Hotels are a fantastic place to think and work. Especially expensive hotels.
No matter where I travel in the world, I’ve always enjoyed using the luxurious cafe’s, gardens or lounge areas of nice hotels as a place to plan, dream, and reach beyond my current reality.
In Asia it was Anantara – with its plush cushion seats and long emerald ponds filled with orchids and lily pads stretching across exotic gardens.
And in Europe its The Four Season or Intercontinental – with its sophisticated setting, breathtaking views, and attentive staff with romantic accents asking you politely, “Another espresso ma’am?”
In the States, it’s any number of eccentric establishments – with their posh, jazzy vibe, astute ambition, and boundless energy.
This time, as I sit gazing out of the floor-to-ceiling windows at the panoramic view of the Atlantic, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. The feeling can only be described as warmth blooming out from the center of me.
It’s spreading from my chest out through my arms, and up through my neck and into my cheeks. My throat feels tight as I feel squeezed by happiness like a giant bear hug.
There’s something about superb service and a affluent, well-designed environment that’s exciting, and slightly surreal.
It’s the same feeling you get when you book a one-way ticket to another land… that feeling of pending adventure… the excitement of the unknown… and a chance to explore, building up within you.
Anticipation of something new. Something adventurous.
It could almost be fear, except you’re breathing in and out exhaling the energy to make it real.
According Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap – that’s the difference between fear and excitement…. Breath.
When you’re afraid, you hold your breath – choking and seizing up so you can’t think. Can’t move. Can’t take action. But when you’re excited you breathe in and out rapidly, sending action-spurring oxygen to your brain and other muscles to prepare for what’s to come.
And when you breathe – really breathe – through that building anticipation. You feel totally read to take on whatever comes your way. Bring it on!
That’s how I feel now as I move into the next stage of my business — an overwhelming sense of fear-turned-excitement as I remind myself, and prepare to launch myself into “what comes next.” with designed abandon.
One of my mentors recommended the book The Big Leap to me to help me break through massive resistance to letting go of a part of my business I’ve been tightly clutching to, but ultimately needed to release in order to move forward and reach my true potential.
The lessons learned by reading this book – coupled with some honest and insightful advice from trusted friends and colleagues – not only gave me the courage to let go, but also instilled in me a bubbling excitement to get up and work each morning – something I haven’t felt in a long time.
I’d like to share my biggest takeaways from the book with you – so you too can take the leap and start reaching toward your true potential.
Here are my biggest takeaways from The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks:
We’re constantly self-sabotaging to limit the amount of happiness, freedom, love, and abundance in our lives because of old programming we’ve created for ourselves.
The book centers around the concept of what Hendricks calls “The Upper Limit Problem.”
The short and sweet explanation is that most of us humans have some pre-set limit to how much abundance, love, happiness and success we’re willing to accept in our lives. You can call this a pre-set ‘thermostat’ for how high we’re allowing ourselves to go.
And when our current situation starts to push against the limit of what what we believe we deserve, we take actions (either consciously or unconsciously) to bring ourselves back down to the thermostat setting we’re comfortable and familiar with.
The most common Upper Limit Problems are:
2.) Self Sabotage.
The author’s 12-year-old defined the Upper Limit Problem like this: “If you don’t know it’s OK to feel good and have a good time, you’ll do something to mess it up when things are going well.”
Everyone does this in one way or another, and we’ve even built it into our societal and legislative systems. As an example, Hendricks explains:
“We humans have a long and wonderful history of transcending our beliefs about what’s possible. In the early days of the steam-powered train, learned scientists urged capping the speed at thirty miles per hour because they believed that the human body exploded at speeds greater than that. Finally some brave people risked going beyond that limiting belief and found that they did not explode. I think we’re approximately at that same stage of development with regard to our ability to feel good and have our lives go well.”
Hendricks opens the book, and continually encourages readers to return to the question – “Am I willing to feel good and have my life go well all the time?”
There are 4 barriers to success we create through unconscious, pre-programmed settings early on in life. These barriers stop us from living in our zone of genius.
And he says The Upper Limit Problem (ULP) is the only problem anyone really needs to solve in life. The ULP is the universal human tendency to sabotage ourselves when we reach the artificial limit we’ve created for ourselves. It’s caused by a too-low thermostat setting in our ability to achieve and enjoy ultimate success.
This thermostat usually gets set when we’re very young (too young to think for ourselves) and we take it with us as we learn to dream bigger, constantly bumping up against this cieling we unconsciously created early on.
