Sometimes it is easier when they say no.

A number of years ago I was first introduced to The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.

Among other great insights, the most important concept in the book is that of an upper limit problem. This is the term he uses to describe the phenomenon whereby we all have a certain limit of love, success, abundance, etc that we feel we deserve. As we start getting close to our limits, we do something to bring us back down to where we feel more comfortable. That might be self-sabotaging in the same area of our lives where we are expanding just a little too far, or it could be that we turn to another area of our lives and do something to interrupt a current peace.

When I first learned of the concept, I loved it and felt that it resonated with me. Yet, I couldn’t point to a specific area where I saw it happening. I was pretty sure it was, I just couldn’t identify it.

Then, recently, my business coach used 8 simple words: “Sometimes it is easier when they say no”.

I started to realize that I may seek rejection in some areas of my life as a confirmation that I don’t deserve to expand in those areas. I used to think it was a sign that I was a go-getter. When I want a job, I have no trouble applying for numerous places even if they seem way out of my league. As I try to sell my book, 30 Weeks to Awesome, I have no trouble going into random stores and asking them to carry my book. I know others who might shy away from doing both of these things. I thought it was a sign of bravery. But I’m realizing it’s only a non-fully actualized act of bravery.

I am just now understanding that in these actions, I am not expecting a yes. Not only am I not expecting a yes, if I get close to a no, sometimes I do something to sabotage the yes, or fail to take the action necessary to cultivate a yes.

I deceived myself for decades, and it will probably take decades to overcome it, but only by recognizing my upper limit problem can I begin to move forward.

Where are you facing an upper limit problem in your own life? How might it be disguising itself among courage and bravery?

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