Why Accepting Your Limitations is Powerful

If this is the first blog post that you have read, then I apologise if I have jumped the gun and you are left wondering what the fuck is he on about. I am pretty sure you will get the gist pretty quickly…

You see I am often left reeling at the insensitivity of not only people but businesses who have catchy tag lines that make absolutely no sense. They sound great when you say them, full of power, hope, belief, and intention, and if true they would be awesome. People actually create businesses on the back of these tag lines and believe in the bullshit of the words that are written.

What things trigger you? How do you respond to peoples insensitivity and/or lack of understanding since experiencing life-changing trauma?

I know I could prove them to be incorrect but I am likely to end up 6ft under all for the sake of stroking my own ego! The safest option would be to share my heartfelt opinions on the other side of a screen while punching the letters on the keypad. That way, if you get triggered by what I have to say then we can share our thoughts whilst both still living to fight another day. Pretty much a win win wouldn’t you say?

When you reflect on the tagline “Living without limits?” what comes up for you? Do you feel an explosive energy that you can literally achieve anything in the world or do you like me question the power of the words that have been written?

You must have heard or seen the catchy tag lines “Living Without Limits”, or “You can achieve anything that you put your mind to”? I mean what total and utter bullshit… Apologies for bringing those of you back down to earth with a loud thud and pulling your head out of your arse but if I was to live a life outside of my limitations I would end up dead.

In 2006 I was diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening heart condition, the same condition that has claimed the lives of many high performing athletes when triggering a cardiac arrest. The most infamous incident being Fabrice Muamba collapsing in front of the Sky Television cameras in the game versus Tottenham Hotspur versus Bolton Wanderers when broadcast around the world. Thankfully medical intervention allowed Fabrice Muamba to survive but have any of you seen him grace a football pitch since? If yes, it is clearly a case of mistaken identity!

What are your own personal limitations? How do you cope with the limits placed upon your physical self? What have you learnt about yourself through the new restrictions placed upon your life that are now outside of your own control? How would you support others in a powerful way to move forward despite the limits that life-changing trauma placed upon them in a physical sense?

I just love it when I hear “You can achieve anything when you put your mind to it”, something I often hear parents telling their young children… I too use to believe the mind over matter stuff as it was the digging deep and displaying immense character and resilience that allowed me to comeback after suffering a full rupture of the patella tendon, with broken tibia and fibula, basically the two main bones in your leg. This required a number of operations and intensive rehabilitation. The self-belief in myself to cross over the white line when Consultants believed it never to be possible was purely a mental challenge, so I get it… to a degree.

My mind still wants that “rugby player” label but if the body was to follow my heart could spark into arrhythmia not only causing excruciating pain and discomfort but potential stroke and brain damage, an outcome I consider far worse than the alarming words of sudden death and dying. So who are you to tell me “live a life without limits”, or “You can achieve anything you put your mind too”, when in fact its just total bullshit, words without substance, and people not having a real appreciation of what it is to live in a body that restricts you daily from what you felt your purpose in the world to be.

How can others without life-changing trauma support you and others moving forward? When could family, friends, and colleagues be most supportive during your life-changing trauma? What is the one deepest and most meaningful thing you have learnt about you as a person since experiencing life-changing trauma?

It is not about me but other people with hidden illnesses who appear fit and healthy on the outside only to find more sinister going on’s internally. Take the extraordinary group of people who have lost limbs yet achieved more than most able bodied individuals and still face limitations…

I remember watching a remarkable video of a young man by the name of Henry Fraser, a promising rugby player with Saracens Academy who suffered paralysis from the shoulders down. Henry’s mental strength is clear for all to see, taking 9 years to just push and pull a 2kg bar above his head, moving from a broom handle 3 years previously. However, no amount of mental strength would allow Henry to benchpress 100kg and again he has recognised his own limitations as his mind has allowed him the opportunity to strive only so far due to his physical capacity.

So do we just give up and have no hope? No… that could not be further from the truth. It is about pushing those limitations through the power of the mind. Not listening to the doubters who tell us we can’t do things or that its never been done before by people in our position. You should never hand control of your life into to the hands of another as the one powerful asset that each and everyone of us has is our mind. The ability to change our thoughts, emotions, attitudes and subsequent behaviours is fully within our control. It is those inner workings that can provide the difference between feeling limited rather than limitless.

When have you handed control of your life over to another? What can you do to take back control and live life on your terms? How can you create the shifts in mindset required to skyrocket your life to the next level? What changes do you need to make in your current thinking to make things happen?

It never has been about “Living a life without limits”, because that is just damn right stupid. Overcoming our challenges and finding where our true limits lie is much more invigorating when taking a physical stance. I have learnt to push the limits physically but there is a ceiling of sensibility. How awful life would be if I needed to stop and surrender to a world I would find restrictive, boring, and totally unfulfilling after a week, month, or year when everything to be accomplished and explored on a physical plane had been achieved…

What are your limitations? How do you know you cannot achieve more? What can you change to push yourself physically whilst still achieving continuous spiritual and psychological growth? How will you inspire your inner being to continually want more?

Psychologically I had a titanic challenge. How could I grow as a person and be all that I wanted to be both personally and towards others who came into my path? What did I need to change to increase my own self-awareness around “who I was” as a person? Overcoming feelings of anger, frustration, and depression as a direct impact of my identity being shattered was a phenomenal challenge and one based on choice and free will. I could have thrown in the towel and surrendered… pushed myself physically one last time and ended up dead like my good friend Mitchell Cole, an ex professional footballer for Stevenage FC who passed away a week before the birth of his third child, aged 27 with the same heart condition.

Instead I made the choice to exercise my “inner power”, bracing myself for the constant ups and downs as my mind fluctuated between suicidal thoughts and beliefs of transformation that I could get through this. Sport was like being caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand it drove my resilience and ability to thrust myself into a world of pain but was also my reason for not doing any low intensity activity due to being scared of my own competitive nature.

What can you transition from your previous life to skyrocket your success as the “new you?”, How have you changed your identity to give you a new sense of meaning and purpose in this lifetime?

My biggest fear was “feeling inadequate”, I was not considered academic and never pictured myself sitting in an office, labelling myself as “thick” or “not intelligent” in comparison to my peers. When you say it enough it starts to stick and self-confidence was at an all time low.

My mind bounced questions around like “what girls would ever want me now?”, and “Why me?”, and “I’m a failure, what can I do with my life?”, to the more philosophical “Who am I?”. Despite holding a Postgraduate Degree in “Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology”, limiting beliefs and comparisons to others shone brighter than ever because I never expected to use this stuff… It was more to appease my parents than to satisfy any burning desire for academic success.

What are your own limiting beliefs that have affected you moving forward more powerfully? How have you managed to change a negative perception of yourself? What more could you do to ignite the confidence needed to transform your life even more?

Sitting with yourself can be an awful experience but it can also be enlightening as you start to recognise the “Real You”, your emotional triggers, what situations cause you the greatest anxiety alongside feelings of resentment, guilt, anger, and frustration.

If you are prepared to dig deep below the surface, the learnings can be incredibly rewarding as you strive towards a better version of yourself.

How many of you have asked questions of yourself like you do of others? How many of you really know thyself? When do you feel the most pain? Who and what triggers the most emotional turmoil within yourself? What are your greatest challenges? What have been your biggest successes? What are your true limitations? How have you coped with your life-changing trauma? What has been your number one strategy for having greater inner peace that you can share with and inspire others towards living a more fulfilled life after trauma?

Want to go deeper…? Then read my next blog about intriguing life lessons, supercharging my future, and coping with life-changing trauma.

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