So… we keep finding ways to bring ourselves back down to this old setting.
These unconscious settings usually transform into 1 of 4 different barriers to success:
1. The false belief that we are fundamentally flawed in some way. That we’re “bad”.
So we sabotage our success because we think we don’t deserve it. And when good things DO happen, we offset it in some other are of our lives because we think good things can’t happen to bad people
2. The false belief that, by succeeding, we are being disloyal to people in our past. That we’re leaving them behind.
So we self-sabotage because we feel disloyal if we let ourselves fly to high.
3. The false belief that we are a burden in the world, and to those around us.
So we sabotage ourselves so that we’re not an even bigger burden.
4. The false belief that we must tamper down our brilliance so we don’t outshine someone else (usually someone from our past, like a sibling).
So we hold ourselves back from expressing the brilliance of our full potential and innate genius so we don’t shine too brightly.
You have to make the conscious commitment to living in your zone of genius, now and forever.
In order to commit to living in your Zone of Genius, you need to ask yourself these questions:
1. What do I most love to do? What do I love to do so much that I can do it for long stretches of time, without getting tired, or bored.?
This will help you distinguish your Zone of Genius, from your Zone of Excellence.
2. What do I do in my work that produces the most abundance and satisfaction in the least amount of time spent? For example, even if you only do 10 minutes, or 10 seconds of this, an idea springs forth or an event happens that leads to something of great value.
3. What is my unique ability? What is the biggest contribution I make to people around me?
This one is tough, because often our unique abilities hide within other surface-level abilities. Think of it like those Russian dolls that fit inside each other. It’s a skill within a skill. Your unique ability is usually camouflaged inside a larger skill you possess.
To find your unique ability, start on the outside (with the most outside-facing skill) and then deconstruct it by going deeper and deeper inside that.
You can start by prompting yourself to finish sentences such as: “I’m at my best when I’m….”
– and then fill in the blank with something that comes to mind that really resonates with you.
Get really specific. You’ll know when you’re starting to get close to your unique ability when you start feeling wonder and excitement.
There are 4 zones we live in, and the Zone of Genius is where we want to be, but we stop ourselves from living in this Zone due to Upper Limit Problems.
Every task we perform fits into one of 4 zones.
Zone of Incompetence = You’re really bad at these tasks. Most people can do these things better than you can.
Zone of Competence = You can perform these tasks acceptably, but many others can do a better job than you can.
Zone of Excellence = This is where most people spend their lives when they think they’re “successful.” This is where you’re highly skilled, and at the top of your game. Most people cannot do these things as well as you can.
Zone of Genius = This is where you live when you’re performing your “unique ability.” No one in the world can do this better than you can, and you never feel bored or like you’re “working” when performing these tasks.
Your zone of excellence and the lower zones are like boxes, because you know how to exist and operate in them within some confined parameters.
But your zone of genius is like a spiral, and when you’re there you’re constantly spiraling upward. It’s complete freedom!
So to exist in your zone of genius constantly you need to get out of the box and onto the spiral.
You can do this in many ways, but one is to organize your internal operating system around a central guiding intention, or a mantra.
Hendricks calls this “the ultimate success mantra” (USM) and suggests using it to guide your focus. The USM beams instructions to your conscious and subconscious mind. It tells you to expand rather than contract in three key areas. Abundance, love, and acceptance.
To use the the USM, simply say to yourself (internally and audibly)
“I expand in abundance, acceptance, and love every day. And I inspire those around me to do the same.”
Without getting to ‘whoo whoo’ – u can use this in meditation, or simply by saying it to yourself daily. Regardless, you need to visualize this and internalize it until it becomes deeply seated in your core operating system.
The ‘science’ behind the USM is that it directly conflicts against instructions from your upper limit problem, which tells you to contract. It’s the antidote to years of conditioning which tells you you you don’t deserve to have overwhelming success.
You’ll constantly come up against old beliefs that try to knock you back down, and you’ll need to recommit to living in your zone of genius. When this happens, just take a deep breath and use the USM.
Sometimes This also means saying “no” to something that doesn’t fit within this zone. Each time you say no to something that doesn’t fit firmly in your zone of genius, you were solidifying your foundation in that zone.
We can control time, because we are the source of time.
Once you understand how time truly works, you can achieve far more with half the amount of work. The key is in understanding that YOU are where time comes from. That is the ultimate truth about how time works.
He calls this “Einstein Time” whereas most people are living in “Newtonian Time.”
