March 26, 2020

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You kill your own dreams when you don’t let yourself imagine beyond the tiny box you’re putting yourself in. Maybe you’ve adopted the beliefs of someone else who told you you’ll never achieve that impossible future. Maybe you’ve looked around and see evidence that people just don’t do that kind of thing in this town.

“Think outside of the box.”

Trite, cliche, overused… And yet, one of those timeless truths. How often have you actually thought outside of the box? How often have you looked for the unconventional solution, ignoring what everyone else says about your abilities or whether or not you could actually achieve that thing?

I have a secret for you, my friend.

You’re the only person keeping yourself from achieving more. Other people aren’t holding you back. Your family history, your childhood, and your current reality are not the things preventing you from climbing out of the box.

You’re responsible for taking hold of the ladder and climbing rung by rung up and over the edge, into a world where you can achieve the things you stopped yourself from believing you could achieve.

It’s Your Box

It might be a fancy box. Maybe it’s roomy inside. Comfortable. You’ve made yourself at home there; it’s familiar. Safe. The world outside the box is uncertain. Risky. It’s ripe with opportunities for failure, filled with stumbling blocks and obstacles and hurdles and hoops to jump over and through.

Your box is not someone else’s box. You might choose to decorate your box based on someone else’s opinion; you could be in your box only because you’ve chosen to believe that something someone said to you was true.

I totally understand why you want to stay in your box.

But I also understand how hard it is to climb out of the box. And I’m here to tell you that it’s 100% worth it.

Ask Yourself What YOU Think

As humans, we want acceptance. We want other people to tell us that everything’s okay, or to tell us what to do, or to tell us how to think, feel, and behave. But other people don’t control us, regardless of how true that feels.

I have a challenge for you: ask yourself what YOU think. What’s your opinion? If nobody else had any influence over what you chose to think and believe, what would your brain come up with?

It’s an interesting exercise, and letting your brain think without external input means it can come up with the answers you’ve been looking for from others.

If you knew the answer, what would it be?

If you didn’t have to live inside your box, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you become?

Recognize Your Inherent Value

Your worth and value as a human aren’t based on what others think of you, or on how you handle all the stressors in your life. Because you’re a human, you are of infinite value. You’re infinitely worthy. Nothing you do can add to or take away from that value or worthiness, because you’re a human.

This is a tough concept for so many people.

We love to believe that we can do things that create more worthiness in us, and get stuck thinking that if we stray outside of the box we’re in, that we’ll risk losing some worth or value if we fail at our goals or get stuck or mess up somehow.

If you let yourself believe in the possibility that you’re inherently valuable—inherently worthy—then it opens up the possibility that you can climb outside the box you’ve put yourself in without risking losing your identity.

The person you’ve always wanted to become doesn’t live inside a constricting box.

She doesn’t limit herself based on what others think she can do, or on what the inside of your box says you’re capable of doing.

Your Box is Your Capacity to Have

Brooke Castillo talks about the “capacity to have” on her podcast. This is the limit you come up against right before you start sabotaging yourself.

Your box is your capacity to have. Coming up against that limit—trying to climb out of the box—introduces a lot of self-doubt, fear of the unknown, and the perfect environment for self-sabotage.

You know you’re coming up against that capacity to have if you feel like you don’t deserve the success you’ve earned for yourself; like you can never keep any of the money you make; like you always lose or mess up a good thing; or like something’s too good to be true.

Let me ask you a question.

Do you want to look back on your life in 10, 20, 30 years and feel regret for not taking risks, not challenging yourself—not climbing out of your box and increasing your capacity to have?

I’d guess your answer is “no.” That’s my answer.

What Box Are You Putting Yourself In?

Take a stark, honest look at where you are in life. Do you feel limited? Held back? Like you want to do some things, but deep down think that you could never do it?

Maybe your box is how much you weigh. Or your earning potential. Or the kinds of relationships and friendships you have. It might be your health, your spiritual life, your environment… On the spider web of the different areas of life, any one of them could be your box.

All of them, together, could be your box.

The first step is realizing the thoughts you have about yourself and your capabilities, and questioning their truth.

You don’t have to stay in your box.

You can venture out into the world and nobody will stop you.

Will you climb out?

About the author 


Life coach, author, podcast host, cat mom, wife, Ravenclaw, and semi-compulsive hiker living in the Montana Rockies.

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