Do you ever feel like every time you gain momentum in your business, life or relationships that you hit a brick wall? That for every two steps forward you take one (or maybe three) back?
You’ve got a problem – a big problem that will keep you stuck where you are - unless you do something about it. It’s what Gay Hendricks calls the Upper Limit Problem in his fantastic book The Big Leap – Conquer Your Fear and Take Life to the Next Level.
Your Upper Limit is essentially the subconscious programming (usually set in childhood) that keeps you in your comfort zone and chokes off the flow of extra goodness in your life when you get outside of that zone.
Think of it like your home’s thermostat… when it gets too warm (i.e., too good in your life, business, relationships), the air conditioner kicks on and blasts cold air to cool it down a notch (and take you back into your comfort zone). When you bump up against your Upper Limit, your mind can – and will – come up with all manner of ways to put your good feelings on ice.
I ran right smack into my Upper Limit not so long ago. I’ve been a work-from-home mom for the past several years and had recently made a decision to launch again into the work I love doing, which is designing and implementing transformational personal development and empowerment seminars and retreats. I was chomping at the bit to get started. I enrolled in Marie Forleo’s B-School, planned my work times and was jazzed to get started… and promptly caught a horrible flu that dragged on for four long weeks.
Both of my boys got sick, too. In fact, my entire family was sick for pretty much five months straight. Wow! That’s some Upper Limit! I didn’t know what it was called back then, but like magic, Marie Forleo came out with this fantastic video talking about Upper Limits, which led me to pick up Hendricks’ book.
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Think about your own life and the times you’ve been on a roll, only to have some unexpected terrible something rear its head (a fight with your loved ones, a bad financial decision, a car accident, excessive worrying), and instead of flying high, you feel steamrolled.
So, what can we do about it? How can we break through our Upper Limits so we can reach our next levels, or as Hendricks calls it, our Zone of Genius?
1. You have to be willing to allow more good into your life and to allow the feeling of feeling good. If you’re not willing to feel great and allow yourself to have a fulfilling life, you won’t. It’s that simple. Begin with, “I am willing to allow more love, financial abundance, vibrant health, etc. (you fill in the blank) into my life.”
2. Ask yourself how much love and abundance you’re willing to allow yourself. A lot? A little?
3. Identify how you sabotage yourself when your Upper Limit kicks in. In my case, I got physically ill. You may start a fight or go crazy with the credit cards. When you think about times you’ve been feeling great and then done something to undercut yourself, can you see a pattern?
4. Identify the real problem. When you find yourself engaging in self-sabotaging behaviors, you can do the 5 Why’s Exercise (which I discuss in my blog) to drill down to the root of the destructive behavior. That is the real problem or emotion that needs to be addressed.
5. Keep playing and exploring with the 5 Why’s and asking the questions. You might want to write down your observations and feelings that come up during your self-inquiry and what changes you observe in your thought pattern, behavior and life.
Hendricks outlines his own process and how to operate in your Zone of Genius in The Big Leap, which I highly encourage you to also read.
Most importantly, remember to be kind to yourself. No one is perfect. Simply by making a habit out of self-inquiry, you will reap huge rewards. It’s those who pursue their greatness with tenacity who break through barriers and rise above limitation to embody their greatest potential.
I'd love to hear from my readers!
How have Upper Limit Problems manifested in your life? How have you overcome them? Please comment below.
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