic stereotype that men don’t like to ask for directions. It may be less of a stereotype, but many women seem equally reluctant to ask for help of any type.
You’re all wrong.
Asking for help is one of the most beneficial things you can do – for yourself, and for others.
- It adds to your knowledge, and potentially your skills and experience.
- It saves time and facilitates getting the job done.
- It starts or continues a relationship-building process with the person who helps you.
- It allows the person you ask for help to feel better about themselves and their role in the world.
Despite any feelings you may have to the contrary, people generally won’t think you’re less competent or less worthy because you’re asking for help. In most cases, they’ll perceive you as more confident and perhaps even more capable. In fact, it’s a little-known but scientifically established secret that asking someone for help is one of the best ways to get them to feel better about you.
You’ll naturally feel better about them, too.
It’ll Boost Your Self-Esteem
Just as asking for help tends to make others think better of you, it will also help you to feel better about yourself.
One reason is that, in asking for help, you’ll usually discover that you are more knowledgeable, capable, and experienced than you originally thought you were.
In addition, the help often results in accomplishing some task, project, or goal you can add to your list of successes. Next time you’re faced with a similar challenge, you’ll feel better about your ability to overcome it.
As an added bonus, the positive feelings usually generated between you and the person you’ve asked for help will also boost your self-esteem – even if only a little. Over time, asking for help from lots of people adds up to a major lift in your feelings about yourself.
It Increases Your Flexibility
When you never ask for help, everything you do comes from your own toolbox and reflects your own way of working and living. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it usually leads to a fairly rigid repertoire and perspective.
As soon as you ask for help, however, you open the door to discovering how another person does things:
- How s/he approaches this task, project, or goal.
- What tools and methods s/he uses.
- How s/he organizes and prioritizes her actions.
- What standards and values s/he adheres to.
Some of this may be very useful. In fact, some of it may be even more useful than your own approaches, tools, priorities, values, and standards.
To the extent you can recognize, understand, and incorporate this good stuff into your own skills, knowledge, and experience, it makes you more flexible, and ultimately more capable, productive, and successful.
All this learning and doing with help from others naturally leads to changes in your operating style. You become more collaborative, not only more willing to attempt tasks, projects, and goals you’ve never tried before, but also more willing to collaborate with others.
A greater willingness to ask for help opens the door to expanding your range of skills, knowledge, and experience, and to becoming more productive and successful than you ever could be on your own.
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