I watched myself (yes, I actually kind of floated out of my body and watched my own behavior) as I drove to the beach with my daughter a few days ago. I wanted to be excited about the whole adventure – I hadn’t seen her since Christmas and this was going to be our time. I started out upbeat and positive and celebrated the fact that we have an adorable duplex at a wonderful beach and I get to share it with my amazing daughter.
Somehow, as too often happens, I let clouds of negative thoughts creep into my journey and block out the warmth of my expectations. In fact, the further south we traveled, the further south went my energy. My negative thought clouds included:
• the extra 13 lbs I am currently carrying
• all of the cars on 95S that I was sure were driving directly to our little beach, ready to litter it with pale bodies, tents, and fishing poles that sit in a holder on the sand with or
without the fisherman (come on, people, show some energy and pick up your pole!)
• the dreaded grocery store visit where people act as if this beach trip is the laste chance they’ll get to eat
Once I arrived at the beach with some obligatory “woohoo’s”, I pulled out a book that shed light on why I would try to dampen a great experience with ridiculous concerns. The book is called The Big Leap, and is written by Gay Hendricks (New York Times Bestselling Author of Five Wishes).
He calls this habit the “Upper Limit” problem. Basically, when we enjoy a period of any kind of harmony, we stop the positive energy by bombarding ourselves with negative thoughts or frustrations. For example, let’s say you just gave one heck of a presentation. People applauded, you acted chagrined, the world was your oyster. Suddenly you noticed one face that wasn’t smiling, one person texting rather than applauding. The rest of the night you imagined all of the crazy reasons that this person might not have liked your presentation, escalating your fear until you’re sure they want to have you fired immediately.
This is an Upper Limit problem. We set limitations based upon our fear and what we think we deserve in life. Some teacher in our past told us that we didn’t live up to our potential, that our work wasn’t as good as it could be. Or a brother or sister always felt like they lived in your shadow, so you downplayed your success. Or maybe you are a little skittish after being downsized for the third time. Whatever the reason, you couldn’t stand the success you were having because you had reached your Upper Limit.
If you create a limiting belief, you get to take it home and live with it until you let it go. I wanted to enjoy my weekend at the beach, so I stopped paying attention to my pale highway competitors and saw them, instead, as companions on a relaxing journey. I looked at all of the empty spaces on the sand instead of the tents. And you know what? I had a blast!
So let me ask you this – when you start to enjoy yourself, do you have an Upper Limit? A point at which you ruin a perfectly good experience by expecting something negative to happen? If so, start changing the messages you give yourself. I must go. I have to meet a potential client for lunch that isn’t too crazy about me . . . STOP. Now, I look forward to an exciting meeting with a potential client that could benefit from my help. Ah, the big, bodacious leap. Make one yourself!