Turning Limits Into Advantages

“Real Artists Ship”
~ Steve Jobs

I’ve written here and here and here about the benefits of limits. Learning to leverage limits in our business and life can lead to incredible results.

We have a choice about what we believe. When we encounter limits, we can be frustrated about these constraints, or we can change our perspective to use them to our advantage.

One advantage of limits is that they can lead to learning. Let’s take an example with time as the limit. If you have a new service you are working on delivering to customers, create a limit in the form of a launch date. Inevitably, the unforeseen comes up and certain aspects of your offering will take more time to develop. But instead of pushing out the launch date, you decide to limit the scope of your offering.

What this limit on time did was it forced us to “ship”. And by getting something shipped, we set ourselves up to get feedback. This is real learning that leads to knowledge, not just information that we can obtain in a book.

Ok, so this makes a ton of sense. But I know you can think of specific examples in your life where you have pushed back the date, not limited scope. I can think of one in my business from just that last couple of months. Why? Fear. When we’ve been working hard on building something it is like a child to us. All of us have fear when we put our “babies” out into the real world. What will happen to them? Will they be accepted? And like any parent, deep down we fear what the reflection will be on ourselves if our child fails? While fear can lead to protection, in parenting, our fear can also limit the ability of our child to learn.

Calling this fear out leads to an ability to overcome. When we set a hard limit, overcoming fear allows us to stick to the limit and gain the confidence and boldness to step out and ship.

Think about your business. What are the incomplete projects that are staring you in the face and taunting you? How can you scale them down? How can you break it apart to smaller pieces? How can you ship it? Until you ship it, you won’t get meaningful feedback and without meaningful feedback, you won’t gain the type of knowledge that helps you make better decisions.

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