Upper Limit and How Self-Mastery Will Help You Succeed

Oct 06, 2018


The Interview

I was sitting at the table with a prospect for my open Operations Manager role. Sitting in front of me was a candidate who possessed all of the qualities I am looking for in a leader to implement my vision: dynamic, forward, and strategic thinking, drive, energy, positivity, enthusiasm, experience leading others, & passion for processes, details, and structure. She had all the professional qualities which would perfectly complement my talents. I hadn’t considered that a great prospect would trigger my upper limit.

In front of us, I had drawn my vision. Scratched on a piece of paper was an organizational chart. The paper contained roles and descriptions, marketing plans, pricing strategies, current financial state of the business, three-year financial plans, and many other scribble-scratch notes. Windows to my world were flung open on a single piece of paper.

“Your job would just be to keep me talking. When I’m talking we’re making money” I said with a sideways smile.

She smiled back and said, “I get it. My job would be to continue to make sure your calendar is set, give you prospects to speak with, make sure we keep project implementation on track, and whatever it takes to grow the business.”

I added quickly, “And when the business grows, so will your income. My goal is to make sure you are well taken care of.”

The Question

We both took sips from our warm drinks, and I intensely looked into her eyes. “First, can you do what I’m asking? Second, are you interested in a future with this vision?” I asked.

She broke eye contact and moved her eyes back to the paper in front of us. “Yes, I can certainly do this. I’m interested, and I’ll need to process it all.”

“Of course!” I said, secretly excited that she expressed interest.

A rush of adrenaline surged through my body. I have been working on this vision for two years, and ready to make my first hire – the most critical one. My first hire will keep the back end of the business on track while I’m in the world coaching, speaking, and selling books.

The adrenaline rush happened because I finally felt that my vision was fully available and imminent. I know that if not with this prospect – with another. I had shared my vision and there was interest, acceptance, and validation for my dream. My vision was unfolding perfectly.

We agreed on a date and time for a follow-up call.

She grabbed her bag and prepared to leave. I grabbed the paper with my vision and my bag and we both stood up at the same time.

And a sudden lower back spasm sent a shockwave through my entire body – a sudden intense spasm came from nowhere.

I had walked in with no pain, had not felt pain over the past hour, and nothing happened to cause the pain during our meeting. As I stood up I did the best I could to show no outward signs of the depth of the pain I felt. It took my breath away. Gingerly, I walked to the door of the coffee shop. We shook hands, expressed excitement about the future, and parted ways. I could barely breathe.

I put my right leg in the car and sat down on the seat, but I couldn’t lift my left leg without triggering a spasm. It took me 10 minutes to breathe through the pain and stabilize the pulsing. I finally got my left foot in the car, and still gasping for air I drove home. I was excited about the future but in excruciating pain.

The pain would not let up for days.

The Upper Limit

In Gay Hendrick’s book “The Big Leap,” Hendricks details ‘the upper limit’. Everyone experiences upper limit conditions throughout their lives, and whether you recognize them is a different story. Our body, mind, and emotions LOVE the familiar. So when we begin to approach an unfamiliar, new level of success and happiness, our subconscious mind looks for a way to sabotage our expansion. Our mind ‘helps’ us move back into the familiar, shrunken circumstances we are looking to expand beyond by creating discomfort.

Sabotage could come in the form of financial losses, relationship blow-ups, panic, anxiety, fear, behavior which slows momentum such as drinking, drugs, or other sedating activities. All unconsciously.

We all have dreams and goals which we anticipate will bring us happiness, joy, wealth, and fulfillment. But our mind wants to remain safe in the current state.


The Big leap
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks details about the upper limit.


In my case, a physical issue appeared out of nowhere. I had reached my upper limit, and I knew it as soon as it happened. I’ve experienced it many times before. Like it does each time I reach a new level of progress in life or business, my body starts fighting back.

Breaking Through

What happens when you hit your upper limit? You have choices to make. You can choose to allow your stressors and behavior to halt your progress, and opt for destructive behavior instead of beneficial behavior. Some people choose to ‘celebrate’ by choosing activities that cause short or long-term regression such as chemicals, food, gambling, or other activities that help the individual temporarily escape the stressors – while causing damage.

Or, you can choose to recognize that you have upper limited or are about to upper limit.  You can manage through the discomfort refusing to give in to destructive behaviors. After a while, the discomfort will become the new level of comfort, so you will have attained true growth.

Regardless of your title, status, wealth, or health, everyone has upper limits and is capable of upper limiting. What separates successful from unsuccessful people is that successful people feel the discomfort, the pain, the fear – and do it anyway. Unsuccessful people are victims of their upper limits. When things begin to go well – they find a way to allow it to dissolve. Millionaires become broke, marriages end, body parts break, or they opt to shrink back into the comfort of the familiar instead of moving into growth.

Self-Mastery And The Upper Limit

Self-mastery is the intentional process of growing physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually, relationally, and financially each day – incrementally. By choosing intentional growth in daily increments, you learn how to recognize and breakthrough upper limits. Breaking through upper limits constantly, you make steady progress toward your dreams and goals. Unfamiliar becomes familiar. Discomfort becomes comfortable.

Goal attainment is so much more than just grinding and hustling. Success comes from becoming radically self-aware. And learning how to spot your upper limit behavior is critical to your growth.

My Challenge To You

I’d love to help you achieve your goals, and breakthrough your upper limits. When we walk together, I will keep an eye on your blind-spots so that I can call your attention to upper limit behavior. I will ensure you make continual progress, without sabotaging everything you deserve and desire.

Purchase a copy of The Big Leap. Become aware of how your upper limits have impacted your success in the past. Recognize how they can inhibit your growth in the future, and how they can keep you stagnant over the course of your life.

I’d also invite you to reach out to me if I can support you in any capacity – even if it's just a free conversation about your current state, goals, and how I could help be accountable to and achieve your dreams. Schedule a free phone session with me. Your goals will come a lot easier if we team up to spot and navigate past your upper limits.

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