Hey everyone, happy March!
Last week I was sitting here looking out across green fields, enjoying clear blue skies and sunshine and thinking Spring was finally here. Just goes to show how wrong one girl can be! 7 days later and everything is still white with snow and the temperatures have plummeted. Never mind…Spring is still just around the corner.
A couple of weeks ago I shared a blog post about how to find your Zone of Genius and I got some great feedback about it (see blog 38). As a re-cap I shared a model from the book The Big Leap that talks about the different zones we operate in:
Zone of incompetence – things we are not good at and will never be good at
Zone of competence – things we are ok at but others can do better
Zone of Excellence – things we are great at and probably make a good career from
Zone of Genius – this is the zone where you discover your purpose and passion and sadly so few of us ever make it here because we get comfortable in our zone of excellence!
There is another reason why we don’t make it to the Zone of Genius or if we do, we don’t stay there and it is called the Upper Limit Problem.
So, what is the Upper Limit Problem?
Have you ever found yourself in a situation when you feel like you are sabotaging yourself? I have seen it happen so many times in my own life. For example, every time I get close to reaching a weight loss goal, I find myself reaching for the biscuit tin and before I know it I have put weight back on. It is so frustrating because I want to achieve the weight loss target BUT my inner success thermostat kicks in and tries to regulate the level of happiness or success I am experiencing.
You see this play out in the world of celebrities and sports heroes all the time. For example, how many times have you watched world class tennis players take a strong lead in a game and be at match point only to lose their game and go on to lose the match?
There are numerous pop legends I could mention who have achieved phenomenal levels of personal success and then find themselves sabotaging their success, being shamed in the press and fading from the spotlight.
It is almost as if we have a limit for how much success or happiness we can endure and then our upper limit problem kicks in. There is no good reason why we should not be able to experience sustained levels of happiness or success. So, what drives it?
Fear of being judged
Fear of being visible
Fear of failing
Fear of being more successful than we could even imagine
The list could go on and on…
The upper limit problem is a defence mechanism designed to save us from moving too far into our Zones of Genius and bumping in to those things we fear. If you are serious about living an extraordinary life that is aligned to your true purpose and passion and that brings you levels of success and happiness you have only imagined so far, you need to alter your internal thermosat. Everything you want is on the other side of that fear!
Your upper limit problem will hold you back from achieving your full potential if you don’t identify your fear and do something about it. As with most limiting beliefs or factors, half the battle is actually recognising when it is happening and then taking mitigating action to overcome it. The problem is that most of us are not aware the upper limit problem exists.
So, how do you tame your Upper Limit Problem?
Think about situations where your upper limit problem has occurred in the past
What tends to be a trigger for your upper limit problem?
How does it show up?
How does it play out?
What is the underlying fear that triggers it?
Now you know what triggers it, you can start to at least recognise when it is happening and take steps to minimise it or better still STOP it.
When you get the feeling your upper limit problem is kicking in, why not acknowledge it by saying something to yourself such as ‘I know this is my upper limit problem trying to protect me but I can handle more success and happiness’
You also need to explore the fear and limiting belief you hold and really identify where that belief is coming from. Our limiting beliefs are most often formed in childhood and we carry them with us throughout our lives.
Ask yourself “is this limiting belief real or imagined?”
Remember, our sub conscious mind can’t distinguish between something that is real or imagined so really challenge yourself about how true your limiting belief really is.
Another powerful way to overcome this way of self-sabotaging is to look at what you lose by not addressing the limiting belief that is holding you back.
Let me work through this using the personal example I shared earlier about sabotaging my dieting efforts…
I know my upper limit problem kicks in when I am about to hit a weight loss milestone. I believe the fear that I have that underpins this is about visibility. There is a certain weight that I can reach where I know I start to look my best and feel my best. When I hit this weight, people start to notice, make comments and I get more attention. In the past, I have had attention from men that I have not wanted and I am now married to my soulmate so I definitely don’t want to draw unwelcome attention.
So, my upper limit problem kicks in and prevents me from putting myself in a situation that on some level I don’t want to be in even though I am actively working towards a goal of losing weight. My weight stays where it is and all is safe in my world. The problem, is that my weight loss goal never gets achieved.
What I need to do is address that belief….
What is the worst that could happen if I hit my weight loss goals and look and feel my best? Well, I might get some unwanted attention (it is by no means guaranteed, my sub conscious has just linked it to what has happened in the past).
What do I do if the worst happens? Well, I am an adult and I am perfectly capable of dealing appropriately with unwanted attention so I will deal with it!
What is the best that could happen? I will look and feel amazing and be healthier. I will feel like a role model for other women because I have set a goal and achieved it.
Am I ready to be healthier and to look and feel amazing? Of course I am! I want to live my best life!
When you unpick it all, it really is a no-brainer.
Yes, the upper limit problem is there to protect us but not to the detriment of living a life where you are living to your full potential, loving life and contributing more to the lives of others.
My wish for you is that you are able to break free from this form of self- sabotage and live a live you truly love.
Until next week