Last Wednesday started out lovely for me; for the first time in nearly three weeks I could breathe without channeling Darth Vader. This alone was enough to have me clapping in joy when my bosses arrived at work and it was time to go down and get our morning coffee. The coffee was delicious, the bagel I was coveting was available, and everyone was in a fantastic mood.
The day continued to be great; I completed the project I had been working on (all one hundred and seventy graphs…yes, you read that correctly) and ran through it with my boss. She dispelled any lingering “Excessive Graphing Shame Syndrome” (EGSS) that I had developed and complimented me on my analysis. To top it all off, I had the next six days off and some of my favorite people on the planet were coming into town to visit. I felt nearly high.
Fast forward one hour later to find me obsessively pondering a nearly failed friendship, deciding that I was a complete fool and that I needed to question the fundamental wisdom of my intuition. Keep in mind, it’s not like I had any interaction with my friend; absolutely nothing had changed.
Does this type of thing ever happen to you? You are sailing along, feeling incredible, when suddenly you find yourself worrying about some problem not even present in the moment? You, too, may have experienced what Gay Hendricks calls an “Upper Limit Problem,” described in his book, The Big Leap. Luckily for me, this book – half read a couple of years ago – popped into my head and I was able to start reading it again on my Kindle at stoplights on the way home.
The idea is a very simple one: each of us has a certain amount of happiness/joy/love/ wealth /all-those-good-things that we can tolerate. When we exceed that upper limit, we do something that brings us back down to our comfort zone. Hendricks covers many of the reasons for this, symptoms of upper limit problems, and strategies for living in what he calls the “zone of genius.” The whole book is definitely worth reading, but in my mind, the gift of the book is these four questions:
- Am I willing to increase the amount of time every day that I feel good inside?
- Am I willing to increase the amount of time that my whole life goes well?
- Am I willing to feel good and have my life go well all the time?
- Am I willing to take the Big Leap to my ultimate level of success in love, money, and contribution?
(Hendricks, Gay. The Big Leap. HarperOne, May 4, 2010. Kindle locations 129-172)
If you are anything like me, when you hit question #3 all types of mental objections pop up. “That’s ridiculous! Life cannot go well all the time. Bad things happen that are uncontrollable. Blah x3.”
The question, though, is not “can I make my life go well all the time?” It’s “Am I willing to let it?” This, for me, makes it. YES, I am willing. Yes, I am willing to notice when I’m spinning off into doom and disaster mental stories after feeling incredible. Yes, I am willing to give up worry. Yes, I am willing to feel good and have my life go well all the time!
What about you? Are you willing?
If you want some help, I’ve created a 10 minute guided meditation MP3 based on Hendricks’ Universal Success Mantra. Click to download the MP3.
Tell me about it! Leave a comment with your Upper Limit experience. Inspire someone else – commit publicly here to being willing.