3 Things That Limit Your Potential and How to Overcome Them

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” ~George Sheehan

Here’s the routine: wake up, do my work, watch TV, and go to bed.

This was a regular day in my life not long ago. It was not too eventful and not overly challenging, and to be the honest, the less challenging it was, the less stress there was for me—at least that’s what I thought.

I had been working online for a few years, and my income was not up to where I wanted it to be. In fact, it was pretty far away from the numbers I had floating around in my head! But still, I went through the same motions everyday, hoping that one day I’d reach those numbers through hard work and perseverance.

I am a big believer in taking action to create the life you want, and at that point I thought I was taking action.

I would work hard during my day writing articles, perfecting my website’s SEO, and posting in forums. I did this daily because my schedule on the wall told me to do this to be successful. It even told me what time to stop doing one thing and start doing another.

Occasionally, I would read articles from other online marketers and bloggers about link building and networking. Even my husband, who is involved in real estate, would talk about that relationships he was building and how it helped him with his business.

But I kept brushing those ideas off because they were outside of my comfort zone.

I didn’t want to talk to people and build relationships. I’ve never been a social person, and it's not inside my comfort zone.

Then I started reading Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles. I learned that if I was ever going to see a change in my business and life, I had to push outside my comfort zone. I had to take the risks that scared me and face my fears head on in order to realize what I was capable of and what I could accomplish.

I now realize that I was stressed about not succeeding, in large part because I was unwilling to get uncomfortable. I now know that the payoff of stepping out of your comfort zone is well worth the initial nervousness that yells, “Get out of here and go back to what feels familiar and safe!”

Now I try to do one thing every day that is outside of my comfort zone. I find that every time I do something that I would normally have passed over before, I become stronger and more confident. With each accomplishment I realize my abilities and potential.

Want to open yourself up to new possibilities and success? Then move out of your comfort zone! Here are a few things that may be holding you back from doing for something you want, as well as some reasons and ways to move beyond them.

1. Rejection

Rejection can lead you to feel like you’re not good enough, since it often leads to criticism, from yourself or someone else. Use this criticism to learn how you can improve in order to succeed. Once you know what you have to develop, you can work on those areas and try again. If you keep learning and growing, you will succeed.

For instance, if you submit an article and receive a rejection email because your writing skills are not up to par, you could easily feel like an incompetent writer, give up, and never submit another article again.

Or you can take the criticism, learn from it, and come back with something far stronger. There’s literally nowhere to go but up. Learn all you can about writing professionally (or whatever it is you do). With some practice and persistence, you will eventually get your article published.

A little rejection is inevitable, but if you’re willing to keep trying, you will see both progress and results.

2. Fear

Fear holds so many people back in life. Fear of the outcome, fear of the unknown, fear of not being good enough, and fear of failing—we go through them all. You can pile fear on top of fear until eventually you find it easier to just forget the whole idea and do something that makes you comfortable.

Fear stems from our beliefs about ourselves, which come from our experiences and feedback from family and friends. If you have had a negative experience with something, then you may fear experiencing that negative feeling again. If you have been told that you can’t do something, then you might be fearful that you really can’t do it.

You need to remove these limiting beliefs and push past the fear. You can do this by using positive affirmations about yourself and consistently using positive self-talk to boost up your confidence level. It also helps to surround yourself with people who believe in you and your abilities and push you forward to face your fears.

3. Inability

Sometimes we know that we can’t do something, and sometimes we have tried to do something before and failed. For instance, if you have never tried swimming before, then taking on the challenge of swimming across a lake may seem unrealistic. On the other hand, if you have tried to swim across the lake before and failed, then you may hold the belief that you just can’t do it.

Fortunately for us, inability is something that everyone can push past. With enough effort, you can learn almost anything you set your mind to. You just have to find the information or help and start learning and practicing.

For example, you can take swimming lessons, even if you need to start with an absolute beginner class. Eventually, you will move on to more advanced swimming lessons, and soon you will be swimming on your own. Then you can practice swimming long distance until you feel confident you can make it across that lake.

You just have to start small and keep going.

Don’t let your comfort zone hold you back from taking risks, reaching your potential, and experiencing success. The more you push through your comfort zone, the larger it will become. Soon it will come much more naturally and easily to do things that move you toward your dreams!

Photo by Nicholas T

About Kari Farmer

Kari is the owner of Manifest Connection, a website focused on personal growth and self improvement for the body, mind, and soul.

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  • Nice post, thanks Kari

  • Warriorlily

    I like this, and in general, like most of your topics and posts. But this article assumes ability, ie this article is written for able-bodied people who don’t have any kind of disability or health issue.

  • Kalf1an

    Awesome article Kari! 🙂 

  • Brollydeanna

    This article couldnt have appeared at a better time! Thanks again tiny buddha! Baby steps to success!

  • This post is so true.

  • I used to be the same way when I started out in online business – afraid to take risks or do anything uncomfortable, and convincing myself that I could get by just doing more and working hard at what was comfortable. This time around I know that’s not true, and I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone like you say. It’s amazing howmany things really aren’t that hard once I get up the nerve to try doing them. Quite liberating.

  • Kari

    So true! The things we stress out about are never as hard as we imagine them to be.

  • Thanks for the positive comment 🙂

  • I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

  • I personally think that anyone can move out of their comfort zone (whatever that is) and push past the fear. Sure there may be some obstacles if you have a disability but there are often ways around those obstacles. I see examples of this everyday.

    For example, if Terry Fox had decided that he didn’t want to do run across Canada because he was scared that he couldn’t do it then he never would have known what it felt like to inspire people and run over 3000 miles for a cause that he believed in, and we never would have got to witness such an awesome event.

    My dad has a chronic illness, but he pushes past his comfort zone that tells him he should sit on the couch because his body hurts too much, and he keeps active everyday and does the things he loves. He feels good mentally when he does this – maybe not always physically, but he doesn’t let that hold him back.

    My viewpoint of the article was that there is a definite comfort zone we all have. Sometimes we don’t leave it because of fear, and we don’t even try! But when we do, we discover things about ourselves and our potential that we didn’t know about before.

  • Anonymous

    This is what I am working now in my life and my blog.  You are right when you say you have to start small.  I’m a naturally shy person, so it is hard, but the results from the baby steps I’ve made, have been fantastic!

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  • Hi Kari.

    I just got to read your post as I’m pushing through with a revised marketing plan for the rest of 2011 to use in my new start-up business. Although I know it requires baby steps, I really like your tactic of doing one thing each day that nudges out of our comfort zone. Perfect timing!

    Thanks so much.

  • Will Lukang

    Excellent post! Being able to tackle those three limitation meant working outside of our comfort zone. When we operate outside of our comfort zone, we grow and develop. By doing so we are able to accomplish more.

    Thanks for sharing.



  • lissa Keigwin

    Good topic, thank you! I totally agree about not getting stuck in that place where you feel secure, because growth just won’t happen at the rate you want it to.

    My question is about pushing too far outside of your comfort zone, though. If you do that, are you in effect taking a step backwards because you are setting yourself up for failure? I’ve recently been trying to make huge leaps out of my comfort zone and finding myself failing a lot, not to mention, experiencing a lot of embarrassment and self-doubt.

    Is taking large steps out of your comfort zone productive or does it at some point become self-defeating? If it is self-defeating, is there a way to determine how far you should push before going too far?

  • Zahrah Bhatti

    Wonderful and Inspiring. <3 Thank you.

  • Christie Nguyen

    I like your article and where its going but i feel like its missing something… it feels incomplete

  • kj

    hi..if age becomes your obstacle then its very difficult to overcome… how does one overcome which is beyond our control