We Are Our Limitations – Until We Aren’t

Our only limitations are those we set up in our own minds – Napoleon Hill

Limit the final, utmost, or furthest boundary or point as to extent, amount, continuance, procedure, etc.

In this blog, I thought I would depart from my usual discussions about music and share with you some of the realities/illusions I am facing in the pursuit of my art. I wanted to tell you what I am learning about limitations, and would love to hear how limitations have shaped and preempted you to evolve.

Why do we create limitations? I think for many of us, we create limitations to hide behind; whether we are conscious or not of creating limitations. You don’t “have to do anything” if you have barriers that you cannot get around. I know for me, my limitations keep me in the same place and I am unable to grow. As Napolean Hill reminds us, we are our limitations. We have been raised by a society that has put limitations on us and then we add to those limitations ourselves. I have never been more aware of my limitations because I am committed to actively pursuing my dreams…So what are some of my limitations? That I am too old, I am not healthy or strong enough, I don’t have enough money, I don’t know the right people, or I can’t figure out how to do it, I don’t have time, and what would my family do without me? The thing I have learned about my limitations is that they are ways I lie to myself to avoid living my purpose.

Men must know their limitations.  Clint Eastwood 

Why do we need limitations? Limitations are a starting place. Once you are aware of what you are “not familiar with” to quote composer Kenny Werner, you can shift and learn something new. From his book Effortless Mastery: “It is good to view things as familiar or unfamiliar, rather than as difficult or easy. If you give yourself the message, “This is difficult,” the piece may discourage you, and it will still be difficult to play even after you’ve learned it. However, if you believe that all music is easy, then you’ll assume that your are unfamiliar with the piece because “it hasn’ t become easy yet”. 

We need to be aware of our limits so we can challenge them and grow past them. FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) seems to stop us from moving ahead – a survival mechanism to warn us of danger. Some say “the ego” is the one to blame when we are not willing to challenge our limits. A wise teacher once told me to acknowledge the fear in our mind and body, thank it, and tell the fear I don’t need it, and that I can handle the new challenge. The funny thing about limitations is they seem to arise when you are trying to make change in your life. Limitations function like a gatekeeper. You are tested as to whether or not you are ready to push beyond your limits.

Stop thinking in terms of limitations and start thinking in terms of possibilities. – Terry Josephson

It just takes one to demonstrate that something is possible. This is one of my favourite realizations. I remember listening to a Feed the Children representative tell a story about a little boy in a school presentation. The speaker wanted to know if anyone in the school would help with a project to feed the children in a particular war-torn country. One little boy had the courage to stand up, which made it possible for the rest of the school to stand to their feet in support.

Limitations and records are often broken in the athletic world. Olympians break records all the time. No one thought you could run a mile in less than four minutes until young doctor Roger Bannister did it in 1954. The “Bannister effect” is that people could have run a mile in under four minutes, they just thought they couldn’t do it. Just recently we learned about a disabled man who wanted to compete in the Olympics who had to fight his limitations and the limitations others put on him. Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee below the knee competed in a 400 meter race in the last summer Olympics and become one of the heroes in the games.

Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again. – James Cook 

How do you overcome a limitation? It is your CHOICE to overcome a limitation in your life. While it sounds like a simplistic explanation, there is power in making a choice and acting like no limitation exists. I have faced this a few times in the past year. Here is a small example. I was not technically capable of singing one of the parts (I was unfamiliar with the skills required) I needed to when I was making my last album. My producer, Orville Heyn, told me I wasn’t there yet and I might have to drop the song. I came home and beat myself up for a while, and then decided I was going to get it. I believed I could do it. The next day I woke up and told myself I was going to nail the part that day. I nailed it. It was my choice and a small victory.

Your limitations create your sound. Norah Jones

I also wanted to tour my new album, but felt that my responsibilities as a mom would keep me home. I thought about this “belief” – many women in the music industry have had to put their music on hold while they raise their children. It is hard and exhausting to be good at both lives. One day, I decided that I had to take my children with me on tour. I never wanted motherhood to be a limitation in my life. It is a blessing. I wanted my kids to see their mom living her dream and sharing it with them. I truly believe they will be able to pursue their dreams because I have set the example. Fortunately, I have an amazing husband and family to support me. We all went on tour in the summer and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had – combining music, family and travel.

Our intention creates our reality. – Wayne Dyer 

After you make the choice to overcome a limitation, it is critical to ensure that your INTENTION is clear – what am I here to do and why. My intention is to spread peace and harmony through my stories and songs to inspire others to find their truth. I love seeing people that have incredibly clear intention in their life…amazing things happen. My son is incredibly clear about what he wants and in his way, always rallies others to help him build his next boat project. I think Intention is an entirely other blog entry. I love this word because it is so powerful.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. – Melody Beattie 

The third way to blow the doors off your limitations is GRATITUDE. If you can be thankful for your courage to face and overcome limitations, you will attract people into your life that want to help. Gratitude brings favour into your life. When you are thankful, others can see your bright light and want to be near and help you. Gratitude is “the master key that opens the doors of possibility” Gogratitude.com.

You’ve got to know your limitations. I don’t know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren’t too many limitations, if I did it my way. – Johnny Cash

For your listening pleasure Second Chance:


5 thoughts on “We Are Our Limitations – Until We Aren’t

  1. Wise words Heather, thanks for the reminder. We are so often our own obstacles aren’t we? We may have no idea what we’re made of until we choose to overcome what isn’t necessarily limiting us, but what we believe is limiting us. The head games we can play with ourselves often have no basis in reality. They may keep us ‘safe’ but also in many ways dead to our dreams. By the way, your thoughts were a nice piece of synchronicity for me today as I’ve been thinking about creating my intentions more fully (and writing them down!) and this blog was another reminder from the universe to get on with that! xo

    1. Aynsley – I love the idea of constantly challenging our limitations — I know you are there too! Having clear intentions is so important…you going to write the next blog on this one?? xp

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