The Newtonian paradigm says there’s only a finite amount of time and it must be carefully portioned out so we can do the things we need to do. This either guarantees we’ll always have too little or too much time, so we constantly fluctuate between 2 extremes – being rushed, or being bored.
But with Einstein Time, you have the power to make as much time as you want to. You’ll be able to expand the time you have for creative activities and intimate connections. You’ll also be able to stop activities that drain your energy.
There are 4 main benefits to living in Einstein Time:
1. You get more done in less time
2. You get more time for your creative activities
3. You’ll discover your unique abilities and how to express them
4. You’ll feel good inside because you’ll be able to produce abundant rewards and creativity, financial well-being, and feelings of ease — all while generating more time.
He says a lot of this is about accepting full ownership of time, and taking full charge of the time we have.
He compares it to money, saying: “You’ll never have enough money to buy all the things you don’t need, and you’ll never have enough time to do all the things you don’t want to do.”
If you acknowledge that you are the source of time (and not the victim) you’ll quit thinking of time as something “out there” and claim it as your own – to invent and use as you wish.
Stress and conflict are caused by resisting acceptance and ownership. If there is any part of our lives that we’re not willing to accept ownership of, then we’ll experience stress and conflict in that area.
So ask yourself where in your life you’re not taking full ownership. Ask yourself what you’re trying to disown or reject ownership of. The answer is always obvious, but we need to be humble enough to accept the answer.
A good place to start is to stop complaining about time. You’ll start to notice how many times you (and others) complain about time by saying things like: “I don’t have time to do that right now.”
Yes you do. You create time! You just don’t want to. So instead we tell this polite lie because we want to avoid the blunt truth of the matter. So don’t be too blunt with people around you, but DO stop using time as an excuse.
Our relationships are constantly suffering from Upper Limit Problems
Do you ever notice how rare it is that successful people have strong, intimate relationships?
Remember, most people feel fundamentally flawed or like they don’t deserve success. So in a relationship BOTH partners need to deal with their upper limit problems, or else they’ll often project their feelings onto the relationship.
And successful couples are the worst at this because they’re both synergizing each other’s journey to living in their zone of genius
This projection is the source of many power struggles that drain energy, because you’re trying to see who’s version of reality will win.
Healthy relationships can only exist between equals who cocreate together and both take 100% responsibility for the relationship.
There are several ways we limit positive energy in relationships, including:
1. Starting arguments out of fear of intimacy in times when we could be exchanging intimacy
2. Withholding significant communications
3. Needing to control or dominate the other person (or have them dominate us)
Binge eating, deflecting compliments, holding back on communication, drinking too much – these are all ways we limit the love and positive energy in our relationships. When we open up to more love and positive energy, we flush our system of old programming so we can accept more abundance and happiness in our lives.
Hendricks suggests that you make sure you take plenty of time and space for yourself apart from your partner to nurture the independent part of yourself. If you take time off consciously then you won’t need to do it subconsciously by starting arguments.
Also, don’t try and limit emotions in the relationship. Emotions are meant to be FELT, so don’t try and talk yourself or your partner out of them. Let both of yourself feel them.
Constantly recommit to living in your Zone of Genius and accepting unlimited love, abundance and happiness into your life.
We’ve already covered a lot of ways to do this, but Hendricks also suggests that we cultivate a “Upper Limit Conspiracy Team” around us.
Cultivate a circle of at least 3 friends who will help keep you accountable for living in your zone of genius, and help you continue to explore your upper limits. Educate each other on the ULP and remind each other when you see someone ‘upper limiting.’
Remind each other to open up and experience more love, abundance and success than you’ve ever enjoyed before, and be open to learning in every moment of interaction in your relationships.
It’s a constant journey to spiral up into our Zone of Genius, so when you catch yourself worrying or holding back, then let go of those worry thoughts, take a deep breath, and recenter.
This is encapsulated well by the fourteenth century mystic, Hafiz, in his poem which says:
“You’re invited to meet the Divine.
Nobody can resist an invitation like that!
Now your choices narrow to two:
You can come to the Divine ready to dance.
Be carried on a stretcher to the Divine Emergency Room.”
So make the choice to have fun exploring your upper limit and discovering your unique abilities. Make the commitment and take the big leap into living in your Zone of Genius. Then you can live a life of unlimited happiness, abundance, and love.
Every day will be exciting as you wake up and make something of value and delight.
Did you enjoy this ‘biggest lessons learned’ post? If so, leave a comment below if you’d like to see more posts like this one!