Breaking Though The Mental Barrier

Marissa Levin
Marissa Levin
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mountain2This past month, I broke through two mental barriers. One barrier was professional and one was personal, but my success with both of them originated in the same place: my mind.

The first barrier was a significant accomplishment because it was a culmination of a 7-year dream that I would not let die. Upon learning of my accomplishment, I texted a friend and told him, “I feel like I am about to have a growth spurt. I’m playing in the big leagues. I am at the bottom of the food chain again. I think life is awesome that way though…you never really quite reach the summit.”

My accomplishment is that Inc. Magazine invited me to be a columnist! For the writer in me, this is Nirvana. This is the gold-paved intersection between entrepreneurship and journalism. To have been asked to join this community of voices, influencers, & thought leaders is simultaneously humbling, validating & terrifying.

Some people will say, “She’s so lucky.” It has nothing to do with luck. This end-result occurred because I first believed I could accomplish it, and I felt it in my soul. I made it happen through diligent & rigorous relationship-building, follow-up, and by establishing my credibility. Without my own belief in myself, it would have never happened. I was actually rejected by Inc. 7 years ago, but I knew even then that it wasn’t the end. I simply understood that it was not the right time, and that no actually meant not yet.

The second barrier I broke through is not as pivotal or potentially game-changing, but it’s significant nonetheless because I was able to push through a long-standing plateau. Again, the success originated in my mind, with a vivid visualization.

I attend a 5:30 AM strength-training class three times a week called Body Pump. On a recent frigid morning, when I really did not want to drag myself out of bed to go, I went anyway. The class consists of 9 intense sets about 5 minutes each for each muscle group. I’ve been struggling for about two months to make it through the bicep track with an extra five pounds on the bar. You may think, “5 pounds is nothing.” Well, for 5-7 minutes straight, with no breaks for rest, to include more than 100 reps with perfect form, 5 pounds is really heavy. This week, I broke through the barrier. I gripped that bar and did every rep until the last note of the track song.

Many times in class as I’ve struggled, I’ve trash-talked myself. “Maybe it’s just too much weight for you Marissa. Maybe you’re getting too old to build a lot more muscle.”

I was so close to putting the bar down. My arms were shaking. I had to remind myself to breathe. And it truly became a mental exercise of mind over body. What pushed me through was a recent column I read in Inc: A NAVY Seal’s Secret for Pushing Yourself Way Beyond Your Supposed Limits.” The premise in the article is that when your mind tells you that you are “done,” you are actually only 40% done. When you hit that wall, you’re really only 40% through your stores of energy and determination. “Whenever life puts a challenge in your path and you feel like you’re on the edge of giving up, you can lean on the SEALs’ 40 percent rule to remind you that your apparent limits really aren’t.” I reminded myself that our greatest change & growth always occurs when we push through the greatest pain. Growth and pain are two sides of the same coin.

As we move into 2016, I’m certain you have set some ambitious goals. To move past the barriers that will inevitably surface, your single most powerful tool in your toolbox is your mindset. You must believe without any hesitation that you can achieve your desired outcome. You must! All success originates in the mind.

In my inaugural Inc. column, “Why Ditching Your Goals May Be The Smartest Thing You Do in 2016,” I share why you should ditch your “goals,” and replace them with Intentions. I’ve created a model known as STARS™ to help my clients and their organizations construct Smart, Transformation, Achievable, Relevant, and Strategic intentions that can result in measurable growth.

What are your intentions for 2016? What will your plan be to push through your mental barriers, and achieve the end result?

Please share your desired outcomes with me at [email protected].

Good luck!


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About Successful Culture
We work with business owners, CEOs, and leadership teams that want to achieve their greatest personal & organizational potential. Through coaching, strategic consulting, retreat facilitation, and workshops, we equip leaders & emerging leaders with the mindset, tools, strategies, and processes they need to excel.

Ready to move forward? Email us today at [email protected].

Connect with me on Instragram, Facebook, and Twitter. Engage with me during my morning Periscope sessions as well (@marissalevin).

Please check out my Inc. Magazine columns on my Author Page too.
– In my latest Inc, article, I share The Essential Guide to Avoiding Workplace Text, Email, & Social Media Disasters.
– Learn about the 9 Leadership Behaviors that Lose Employee Trust & Respect here.

~Marissa Levin
CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”

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