Karen Darrin

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level” by Gay Hendricks is one of those books I reread. because there are key concepts in it that deeply resonate with me and I continue to work on.

Last week, I wrote about one of those key concepts. It is called your zone of genius and, to read about it, click here.

Another concept in Hendricks’ book describes the “upper limit problem.” What is the upper limit problem? A point in success/happiness — if you go past the point of it, you do something to knock yourself down.  Fears keep people locked in certain zones.

Hendrick believes we have a limit for how much joy, love, and success we allow ourselves to feel and accept – a limit that is shaped early on in our lives. That when things happen in your life hit the ceiling of your limits, you subconsciously self-sabotage yourself, make bad decisions, start thinking negative thoughts – anything to lower yourself back down to the level of happiness and success that you are most comfortable being in.

There are 4 barriers Hendricks talks about that get in our way. Some of us have more than one:

1. Feeling Fundamentally Flawed

The feeling that you are somehow flawed which will ultimately lead to failure, and if you do succeed then it won’t be good enough.

2. Disloyalty and Abandonment

That if you succeed in an area of your life, you’ll be abandoning your roots and leaving people behind. Feeling guilty follows your success.

3. Believing that More Success Brings a Bigger Burden

You can’t expand to your highest potential because then you’d be a bigger burden to people than you are now.

4. The Crime of Outshining

If you shine, you will make someone feel or look bad. So, you turn down the volume on your genius or you allow yourself to shine but don’t allow yourself to enjoy it.

Do any of these resonate with you? A few do for me, the biggest one being “feeling fundamentally flawed”. No matter the success, I have my father’s sarcastic voice in my head saying, “The A is nice, but why didn’t you get the A+?” Noticing and replacing his voice with a more self-compassionate voice is helping me raise my happiness limit.

Hendricks outlines ways that you upper-limit yourself. When you reach that ceiling in your life, these things creep in:

  • You start to worry about something or someone.
  • You criticize and blame either yourself or someone else.
  • You deflect compliments.
  • You get sick “out of the blue”.

When these things happen, the best thing to do is to notice what is happening and consider a more self-compassionate response.  For example, when I achieve accolades at work, I know that the “father voice” will kick in to tear down my accomplishment. It is to the point that I can expect it and laugh at it.  I then, frame up a more “self-congratulatory thought” and move on.

Being self-aware is key to your personal and professional growth. How?  Here’s how:

  1. Notice what you are thinking.
  2. Name it. Say or write it down to get it out of your churning mind.
  3. Now, choose how you really wish to respond.

Step away from the automatic thoughts and actions from your past.  Open yourself up to the idea that you deserve better because you do.

What matters is to be willing to take courageous steps toward living the amazing life that’s waiting for you, patiently, just around the corner.

When we take these courageous steps, doors start to open. Opportunities appear. Life starts giving us what we know we deserve. Believe it because it has happened for me over and over again. Don’t settle.


CALL TO ACTION:  What is holding you back from happiness in your life right now? Let’s brainstorm ways to get yourself unstuck and raising your happiness level. Slot a complimentary 30-min consult here:  Schedule Free Consult.
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