April 6, 2010

What do you have to work with?

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How many times have you put yourself down for some perceived flaw? How many times have you thought to yourself that you'd never achieve a goal or be successful at something you dreamed about because of something "wrong" with you? Something about you that is fixed -- and therefore can't be changed.

How many times have you said to yourself that you could never get on stage and speak... or speak for an hour... or speak to more than ten people... or whatever other arbitrary ceiling you've determined you can't reach?

Guess what: We all have limitations. We all struggle. We all face mental or physical challenges in our personal and work lives. We all have fears, insecurities and doubts.

At a pivotal point in the movie "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," Tommy discovers in an intimate moment that Hedwig is not who he thought she was...

Tommy: What is that?
Hedwig: It's what I have to work with.

You don't have to let those perceived flaws define you. You don't have to let those fears stop you. You just have to have the willingness and determination to push past those negative thoughts, start embracing your special qualities, and take the risk of putting yourself out there. Hedwig knows her limitations better than most. But she's out there, committed to making it work.

You won't know if you can swim a mile unless you try. You won't know if you can learn a language unless you try. You won't know if you can speak in front of 50 people unless you try.

You are not your limitations. You have skills, abilities, strengths, smarts, internal resources and potential beyond your current knowledge. You'll only find them if you acknowledge they could be there. Now ask yourself: What do I have to work with?

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