How to go beyond your limits

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April 7th – 6.45 am – Paris, Gare Du Nord

Welcome to a cold Parisian morning. DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean” is playing loud in my headphones. Both French and British officers checked my passport at Eurostar customs. I am going to London for a 4-day motivational marathon. I want clarity on one question.

Why are some people outstanding at what they do?

Some people are just “insanely great.” They seem to have found a recipe for success, which helps them push beyond what others can achieve. If that recipe was encoded in their DNA, the rest of us might as well give up and accept our limits. But it seems that most outstanding people weren’t born that way. Each of them has decided to become great and take steps to transform themselves into what they want to be.

If greatness is a learned behavior, then it’s something to which we can all aspire. Why don’t more people achieve outstanding with a moderate effort of will and a little homework? Of course, it’s a complicated question, but I believe one factor above any other blocks success: the fear of failing.

Overcoming the fear of failing

Fear holds us back from making all sorts of decisions, whether in our work or private lives. We naturally tend to say, “I can’t do it,” “I’m not qualified,” or “that’s too complex for me.” It’s easier for us to play it safe rather than fighting for success and risking failure

Fear is a natural human impulse designed to protect us. But, in modern life, most nervous impulses are generated by things that will make us uncomfortable rather than seriously harm us. And, very often, making ourselves uncomfortable is a side effect of seeking out positive change. Fear can be a signal we’re doing something worthwhile.

When we’re too comfortable, we risk settling into passive routines that smother our potential. The path of least resistance can be almost irresistible. Remember all those New Year’s resolutions that barely lasted beyond the first week of January? Making promises to ourselves is easy, but keeping them is problematic because it requires us to face our fears and change.

The good news is that there are easy techniques we can all use to overcome this challenge. By transforming our outlook from negative to positive, we empower ourselves with a mentality that invites success. Coach the brain to make the impossible possible

Create a Positive State

We all have friends who can put a negative spin on things no matter what life offers them. They’ve created a negative state and repeated it so many times it’s become a habit. I know a few of these people. Their negative perspective doesn’t just affect them – it brings me down too! But if negativity can be contagious, so can positivity. Smiling is positively infectious. It makes us feel good! Music has the same effect. Smiling and listening to music that makes me happy are easy to incorporate into my daily life. And when you work on existing in a positive, peak state, it becomes routine. 

You know it’s working when people around you embrace your energy, reflect your smile, echo your positive attitude. They feel rewarded by your state, and so do you. For many people, a positive mental state comes with a physical effort. Many people do a quick run, jump, throw their hands up in the air. Correctly breathing provides more oxygen to the brain, causing a tremendous energetic feeling.

Take a few moments each day to find the physical triggers that help you achieve a positive state of mind. You’ll find challenges begin to seem much more manageable in this state as you focus on the solution rather than the problem.

Take massive action

You’ve already taken a big step: you’re thinking about making a change. Now the daunting task is to move from “I’ll do it some time” to “I’ll do it now.” By far, the biggest obstacle for excellence is to overcome that little voice that tells you, “I’m not good enough,” or “Not sure I can do it.”

Instead of fighting with your fear, embrace it, live with it, and transform it into motivation.

Track your progress

Monitor your progress. You need to learn if what you are doing is working or not. Keep adjusting until you start to get the results you want. Once you feel you have achieved your goal, reward yourself. That’s important! It would help if you transformed your achievement into a positive moment stored in your brain. A moment that you can retrieve later when you are striving towards your next achievement.

By modeling excellence in ourselves, we teach the brain that little repetitive changes will become a positive habit by coaching ourselves to move beyond our comfort zone and shape your new you. Most leaders have become exceptionally good at coaching themselves and devising routines. They create a methodology, and they stick to it because they know it works.

Model your brain in a new way.

  1. Focus on what moves you – find your passion
  2. Put yourself in a peak state and condition your brain to feel emotionally great
  3. Map what other successful people do
  4. Embrace fear, don’t fight it
  5. Create rituals, like waking up early, go running, yoga
  6. Take action now, don’t wait till tomorrow; momentum is critical
  7. Track progress, like weight loss or running progress
  8. Appreciate progress by finding your rewarding ritual
  9. Help others to grow; you will feel great


Start unleashing your potential today.


Image : Red Bull