Much of the work in my professional practice comes down to studying oneself in order to expand beyond self-imposed limits. We all arrive into the primes of our lives with such limitations because of things that have happened to us. It’s a part of life that we react to the things that happen to us. The challenges arise when we find ourselves stuck. Maybe we get stuck because we overreact or overcompensate for prior experiences. Or, maybe we stay stuck because all we do is react instead of devising a proactive plan to move forward.

Self-Imposed Limits Related to Personal Style

You might find it remarkable that this comes up in my work as a personal stylist. But, when it comes to people and their appearances, many people find themselves stuck, not knowing how to look better. If others tell us that we can only go so far, and we believe it after hearing it so much, we model ourselves into self-imposed limits. So many people have revealed that this is their key issue over the years. It likely helps them to receive empathetic coaching from someone who has been there and has experienced that. It really is possible to expand beyond self-imposed limits and develop a remarkably good image that shows gravitas and charisma.

Expanding Beyond How You Think Of Yourself

People also box themselves in by thinking that their reputation is one thing, when their biggest supporters see more clearly. Probably the greatest secret benefit to people who study their personal brand is the opportunity to maximize their inherent strengths and gifts. It’s easy to under-appreciate what flows so naturally through oneself because natural abilities don’t require exertion or much work. This is why supportive feedback from ardent supporters can guide one to expand beyond self-imposed limits. From there, it is possible to recalibrate what is actually possible and set sights toward a higher potential.

Unlike self-imposed limits, sheltering-in-place and other restrictions have caused people to feel unusually boxed in. It could be because of the pandemic, but it seems that many people have been inspired to soul search. If this has happened to you, then congratulations to you. Looking inward because the pandemic has personally affected you is a positive. That inward search can then help you to expand beyond self-imposed limits that you had never before realized. This can lead to improving your attitude and mindset, skills and productivity, and getting out of the shelter-in-place doldrums.

Examples to Consider to Inspire You to Expand Beyond Self-Imposed Limits

Some people I know have experienced this and chose to use this time to explore the boxes they are in. In reality, while we might like to think without bounds or limits, it helps to know the space you’re in. Also, it can be instructive to think constructively about that space and give it proper definition.

An example of this happens when a new client receives a color profile. The advice I like to offer upon presentation of the palette for thorough review is that these colors are enough. After all, we have reduced about 550 or so sticks in the master palette to somewhere around 25 sticks. This sets up a limitation. I invite the client to think with childlike innocence and consider each palette piece as a sandbox toy. In a sandbox, just like the color palette, boundaries exist. But, with plenty of toys and sand, all of the accoutrements are right there to foster play and creativity. Suddenly the presentation of the best colors doesn’t seem the least bit limiting. Knowing the boundaries is freeing.

When people think about their personal brand, it’s not at all like the limited number of color palette pieces. In this case, it’s more like a jigsaw puzzle. Every puzzle has its dimensions, including a fixed number of pieces. Think of it like this. If a young person were a jigsaw puzzle, that person-as-a-puzzle would consist of a fewer number of pieces. Whereas, a successful adult-as-a-puzzle would have many more pieces and be more challenging to complete. Not to mention that the puzzle design would also be at a higher level of sophistication. So, imagine what it’s like to discover and explore new pieces to complete the puzzle.

A Recent Personal Anecdote

This has been on my mind for a while because, while advising others, I’m also working on myself. Beyond refining my personal style and brand this year, I committed to follow my advice to expand beyond self-imposed limits. And late last week, I had one of those conversations that helped me to see things in a whole new light. It is seriously amazing what can happen when we concentrate on listening to another person’s perspective about you.

My dear confidante and I relate as close friends and colleagues, and get each other as if we were siblings. I had been sharing with her off and on for a while about how I felt a bit stuck. And I knew why, but simply didn’t know how to get unstuck in this situation. I confided that I couldn’t take a certain risk. And then she did what only the finest coach would do: she challenged me to expand beyond self-imposed limits that I alone had set. And it was so simple.

She marveled at how I am one of the biggest risk-takers she knows. All because I moved across the country to take a chance on love. She said that she would never do it. And for added punch, she reminded me that I did this at age 50. To tell you the truth, I never took that as risk because being this way just flows right through me. But, seeing it from another perspective, I could see immediately the validity, accuracy, and truth of her statement. She affirmed something for me so that I could see it, too. And now this I can embody and behave as a risk-taker.

How do you want to expand beyond self-imposed limits?