Knowing and Communicating Your Limitations

When you meet someone that you want to be liked by, you might be tempted to hide your limitations for fear that you won’t get a chance to have a relationship with that person.  This holds true in personal and business relationships.  You perceive that this person will reject you if you can’t give them what they want, so you promise them something you can’t give.  As time goes on, you disappoint that person by not following through on your promises.  Ironically, what you were doing to keep the relationship is the thing that ends it.

I once knew an incredibly talented contractor who had recently started his own business.  He often would double book himself because he was too afraid to tell new customers that he wasn’t available when they wanted him to be.   He’d promise to start working on a certain day, and when that day came around, he wouldn’t show up or call.  He’d apologize, make a new promise that he couldn’t keep, and then not show up again.  Needless to say, he lost the trust of his customers and gained a bad reputation, which hurt his business dramatically.  His fear of losing business became reality because he couldn’t follow through on his commitments.  Sadly, if he’d communicated his time limitations, these customers would have waited until he was  available, because his work was very high in quality.  He also would have known that his customers hired him with full knowledge of his limitations, leaving him with nothing to hide.

If you are tempted to hide your limitations from someone because you want to have a chance with them, pause and imagine the future you have to look forward to by doing so.  Perhaps in a job interview, you want to say that you are willing to work weekends or evenings if asked, but deep inside you know that this is not possible.  If you say that you can and you get hired, you’ve already built uncertainty into your job future, because you were dishonest about your capabilities.  If you say you can’t work weekends and you don’t get hired, you’ve saved yourself from a future layoff, which is much worse than not getting hired. If you get hired even though you say you can’t work weekends,  you have built some security into your position.  You know that you were hired, limitations and all.  The knowledge that you have nothing to hide truly enhances your ability to enjoy and grow the relationship you’ve started.  Your future is much clearer when you are honest with yourself and others about your limitations right from the start.

Share if you are inspired.