3 Good Reasons to Heed Limits!
Recently I was pursuing an opportunity that I was excited to check out. Not only was it something that I would enjoy, but it would enable me to be closer to my family and be helpful to the future of The 4Sight Group. I started out cautiously optimist, and with each step, it seemed that this opportunity was going to become a reality until a major roadblock unexpectedly emerged. This idea I was pursuing was suddenly dead. Done. Over.
I found myself limited by a circumstance beyond my control, resulting, I should mention, in a full-out tantrum. I was extremely frustrated!
I’m not too fond of limits–I hate them. I pride myself in being someone who gets things done. Someone who can overcome any obstacle and make miracles happen. (Think Olivia Pope minus the Scandal!)
Are Limitation Part of Our Leadership Journey?
Possibilities energize me. Ideas inspire me. To a degree, this comes with the territory of a leader.
- Leaders inspire with hope.
- We see possibility.
- We keep people tethered to the vision.
- We’re the bridge between reality and possibility.
- We chart the way forward.
That’s why limits are so difficult for leaders to accept. We’re conditioned to see beyond boundaries and limitations.
However, I do believe that limits have a purpose, and a wise leader will pay attention to the limiting factors he or she faces.
3 Good Reasons to Heed Limits
1. Not all possibilities are good; not all ideas are sound.
Caught up in the thrill of momentum, we can begin to believe that every idea will work and that no possibility is terrible. We begin to think we’re invincible and we keep plowing forward as if we are.
Limits, if we pay attention to them, can help us slow down to evaluate and discern what is essential and necessary for this moment or season. Pay attention if you hear yourself or your team say, “Don’t worry, it will all work out.” There is a difference between faith and foolishness. Discernment is essential.
2. Ignoring limits hurts you and those you lead.
By the nature of our driven-ness, we are not comfortable with complacency. When we have not learned to manage our sense of urgency, we put the proverbial pedal to the metal and go all out.
When we do this, we leave disaster in our wake. Our health suffers, our relationships suffer, our teams suffer, and their families suffer. When we don’t recognize and respect limits, we negatively impact every circle of our influence.
It’s imperative to understand what drives and motivates us as leaders because when we abuse limits, we hurt others and ourselves.
3. Limits give us perspective.
When we are moving too fast, we don’t have time to observe the landscape and take note of what is around us. In a way, we have tunnel vision, and we can miss other concerns that may need consideration. When limited by time, resources, or some other unexpected roadblock – it forces us to pull out for a more comprehensive view. What are we missing? Is there another way? Do we need to slow down or go another route? Intentional limits may provide a perspective that helps us see another way forward.
Limitations Add Value to Your Leadership
As one wise mentor once said to me, “there are nine other numbers between 0 and 10” – meaning my leadership doesn’t have to be all or nothing. When we recognize limits, we become more keenly aware of the pace we need to lead. Extraordinary leaders learn and appreciate the value of limits.
I’m finding myself praying this prayer from Ruth Haley Barton’s book, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership.
God, help us live within the limits of what you have called us to do. Help us live within the limits of who we are – both as individuals and as an organization. Help us give our very best in the field that we have been given to work and to trust you to enlarge our sphere of action if and when you know we are ready. Help us know the difference between being driven by grandiose visions and responding faithfully to the expansion of your work in and through us.
Are you facing a limitation? Perhaps it’s not a limitation but an opportunity to expand your perspective or to trust that God, in His perfect timing, will unfold his unlimited plan.
Keep leading well.
Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group
** Are You New to The 4Sight Group? **
As leaders, we’re full of ideas and initiatives. We see potential and opportunity all around. We can almost taste the outcome, but often we get bogged down by how we’ll get from here to there.
The “how” can be overwhelming and discouraging so we give up on our goals or fail to build a plan to help us actually achieve them.
These five steps will get you and your team on the path to moving from ideas to action! We’d love to have you join our community and access this free PDF!
Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.
Jenni is the author of several books including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.