About two years ago, I stepped out on a Saturday afternoon to go for a run. We had recently moved into a rental house in a new neighborhood, and I wanted to do a little exploring and find a route to run regularly. I typically ran around three miles each time I went out, and I figured it wouldn’t be hard to find a loop of some kind that was about that distance.

The weather that day was beautiful–it was one of those absolutely perfect fall days. The trees had already painted themselves in fall colors, and enough leaves had fallen to provide a satisfying crunch underfoot. I found a bike trail that started just across the street and decided to start there and see where it led.

The trail was lined with big, beautiful trees and was quiet and peaceful. The only other people on it were fellow runners, and even those were few and far between. I remember that I kept marveling at how great the weather was and how beautiful the scenery on this new trail was. And the run itself felt great–I settled into a perfect pace and kept my strides light and loose.

After I while, I reached a place where the trail crossed a road and decided to turn around. It felt like I’d run about a mile and a half–so doubling it back home would give me my three-mile loop. Also, the sun was starting to sink below the trees, and I didn’t want to get caught in unfamiliar territory in the dark. So I changed directions and ran back home. It wasn’t until I got home and mapped the route out online that I discovered I’d actually run nearly six miles! (This was before I ran two half marathons and six miles still felt impossible.) Somehow, between the beautiful weather and being in an unfamiliar place, I almost doubled my typical distance. And it didn’t even feel difficult!

Guys, that’s what happens when you ignore your self-imposed limitations. I thought I could only run three miles–because that’s what I knew I could do and where I stopped. I was limiting myself. But when I stepped out the door and just started exploring, with no idea what the distances (limits) were, I surprised myself with my own abilities.

What could you accomplish if you had no idea what the limits were? If you left your three-mile comfort zone behind and just ran (or wrote or blogged or painted or sang or worked) until you reached a good place? I bet you would accomplish more than you think yourself capable of. I bet you could surprise yourself, your friends and family, and even your larger communities–both online and off. You can do amazing things–we all can–if you can see past the limitations you (or your role or your boss or your spouse or anyone or anything) think are standing in your way. Ignore them. Overcome them. Push yourself and just see how far you can go!

P.S.: If you haven’t already taken my reader survey, could you pretty please go do that now? There are only TWO required questions (four total, but you can skip the last two if you want), and it’ll help me TONS in planning for Chasing Happy in 2014. Thank you so much!

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