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I was stunned to realize that I had been overperforming – accidentally – at the gym. For some reason, I misread the target reps on one of my exercises during the past month and was cranking out 12 instead of 8 reps per set. It was a bit of a struggle to hit 12 initially, but in my mind I thought that 12 probably represented what the average person could do, and I was at very least average!

I kept focused and pushed through each time. After a few weeks, I was ready to increase the weight when I took a closer look at the target reps and realized that 8, not 12 was the actual number! When I began to lift that morning, the weight felt heavier, and as I hit 8 reps, my muscles failed.

Maybe more accurately, my mind told my muscles to fail.

It was one of the starkest examples of the power of our minds to either limit or expand what we can accomplish. It took a huge amount of effort to get back to 12, but I got there by resetting my mind.

I was reminded of the time when I auditioned for a theater production in San Francisco. It was a huge deal, but I didn’t know it. I just went in, performed, and before I left I was told that I got a callback! I made the mistake of sharing my good fortune with some friends who were in the know, and they told me that what happened was a fluke. Didn’t I realize what a big show this was, and how only much more experienced actors would be getting parts?

You probably guessed that I blew the callback. My mind, which before knew nothing about this show, and consequently allowed me to be present in the moment and do great work, now told me I was not qualified to even be there.

Where are you “failing at 8?” Where are you allowing limiting beliefs to hold you back in your life? Not just at the gym, but in your relationships, in your spiritual life, and at work?

Here’s the secret: it’s all an invention of our minds, so you might as well set a higher goal. Align your mind, and reach for the stars!