Rainbow Center hosts motivational presentation on living without limits

Health coach Dillan DiGiovanni is seen during the motivational presentation “Live Without Limits: Be Yourself, Change the World" at the Rainbow Center in the UConn Student Union in Storrs, Connecticut on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015. (Allen Lang/The Daily Campus)

The Rainbow Center hosted a motivational presentation by health coach Dillan DiGiovanni, entitled, “Live Without Limits: Be Yourself, Change the World.”

“What is life without limits?” DiGiovanni asked. “It’s pretty rad.”

Enthusiastic, fun and personable, DiGiovanni led this interactive presentation explaining how to live without limits and, specifically, why anyone would want to live this way.

Many people struggle with limits, DiGiovanni explained. People limit themselves with food, time, money, support and self-expression. When people limit their lives in this way, such as denying oneself certain foods or claiming to never have time, DiGiovanni says it creates limited joy and thus only allows us to have a limited impact on the world around us.

One reason people set limits on themselves is fear. DiGiovanni says people fear rejection, change and even reality. Sometimes fear results in violence. DiGiovanni touches lightly on violence, explaining that violence in reaction to violence perpetuates a terrible cycle. He believes people should not react with violence in protest to other violence, but advocates for change and love.

In his presentation, DiGiovanni bought up the Ecological Systems Theory. This theory claims that we are who we want to be and that we shape others by being who we are and by interacting with others. This plays into his explanation of limited impact on the world when we limit ourselves.

“We are our own worst enemies,” DiGiovanni said. “Sometimes we treat ourselves worse than anyone else can or will.”

As part of the interactive element of his presentation, DiGiovanni asked students to speak in pairs about “turning point” moments in their lives. He shared his personal stories of quitting teaching, moving to Boston and identifying as a transgender person.

Students responded positively to the exercise and shared experiences. DiGiovanni later encouraged students to try and make “turning point” moments happen in their own lives.

A health coach by profession, DiGiovanni offered four pieces of advice to the presentation attendees:

The first piece that DiGiovanni offered is that no one is normal. “There are 7 billion types of normal,” DiGiovanni explains. People are all just being themselves and because everyone is different, we should not limit ourselves to preconceived notions of “normal.”

The second piece of advice was for people to stop using limiting labels. Society loves to label people, DiGiovanni remarked. It is psychologically wired into human brains to sort out people we see, originally as a mechanism for separating friend from foe. DiGiovanni encouraged students to “claim your labels” and make them work for you.

Along with this point, DiGiovanni asked the group to participate in another exercise called the identity map. It is basically a web of different parts of a person’s identity. In his own identity map, DiGiovanni claims labels such as health coach, entrepreneur and trans.

Third: DiGiovanni explained that keeping healthy helps people feel better. “The better you feel, the more you feel you can do,” DiGiovanni said. People tend to feel that more things are possible when they feel good: physically, mentally and emotionally. DiGiovanni advises eating well and taking care of yourself as food, sleep and exercise have a profound effect on how a person feels.

“Exercise and sleep are the cheapest forms of medicine,” DiGiovanni said.

Along with health, DiGiovanni asked attendees to fill out a Circle of Life diagram. The diagram asks you to measure the level of satisfaction you have on certain parts of your life. Students shared the high and low parts of their diagrams and reflected on reasons why they were this way.

Four: Find Your Fellowship. DiGiovanni encouraged attendees to first figure out what they want to happen and then get the right people on their team to make it happen. This includes possibly getting rid of people who are hindering your goals.

DiGiovanni closes with the reason why people should live without limits: “When you don’t limit yourself, you don’t limit others.”

The lecture resonated with students, who suggested that it helped show where they could improve their lives.

“He did a great job asking us to reflect on our own lives and helping us to see where someone can make improvements to become their best self,” said Kat Connelly, a communications and human rights double major graduating this fall.


Kharl Reynado s a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kharl.reynado@uconn.edu.