My Upper Limit Problem and how we resist joy

Gay Hendricks wrote a brilliant little book called The Big Leap. In it, he talks about the Upper Limit Problem — how we sabotage ourselves when we’ve reached success. When the stakes are high or when the success is more than you’ve experienced before, Upper Limit Problems can strike.

You rain on your own parade. You make a windfall of cash and you get into a car accident. You fall in love and you pick a silly fight. You come down with something before a big moment…

If you were to watch, say 10 videos of my past speakings gigs, I was probably sick for 7 of them. Uhhuh. Sinus infections, sore throat, congested lungs. For most gigs I was on a cocktail of Sinutab, a steroid inhaler, nasal spray, and various herbal remedies like Oregano Oil, Rescue Remedy and Colloidal Silver. The morning of an event my prayer would be, “Just hold my vocal chords together for 90 minutes.” Long enough for my talk and to greet people afterwards.

I could say that I’m sensitive to the recycled air on planes, or that the fatigue of travel takes its toll on my immune system. But nah. It was just an Upper Limit Problem. And I’m done with it.

I was headed to Sounds True Publishing in Boulder to sit in a sound booth for four days to record new material for The Desire Map collection (which is rolling out this December & January and is…awesome!) And buh-bam. The night before I fly out, in comes inflamed sinuses and the killer headache. I need my voice to be golden — more than I ever have — this cannot happen. The terror of losing my voice is actually worse than the physical discomfort.

To be clear, I’m not forcing myself to do stuff I don’t want to do. Gigs, microphones, the smell of a book off the press – this is my bliss. And I’m mostly fearless about doing what I do so it’s not jitters or anxiety. It’s simply this: Joy resistance.

I send a group text to three friends — my co-success, meditation, keep it real, aim high buddies: Flying to Boulder to record. Sinus stuff hit me. WTF? Upper.Limit.Problem. OBVIOUSLY.

They commence with good vibes and insight. They actually (and this made me all misty in the airport) set a time to do a healing meditation for me that day. And in the next twelve hours this clarity starts to roll in — from my friends, my inner knowing and a few angelic confirmations:

Believe how good it is. You’ve graduated. This pattern is breaking. Lean back. Get yourself some green juice and some roses, STAT.

And I did. My meditation throughout the day was about leaning back into the cosmic, and material, and professional support that was surrounding me.

I let myself sit in the beauty of arriving where I wanted to be.

And not only were my vocal chords golden for the marathon of audio and video tracks we laid down, I did some of my best work ever.

Remind yourself that you asked for your success.
You’re right where you should be.
Let your success imprint on your cells.

When you believe in your value, you can accommodate more joy.tweet

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