How Leaders Leverage Limits
Thomas Thompson
April 12, 2022
min read


I hate that word.  

As I’ve gotten older, I have started to experience natural limits in my life.

Longer recovery times from injury.

Changes to the ways I have to eat.

Needing glasses to read.

Finding my days ending earlier.

We have all experienced our share of limits in the last few years.  Limits on how we travel, where we go, how we work.

One approach to the limits in our lives is to try to tough it out. To pretend like the limits are not there.  To push through.  As a former offensive linemen, that was always my approach.  When the ball is snapped, I’m hitting that limit.

But leaders see limits differently.  And I believe this is God’s design.  See, God puts limits in our lives.  The light that ends each day.  The seasons of our year--and of our lives.  The mercy of His that is new every morning.  The call to pray for daily bread. Even the idea of a sabbath day.  A day each week where we pause and do not work.   A weekly limit God gives us.

For years people were confused by this limit--as if it was something God was denying us. 

Jesus in Mark chapter 2 gave us a new way to look at this limit when he said,

Humans weren’t created for the Sabbath; the Sabbath was created for humans.--Jesus  

It is like God is saying, “Don’t look at this day as something I am taking from you, but as something that I am giving to you.  You can do more in 6 days with me than 7 without me.  Embrace this limit.”   

This God-given limit was actually given FOR us--a gift so that we would depend on God and others, a gift to help us rest and be more productive the other 6 days.  A gift of opportunity for us to connect with God, others, and ourselves to live our best, healthiest life.  

Leaders see limits not as liabilities, but as learnings to leverage.

Limits lead us to depend on God.

Limits lead us to depend on each other.

Limits lead us to be crafty--to come up with smarter strategies.  "Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance." David Mamet

Limits lead us to focus on who and what really matter most in our lives.

Limits help us say no to good things so we are saying yes to great things.

Limits let us lead healthier lives.


The limits I’ve faced over the last few years forced me to lead myself in new ways.  To be a better version of myself.  For example, when we all moved to working online during the pandemic, I thought this limit was going to kill my new coaching career dead in the water.  But I began to leverage that limit:

  • It actually expanded my coaching reach as I started working with clients in Texas, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Atlanta.
  • It honed my listening skills and developed my focus in conversations.
  • It allowed me to pack more conversations in my day--when you eliminate travel time, you can get a lot more done.


Ask this question when you face a limit in your leadership:

How will this limit help me lead myself better?

Instead of seeing a limit as a wall to be knocked down, what if it is a tool you can use for self-leadership?

I'd love to talk with you more about this. Shoot me an email and let's start leveraging your limits today.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

I founded Thompson Leadership to come alongside leaders like you. Together, we will unpack your unique leadership, unearth your biggest challenge, and create an action plan to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
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