At a recent event, a woman asked me, “How would you describe yourself in one word?” I replied with no hesitation. “Limitless.” I felt a sense of pride and gratefulness, knowing that it has taken me over 10 years to finally get to this place in life.
This feeling of limitless is a mindset. It is a sense of freedom that comes from being self-aware, knowing my boundaries, finding creative ways to leverage my strengths, and working with others to accomplish dreams that wouldn’t be possible on my own.Throughout my childhood and into young adulthood, I felt trapped, scared, misunderstood, embarrassed and very alone. I struggled unknowingly with dyslexia in school, failed English three times in high school, and had to figure out how to be successful while being ridiculed, judged and labeled. I didn’t fully understand my dyslexic condition until I was a junior in high school, but by that time, I had already struggled for years with layers of poor self-esteem and negative experiences.
Additionally, coming from a split family, I had experienced a number of familial situations that really confused me. When I turned 17, I thought it would be easy to break free from my past and start life over. I moved out of my parent’s home before my senior year in high school.
However, I soon found out that living independently from my family didn’t improve my life. I still felt inadequate and stuck in a cycle of unhealthy thoughts and pain. It is amazing how one’s mind can imprison a person and send one along a path to a limited future. I didn’t want that for myself.
I knew that I needed to take responsibility for my life, and if I didn’t get professional help, I may never experience life free from my past or accomplish my personal goals. Through the help of a therapist, I began to sort through a number of deep seeded emotional issues from my past. She helped me recognize unhealthy belief systems that were holding me back. In time, my life improved and I became more focused.
Reflecting on my accomplishments now, I am grateful for my growth. I am a proud wife, a mother, and an owner of multiple businesses and real estate properties with my husband. I am also the CEO and Founder of L District or "Ladies" District, a virtual neighborhood giving ladies a trustworthy platform to communicate, connect, and collaborate with other residents on personal and professional topics.
I find my success has really been through the continuous practice of these four core principles.
Feeling limitless doesn’t mean we don’t have limits. It’s quite the opposite. It’s about looking in the mirror and identifying vulnerabilities, traps, and weaknesses.
1. Take responsibility for life! Life is messy because we are imperfect and make a lot of mistakes. When we want to improve our lives, take ownership for our situation, learn and grow from our mistakes, and take action to move in a new direction.
Growing up with dyslexia, I always came from a place of humility. I didn’t know why learning and communicating was so difficult for me, but I had to accept my condition and take responsibility in finding creative ways to accomplish my school assignments. As an adult, I continue this same approach. When we are honest about how we hinder ourselves - rather than blaming others or feeling life is unfair - we can be far more proactive and productive in finding solutions to overcome our personal obstacles.
I am a people person! This is my strength! So, I’ve always leveraged my interpersonal skills to help me flourish, but I knew I had to be deliberate about who I spent my time with.
2. Surround yourself with the right people. We can accomplish anything if we spend our time with the right people.
I started with my inner circle and asked myself, "Are these people who inspire me and help me be my best?" I had to make very difficult choices to distance myself from some relationships, knowing they were not best for me.
Beyond my inner circle, I made meaningful connections with others. I reached out to people, and began to build my network of support. For example, right now, I’ve sought a public speaking coach. My friends tell me I present well, but I want to increase my confidence and have strategies to calm my nerves. I've also sought a communications coach to help me effectively and concisely express my ideas. These are two simple examples of how I work with others to overcome my personal limits.
Personally, when I need help, it can feel like drowning. With dyslexia, I learned at an early age how to seek and to ask for help. In return, I support and give of myself freely whenever I can. Currently, I have numerous examples of collaborative partnerships, where I swap my services with other professionals to help each another accomplish our goals.
3. Increase your collaboration! Collaboration is my passion. It energizes me and leads me to higher levels of success. Collaboration is beautiful when you find the right people and can mutually benefit one another.
When we have a heart of collaboration, it’s truly magical to see what people can accomplish together.
I believe I can be a successful wife, mother, business woman and anything else I want to achieve. But I have to be strategic and intentional about how I spend my time. The first step is determining what I value and what I want to accomplish. I do this by sitting down with my husband periodically to map out what we both desire and our goals.
4. Prioritize, block and protect your time. Some people think we can’t have it all or we have to compromise in one area of life to be successful in another. I don’t subscribe to that philosophy.
As an entrepreneur, it can be overwhelming when pulled in different directions wearing many hats. That's why I block out my time to focus on the important things. I block out time for kickboxing for exercise and a chance to let go of tension and pressure from work. I also block out quality time for my husband and our family so we can truly enjoy life.
I’ve had my share of trials and tribulations, but because of these four principles, I have overcome them and will continue to feel limitless.
The biggest blessing that has come from these principles is the birth of my new business, L District. It's a virtual neighborhood that provides women a platform to communicate, connect, and collaborate with other women residents through easy, interactive, and engaging online tools. I firmly believe women everywhere can be wildly successful when they make the right connections with people and resources to meet their individual and professional needs. My life is a perfect example of that!
L District is a step beyond a mere social networking platform. Through thoughtful connections and valuable collaboration, our goal is to truly transform the lives of millions of women across the globe.
Ladies, I invite you to join the L District neighborhood. Everyone, I encourage you all to be limitless!
Nicole Anthony - CEO & Founder of L District - Minneapolis, MN
Interviewed and written by Alyce Renee, Founder of Real & Inspiring
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