When it comes to one of your major goals, does it feel like you just can’t seem to get there—that it’s just out of reach? Find yourself on track and then derailed again and again?
If you're bold in going after what you want—if you’ve done big things but still want more—it’s time we talk about something called the Upper-Limit Problem (ULP). It’s a sneaky one, and if you don’t understand how it works, you may wish and hope so long that you give up completely.
Digging into the ULP helps conquer hidden fears to take your life to the next level. Once you solve your ULP, you can accomplish any dream or goal!
Gay Hendricks talks about this issue in his gem of a book, The Big Leap, which I highly recommend. Here’s the gist:
Many of you have fears of failure AND success going on at the same time. This makes going after your dreams feel super scary—because you could fail, which would be a bummer, but you could also succeed (yikes?).
Most of us don’t think we have a fear of success, but when you look closer, you may find it’s a subconscious fear.
Your brain may say, “Hey, look, if you get that thing you really want, WATCH OUT, because then you’ll have nothing left to go after.” And BAM—you sabotage yourself or come-up with excuses. Sound familiar?
UPL’s - when will the other shoe drop?
ULP’s arise when you get the illusion that you’re gonna get what you want. The mind can subconsciously worry you’ll let your guard down, and then become vulnerable to disappointments if things do not go as planned or how you envisioned them.
Counterintuitively, many of us humans resist happiness.
We have a tendency to self-impose imaginary limits on how happy our lives could or should be. Think of it as having a baseline for happiness. If we get too happy we might want to go back to our known baseline happiness homeostasis. So once we get close to our upper limit on happiness we may try and sabotage. Our mind says, “don’t get happier than you’ve ever been because we don’t know what that’ll REALLY be like yet.” But we do know your current level of achievable happiness, “Stay there where it’s safe.”
I say— get used to newer and grander abilities to feel joy. Increase your happiness baseline all the time, and in every realm imaginable — relationships, financial, personal growth, physical health, etc.. Why not? Think about that! Why not? No more letting ULP keep you from your dreams and an abundance of happiness.
When you’re stuck in ULP’s, you tend to fear that when you become the best you can be you’ll no longer have excuses to fall back on to protect yourself from not living a fuller life. But protecting yourself from success makes no sense when you map in all out and explore your mind.
Also, you may think that once you’ve realize your dreams, there’ll be nothing left to strive for. It’s all subconscious thinking that needs to be brought to the light so you can consciously decide about taking your life to the next level or not.
How do I know ULP’s are usually subconscious?
When I ask clients, “How would life be different when you accomplish this goal?”, usually the answers are all rainbows and sunshine. But then we go deeper:
· What are you scared of when you think of accomplishing your goal?
· How will your life be different?
· What other goals would you like to achieve after you realize this dream?
The mind needs to know what difficulties it could be faced with in meeting goals. Maybe there’ll be more responsibilities, more freedom, less freedom—who knows? These thoughts can scare the bejesus out of you.
And if you don’t have another goal lined-up, then it’s the end of the road. Your mind’s gonna freak!
Our lives are determined by our thoughts and behaviors, the challenges we take, and the excuses we use to avoid those challenges. We all have dreams that are yet to be realized, and most of us limit ourselves in some way, shape, or form because of fear of the unknown or fear of change.
WHAT’S ONE OF YOUR UNREALIZED DREAMS? Take a moment and write it down.
To live your most irresistible life, you must face the fact that it’s not going to be easy. When you’re committed to doing HARD things to reach your goals, you’re more invested than when you think of HARD as limiting (as in it’s too hard—I’ll never be able to do it!).
You need to know your mind will tell lies and play upper-limit games—like putting some imaginary cap on how happy you can be—but the limit does not exist!
It’s a beautiful thing to be able to set goals and achieve them; it provides profound meaning to our lives. When you learn how to step through fear into the life you want, you’re LIMITLESS!
2 Techniques You Can Use to Manage Upper Limit Issues
Once technique to use when overwhelmed by these mind games is mindful breathing. Taking a few minutes to calm yourself by breathing deeply and slowly, while putting your mind’s “noise” to the side, is a powerful way to regain control and halt your fear.
Another tool is to identify the type and source of your worries. Is the problem one you have control over? Then plan your next action by brainstorming ideas for how to work on it step-by-step. Write it down!
Don’t have any control over it? Let it go! Worrying about things that may happen in the future, which you have no control over, is a massive waste of time—they haven’t happened and they may never happen!
Life is too precious and fast to spend it fretting! Don’t let your mind hold you back.
Let’s get to it!! Your unrealized dreams are waiting for you to capture them!