Imagine this. You’re alone—stuck between floors in an office elevator. It’s after hours. The building is empty. The security guard left for the day. The elevator phone is out of order and your cell phone battery is dead. You ring the emergency alarm a dozen times. Nobody comes to your rescue.
The air thickens. Sweat pours down your back. Your heart pounds with fear.
Like a caged animal, you look up at the elevator ceiling and realize the only way out is to climb the walls, push through the ceiling tiles, and raise yourself to the building rooftop. Once up there, you might call out to someone on the street or scramble down an outside fire escape.
It’s risky. You don’t know what’s on the other side, but the gamble could outweigh the desperation of sitting in a tiny box overnight hoping you’ll be rescued.
What would you do? Wait or raise yourself to the rooftop?
The Upper Limit Problem
In his book, The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks says life is like that elevator shaft. We climb to a certain level of success, but then get trapped between the stages of our lives as we cling to our ordinary comfort zone.
Even though we know there’s much more we want to do, we let fear hold us back. Overwhelmed by uncertainty, we sabotage ourselves, fail to embrace our gifts, and so our dreams smolder and die. As the feeling of being stuck becomes grossly familiar, we might even plunge into depression.
According to Hendricks, deep down inside of us, there’s a sense we have a huge unrealized potential, an extraordinary level of success we want to achieve. But we worry we’ll fall short. We’re afraid we can’t attain the ultimate success we can taste, see, and smell.
Hendricks says the problem that holds us back from living full lives is the “Upper Limit Problem.”
What’s Our Upper Limit Problem?
The “Upper Limit” is a psychological place of comfort and success that stunts our growth. We get overly comfortable at a certain stage in life and refuse to let ourselves fully develop and use our unique talents and gifts.
When our inner thermostat gets beyond our normal temperature gauge of happiness, we plug our joy sensor with worry and guilt. We sabotage ourselves with a barrage of negative thoughts, start fights with loved ones or pick up addictions.
Our inner scaredy-cat tells us, “I don’t deserve to be this happy. Be careful. If I let myself enjoy life, the bottom’s going to fall out. I might as well stay stuck in negativity, so I don’t get disappointed.”
These self-destructive attitudes and behaviors keep us stuck in the elevator of unfulfilled lives.
Raise the Roof
Hendricks says we can push through and raise the roof on our Upper Limits by making what he calls the Big Leap into our “Genius Zone.”
When we befriend fear and doubt, and tap into our inner courage, we catapult into the “Genius Zone”—that place where we embrace our giftedness, and live the life we’d hoped for, but didn’t think was possible.
Like an athlete, as we stretch beyond our comfort zone, we strengthen our genius muscles. Our hopes and dreams become a reality. We look back and exclaim, “I did it! I raised the roof!”
Identifying Your Upper Limits
Identifying our Upper Limits when they appear is key to moving beyond them, Hendricks says. They often show up disguised as guilt, fear, self-doubt or negativity. When we name the upper limits that keep us trapped, we can then push through them.
I keep bumping up against the Upper Limit problem as I make progress on the book I’m writing, Finding Flow—Doable Spiritual Practices to Reclaim Inner Peace, Balance, and Wholeness. I want to finish the book, get it into the Universe, and teach spiritual workshops around it so others can reach their full potential.
As I work on the book, my Upper Limit keeps raising itself like an archenemy shouting, “Really? Who do you think you are? You have nothing to say that’s meaningful. There goes your ego, trying to save the world again. Why can’t you be satisfied with your life? Why can’t you play golf or go to the casino?”
My writing coach—who gave me a copy of Hendricks’ book—and my Irish spirit keep pushing me through my Upper Limit daily as I write at my desk. When fear and doubt scold me, I reach out for God’s help, ask him to give me the words he wants to say through me. I remind myself, God’s got this. If I continue to listen and seek Divine Guidance, we’ll continue to raise the roof.
This week consider these key questions:
• What are my Upper Limits?
• How do I allow guilt, worry, self-doubt or negativity prevent me from living the life I want and imagine?
• What are the dreams I want to accomplish?
• How can I stretch beyond my comfort zone so those dreams become a reality?
As part of your Big Leap, maybe find a coach, a spiritual mentor, or a trusted friend to help you name and push through your Upper Limits, because the world needs you to use your full potential to make the Universe a better place.
Embrace your unique gifts and talents. Raise the roof on your Upper Limits. Live the life you’ve imagined.
You are worth it.
—brian j plachta
If you want to Raise Your Roof, Join me for a FREE ONE HOUR WEBINAR:
FINDING FLOW THROUGH COMMUNITY
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 7:30 pm (eastern time).
We’ll explore these questions:
Who are the people in my life who help me grow?
Who stretches and nudges me to become the best version of myself?
Who is in (or shouldn’t be in) my “Circle of Trust?”
This Webinar will give you practical tools to help you determine whom God has placed in your life to help you grow.
You’ll also discover if there are people you’re being invited to add to your circle of trust.
Attendance is limited to the first 15 participants.
Register now by clicking this Link: