I find that I’m constantly trying to break down barriers, in all aspects of my life. And to be honest, that is extremely frustrating, especially in the work setting. I don’t know if you feel the same, but barriers make me question myself. In fact, it rattles my confidence.
I’m realizing that barrier breaking doesn’t have to be a such a task. In fact, barrier breaking is about not staying in your lane or being something that the world expects you to be. The world puts differences in a box because the world wants us to fit in. And if you really think about it, someone else constructed that box, so why are we forced to fit into it?
Do not accept limitations. Turn your story around and start with inspiration. Find your own place in the world and allow yourself to establish boundaries so that people understand where you are coming from and that you are not going to conform to their expectations. Fight to unlock doors and walk through those doors. Beyond those doors lies opportunity, not obstacles.
Breaking barriers is an uphill battle, and it doesn’t guarantee big wins or uber success. But this uphill battle is worth the effort because it will allow you to look for hope and optimism. Think about it as a challenge, the potential to be your best self. And the hope is that generations that come after us will look to us to develop their own motivation and sense of being.
Do not operate with fear, rise to the occasion.
Here are 5 ways to be comfortable and successful in your mission to break down barriers and not accept limitations.
Unite People and Find Commonality.
We are living in unprecedented and uncertain times. During the pandemic, we have been locked inside our homes and subjected to Zoom to maintain our connections. Our world needs to be united. There is a commonality that can be rebuilt and reestablished in the office, especially as we return to work. However, commonality needs to encourage people to bring their perspectives to the table, so that business growth and success is based on collaboration, innovation, and importantly, creativity.
Learn to Win and Accept a Loss.
Winning is a huge part of business. In fact, winning drives us to be strategic, competitive, and thought-provoking. And fortunately, winning does allow us to smash the constraints of the box. But there is a flip side to be considered and accepted. We can’t always win, and we can’t be discouraged by the fear of loss. Loss is normal and it needs to be part of our thinking, especially when we are in the planning stage. Plans can’t solely be constructed for triumph because that type of perfectionism isn’t reality and can’t be expected. Losses bring knowledge, they allow us to face obstacles, and to learn to get up, even when we don’t want to. Challenges like failure are learning experiences, those that we teach our children to endure. We must employ that same mindset at work, ideas win, but they also lose at times. So, plan for change, for flexibility, and be able to pivot when things don’t go as planned.
Empower Yourself and Those Around You.
The greatest talent of a leader is to empower people. Empowerment and engagement are crucial foundational elements that can lead staff to greatness, from the top down. People don’t want to just be a number or be told what to do. They want to contribute, they want a say, and they want to understand how their destiny fits into the fabric of the organization. Inclusion, equity, and culture needs to be bred, in meaningful and purposeful ways, to enfranchise the work force.
Focus on Listening.
We put up barriers when we feel like we don’t have a voice. Because naturally we believe that if we’re not allowed to contribute or that we have to stay in our lane, that we’re not good enough or we don’t have a chance, so we shut down, and it becomes a no-win situation. As leaders and peers, we must listen to each other. The act of listening is where the magic comes from. Listening is our best chance at success, because all the talk in the world isn’t going to move the needle.
Live in the Moment and Plan for What is Next.
Although we do need to be mindful and stay in the moment, we also need to base our inspiration on the promise of what’s next. The determination of what’s next should drive us, whether that’s to become an entrepreneur or to support your organization. The simple act of planning can and will break down barriers.
Be brilliant and be authentically you.
“There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect,” Ronald Reagan.