You are limitless: How removing my self-imposed limitations changed my life

A few days ago, I found myself in a heated argument with my partner.

He had suggested that I could do something that I simply did not believe I could do...

“Why would you even suggest that? It's out of the question... I can’t do that!” I yelled.

He responded with, “You’re not even giving yourself a chance. Stop limiting yourself.”

Immediately, I knew he was right.

 

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.”

I can’t be a runner because I’m not built like one.
I can’t eat breakfast because my coach doesn’t eat breakfast.
I can’t wear that dress because my shoulders are too broad.
I can’t be an athlete because I’m not naturally athletic.
I can’t be a business owner because I’m not old enough.

 

But let’s rewind a bit with a conversation I’ll never forget:

At 17 years old, on a pool deck after swim practice, my assistant coach Taryn came over and said, “Izzy, you’re so strong in the water lately. Why haven't I seen that in your competition?”

I respond with a mere:

“I guess I’m just a practice swimmer.”

My friends were athletes — phenomenal athletes at that — and I always felt two steps behind them. They were destined to be Olympians, D1 college athletes, and eventually professionals in their respective sports.

But even though I could keep up with them in practice, I had convinced myself I was a poor racer, and as a result, raced poorly.

Those self-imposed limits became my core beliefs.

And those beliefs inhibited me from coming close to their athletic stature, which followed me through my college and early triathlon careers.

If only I knew the limits I was placing on myself.

 

In hindsight, I can see endless examples of where I was stunting myself. I was contributing to an overall poor self-image that worsened as time went on and bled far beyond swimming, to my career, and even my health.

Family pressures, societal expectations, diet culture...

It all got the best of me. And by the time I was done with college, I was tired, alone, unhappy, and hiding behind a severe eating disorder that if left untreated would land me in a really scary place.

To put it bluntly, I hated myself, and I thought that if only I could look like my teammates, I’d finally be the athlete I always wanted to be.

My eating disorder was a mask for all of the self hate that came from comparing and limiting myself.

But in hindsight, it was the eating disorder — and the realization that if I didn't get better, it would kill me — that caused me to do the work.

My eating disorder recovery coach helped me find a world where I looked beyond the comparisons and the limits that I put on myself.

Instead of focusing on all of the things I couldn’t be, I started to focus on the things that I could be. I stopped comparing and I started prioritizing my health.

 

I am an athlete, and I’m going to be a great one.
I deserve to eat. I need to eat.
I fuel my body with things that make me feel good.
I am a leader and can build big, important things.
I am inspiring, I am fantastic, and I am beautiful.

I can do hard things.

 

My self-deprecating and limiting beliefs shrunk, and I began to feel... limitless.

Six years after I stood on the pool deck, doubting myself to the coach, I qualified for the 70.3 Ironman World Championships in Nice, France, where I competed on one of the most difficult courses in triathlon with the best athletes in the world.

A year after that, I launched my own company, Plant Bites, with a mission to reinvent sports nutrition with whole foods.

And I came to understand that yes, I can do hard things.

But it took me years of limiting my potential to figure that out, which stopped me from not just reaching my goals, but setting them altogether.

You are limitless.

 

Imagine a world where you don't put limits on yourself. A world where you become everything you know that deep down you're capable of.

That world is your reality, if you embrace it.

If there's one thing I've learned through my own experience, it's that achieving something great doesn't mean you have to become someone else. You don't have to look, dress, sound, or be like others.

And when you stop comparing... When you become your own biggest fan...

Everything starts to click and greatness happens.

Give yourself permission to do hard things.

Give yourself permission to try, and fail, and try again.

Give yourself permission to be limitless.

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