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By: Marissa Levin
It takes great courage to think big. It’s much safer to stay where we are comfortable, because big thinking requires us to examine what’s holding us back.
It requires us to evaluate the decisions we’ve made in our lives that seemed right at the time, but perhaps ended up not serving our highest purpose.
One of my favorite books is Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” Primarily a business book, Goldsmith asks us to examine all of the elements that we employ at certain levels of business growth, and then assess whether they are still appropriate for our organization as we grow.
This applies to employees, customers, partners, vendors, processes, IT systems, financial systems, capitalization strategies, and everything else that shapes any business.
We can apply this philosophy to our personal lives too. Understanding that everything in life is impermanent and in a constant state of motion, we are creatures of evolution. For growth-minded individuals, it is natural that the people, events, and experiences that defined us and supported us in one phase of our life may not be the same as we personally evolve.
As we grow, our world will expand to include new communities and new opportunities.
Reflecting on the first half of 2016, I’ve embraced three new opportunities and communities for quantum growth:
- In January, Inc. Magazine invited me to join their community of columnists. As a lifelong writer and entrepreneur, the opportunity to integrate these two passions with a publication like Inc. was like winning the lottery. However, I unknowingly stepped into one of the steepest learning curves I’ve ever encountered.Many times I felt inept and questioned whether I was in over my head. My editorial team never wavered in their belief of me as I grew into the role of a columnist. My mindset has gradually shifted from one of doubt to one of confidence. However, it took many soul-searching conversations with myself and with my inner tribe of support to keep going.
- In April, EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) Global asked me to join their Global Communications Committee (GCC) to help set the internal communications strategy for outreach to its 11,000 global members. We are responsible for creating consistent messaging across a range of diverse communities & cultures, that unifies, engages, connects, & excites all members. I momentarily questioned my ability to successfully achieve the objectives assigned to me, but once again I shifted my mindset to one of confidence and determination to succeed.
- In May, Women’s Presidents Organization (WPO) contacted me to consider assuming the role of Chair for its Northern Virginia chapter. WPO is a global organization of several thousand women leaders who run companies that generate an average of $13 million in annual revenues. Their Zenith-level members gross more than $153 million annually.These women represent the very best of women’s leadership. The role of the Chair is to facilitate monthly meetings for groups of 15-20 local women leaders to help them develop their greatest leadership potential. Again, I heavily weighed the responsibility presented to me. I’m being entrusted with a global Brand, and the women I will facilitate bring serious business challenges to the group. All of the women in WPO are incredibly successful. To be a leader of leaders is the highest leadership calling.
In each of these examples, I had to be comfortable with the unknown, and with being the least knowledgeable and/or experienced in the community. I had to embrace being “new.” What almost held me back in each opportunity were the questions, “What happens if I fail?” “What if I am not enough?”
These questions can lead us down a dark path of imagining worst case scenarios that likely will not materialize. I consciously flipped the question to, “What happens if I succeed?” With this thinking, my potential is limitless. One of the most transformational books of my life is “The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself.”
- “Contemplate how much energy is wasted resisting what might happen. Since most of the things you think might happen never do, you are just throwing your energy away.”
- “Stop and think about what you’re capable of achieving. Up to now, your capacities have been constrained by constant inner struggles. Imagine what would happen if your awareness was free to focus only on the events actually taking place, free from the fear of past events or future outcomes. If you lived like this, your capabilities would be exponential compared to what you’ve ever experienced.”
In my last column, I discussed the importance of setting boundaries that prevents others from entering into our personal space when it doesn’t serve us. Now I’ll discuss the importance of recognizing the boundaries you place upon yourself that are self-limiting beliefs. We all set limits for ourselves, knowingly and unknowingly. When we approach our limits, we begin to feel uncomfortable and insecure. Our internal voice sends us conflicting messages to move forward towards the calling, but to also stay safe.
We can never know what awaits us on the other side until we brush up against the edge of possibility.
- What are your boundaries?
- How resistant are you to going beyond your boundaries?
- How does the fear of the unknown, or fear of failure impact your willingness to embrace opportunities for growth?
- How are you limiting your access to your greatest potential and joy?
These are important questions to address when we are presented with opportunities to expand any aspect of our life.
Your boundaries are your personal container. As you move through this life, strive to expand the container. Your greatest potential lies beyond its walls.
You are stronger than your boundaries, and more capable than you realize.
You are as strong as the depth of your courage.
See you on the other side of comfort!