• Chris Lewman

Limits Aren't Really Limits

Things I'm learning from tiny living. Limits aren’t really limits – they’re more like self-drawn lines that you move or change when you’re ready to do so.

A few years ago, I never would have imagined that Amanda and I would sell everything we own, buy an Airstream and be able to travel the country. Yet, here we are. It didn’t happen by accident. It happened because the things we wanted became very clear:

  • More time together

  • More time with family / friends

  • Travel

  • Volunteer

  • Do work we love

If you had to ask yourself what you want, can you get crystal clear about it?

If the answer is no, then you are your limitation. You can’t create a path to get somewhere different if you don’t know what you really want. Answering this question is the only way to make changes or to start creating the life you want.

We wanted to do less of the things we didn’t care about, and more of the things we did care about. Sounds simple, but it wasn’t.

When we looked at our life–or rather, how we wanted our life to look, the only limit was “all of our stuff.”

There was a huge trade off we made in deciding what was important and what wasn’t. The “stuff” turned out to be our lowest priority, so we got rid of it. Some said to just put it in storage in case we changed our minds. After all, we had nice stuff. But for us, that wasn’t the right choice. We can ALWAYS buy more stuff. Amanda and I wanted to see if we could really live tiny leaving no room for excess.

Living tiny forces you to only buy what you need, and to get rid of the things you aren’t really using.

Making this change made us realize the random habits we had then, that we no longer have room for now – like shopping for no reason. Before we went tiny, we had a habit of browsing Amazon to see what we MIGHT need. Or going to Crate & Barrel just to see what was new. Or wandering in to a shoe store to see what was on sale.

This is not meant to tell you that doing those things is wrong.

Amanda’s love of Amazon and my shoe addiction has not diminished (believe me!). It’s just that now, we don’t have room for our old routines. We don’t have room for 10 extra pairs of shoes. Now, we’re forced to make new routines — new routines around work, spending time together, setting up, tearing down, travel planning, where we want to go next, and everything in between.

People often ask us if we miss our stuff.

Some days, yes. But most days, no. Amanda misses taking a bath in a huge tub, or cooking in our well-stocked kitchen. I miss being in my office with my huge iMac, or watching Rosie & Emerson run up and down the stairs, or laugh at Emerson dragging his bed across the living room floor. But the stuff was never in the foreground. It was always background noise. What we loved about “stuff” had to do with experience. I traded having a home office for working from wherever we are. We traded the kids running around the house to running them on an empty oceanside beach. It was always the experience that mattered — well, except for Amanda’s tub (sorry, fancy face)!

Bottom line, I don’t regret getting rid of the stuff.

I read a quote once that said:

All limitations are self-imposed. - ERNEST HOLMES

I believe this whole-heartedly, in life as much as I do in business. The tools to succeed at making changes are always within our reach. For Amanda and I, we wanted to create drastic change so that our day to day life felt more like vacation. And I think we’ve done that. We are 5 months in to a 12 month goal; once we reach 12 months, we’ll decide whether to leap into year 2, or to plant roots again.

I share this to share my experience with thinking about what I thought were limitations.

Limits aren’t really limits.

When you get clear on what you want, you can decide whether you’re ready to make changes or to move beyond your limits. When you make that decision, I’m here to tell you that it opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

So, be careful what you wish for – you just might get it!

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