“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”
~ Mary Kay Ash
Every day, we face the reality of making many decisions, some small, others life-changing. Not often are we called upon to make the more consequential choices that can change the course of our life. Are those the only decisions we need to be concerned about?
Before I tackle this question, let’s consider the words of Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics in 1963. Lifetime Television named her the outstanding woman in business of the twentieth century in the year 2000. There is no doubt that Mary Kay Ash was one of the most dynamic and successful women in American history. She built a worldwide cosmetics empire without any help from a man, or from anyone, for that matter.
In this quote, Mary Kay admonishes us to unshackle ourselves – to remove the limits, about what we think we can do. She is telling us that we are limiting ourselves, not our circumstances, not anyone outside of ourselves – no matter how well intentioned.
Why would we handcuff ourselves? For a bit of insight into this, let’s return to my original question, are the life-changing decisions the only ones we should be concerned about? I think not!
We make decisions, every day, about what we are going to do. The choices we make are based, in part, by our values, beliefs, self-image, and fears. If these factors lead us to choose activities that do nothing more than maintain the status quo, then we become complacent and some call this, our comfort zone. Most of us are reluctant to venture outside of our comfort zone; we might experience difficulty, discomfort, and perhaps, failure. This is the fear. So, we convince ourselves that we’re doing just fine, there’s no need to exert ourselves to achieve something greater.
Please, don’t miss my meaning. I’m not talking about just financial success; although this is a valid goal. There are other wonderful goals to achieve as well. Everyone has gifts – innate talents and abilities. I believe, that we sin against ourselves and against humanity when we don’t stretch ourselves to develop these gifts to the greatest extent possible. These gifts, if realized to their best potential, will make us better human beings. Better human beings can bring immeasurable benefit to all of humanity, one act at a time.
Mary Kay Ash goes on to say that we can achieve anything our mind will allow us to do. Logic dictates that when we give our mind carte blanche – a blank check, we allow ourselves to begin the process of developing our gifts. That may well mean additional training, tremendous effort, risk, and even danger. For many, the greatest danger is that of failure. There is nothing easy in Mary Kay Ash’s formula for success.
As long as we make our life choices all about the easy button, then we’ll never rise to our full potential. That means that we lose, and so does the rest of humanity. I hear people lament every single day that our world is “going to hell in a hand basket.” “Why doesn’t someone do something?” Exactly!
Mary Kay’s final words should resonate with all of us:
“What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”