While reading a book called The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer, he joked that writing a book on acknowledging our limits would make a boring book, but to me, it piqued my nerdy interest. In our society, we wear overworking like the newest designer purse, ensuring everyone sees. Anyone who desires a life with boundaries and regular rest is told they are lazy. As I mentioned in this post, the hustle culture is the core pain point in many of our burned-out lives.
Quit quitting has been a hot topic lately, and I found it quite humorous as this isn’t some new phenomenon going around. Many people for decades have been disengaged by their work, yet the fundamental need to have income in a society that discards you if you don’t is ever-present. In light of the past few years, many people are unhappy with the life they created, often out of necessity, and are pushing back on tone-deaf employers. Many people, unfortunately, can’t make loud protests, so it happens covertly and passively. When you have bills to pay yet struggle, the passive doing only the bare minimum is a coping mechanism for working outside one’s limitations.
Understanding your limitations provides you freedom. Limits are boundaries that guide us on how to engage with people and places. From my project manager’s lens, limitations provide the scope of our lives. If you take a quick scroll on motivational content, much of it screams you are the limit. However, we all have our giftings, and it makes us no higher or lower in the span of society. Now what society may hold dear is fleeting at best, and often, we are chasing the stamp of societal approval. For instance, many women in the pursuit of their careers burn themselves out by trying to be all things to all people, in part of societal standards that genuinely don’t embrace women in the workplace but still demand them to tend to the home exclusively.
When researching the term limitations, the definition of limited ability, a defect or failing, appeared. When you’re trying to outrun failure, as it has such a negative connotation, we are burning ourselves out unconsciously. If you derive your worth outside of yourself, you will always be enslaved to going outside your limits to a fault.
Some limitations are self-imposed that we use to self-protect in society. Understanding and acknowledging one’s limits allows us to operate in the way we are designed optimally. For example, if you’re moving and trying to fit a sofa in your 2-door sedan, you will run into issues as it operates outside its limits. Limits are on various things we use as going outside of such means possible injury.
Acknowledging your unique needs provides you with all the tools you need to craft an enjoyable and rich life. For instance when you are well rested, your perspective changes, and your ability to make connections are sharper. The increased visibility of mental health and other health breakdowns in society indicates how we have crafted an unsustainable lifestyle yet are unwilling to acknowledge and railing against our design. Much of our refusal is due to various isms in the world and the need to do more to make ourselves seem shiny and valuable, thus protected. As great as technological advances are, we are languishing behind as we are constantly unable to keep churning. In my life, I have found 3 ways operating within your gifts helps alleviate stress and allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
- Understanding your gifts allows you to show up more engaged
When you’re doing something you enjoy, you can get lost in it. I have worked with many people over the years, and it’s never lost on me that it’s almost infectious when working with someone excited about their work. When you operate from gifting, you will be able to find solutions and become even more efficient in your area of expertise.
- Embracing your gifts allows for mediocrity to fall
My natural talent is speaking, and it comes effortlessly. I get excited at large crowds, and it just amps me more to perform well. Technical difficulty or any issues that may pop up don’t stop the show. Working within areas outside my limits always felt like a chore and was suffocating, requiring me much more downtime, which often wasn’t great as I constantly dreaded having to work again. Embracing what I’m truly good at limits opportunities; however, it enhances the opportunities I seek as I know I can show up fully.
- Embracing limits allows for joy
When your waste time doing things outside your wheelhouse, you miss opportunities to use your time in the areas you do well. For example, I recently had to remove myself from a project as I found my skills weren’t up to the task. In the past, I would continue to flounder and make a mess of things; however, knowing when to quit and pivot helps me see my limits and reroute quicker. This takes a realistic assessment of your skills and also a comfortable ego.
You should feel empowered to push yourself and know where to stop. A disciplined person understands that I can either put more effort into something that isn’t made for me or use my gift correctly. It may be hard in a society that pushes maxing out everything; however, taking an active focus in your life should be your heart’s desire. When you know your capacity, you can enjoy it and live the life you desire, no matter who approves.