There’s plenty of advice out there about overcoming limits that are unfair, arbitrary, or illusory. We are challenged to hurdle them, or push against them, or circumvent them. To prove we have what it takes, to keep reaching for the dream. Reaching for goals we’re not completely sure we can reach keeps us growing.
And yet there’s another side to the story of limits. Sometimes we reach a limit whose best purpose is to send us in another direction.
I reach limits with my writing all the time. This novel ran out of steam. There’s nowhere else to send that short story; time to put it aside. I may have exhausted this genre; time to try another. I can’t write this story now. I can’t fix this book.
I reach limits with book promotion. I can’t handle the travel for that event. I don’t have the energy. I cannot add one more thing to my plate. I love that event but I’ve already been there three times and I have nothing new. This event is never going to take my application. Is this swag really worth the money and trouble?
I can tell when acceptance, rather than forging ahead, is the right approach for a given limit. If the thought of acceptance fills me with relief, it’s time to stop knocking on the closed door and turn my attention elsewhere.
I can always try again later. Many of my successful stories were those that I gave up on for a while, returning years later with new experiences and insights and skills under my belt.
And I can try something different right now. There are open doors, as I discover when I step back from the closed one.