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How To Overcome The Upper Limit Problem

I was reading an article by the wonderful Brianna Wiest recently and I came across her words:  

“You can also hit an ‘Upper Limit’ when your previously held, limiting beliefs begin to conflict with your aspirations and plans.”

This made me stop. 

Have I been self-sabotaging my goals (aspirations and plans) because of my limiting beliefs? How can I find out if this is the case? If so, how can I overcome it?

These are all difficult but important questions. If, you are serious about reaching your life goals. 

So, let’s just jump into some details.

Limiting beliefs

“What is a goal that you have always wanted to achieve and haven’t? Why haven’t you? Whatever your reason, there’s always a limiting belief.” Tony Robbins 

Limiting beliefs are deeply held beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of. They have been shaped by our upbringing, past events, and environment. And although they are often unconscious – they shape who we are by guiding our choices and actions.

Find out more: How To Break Free From Your Toxic Limiting Beliefs.

The Upper Limit Problem

The Upper Limit Problem is a concept made popular by Gay Hendricks in his book The Big Leap

Hendricks proposes that we have an inbuilt limit for success and happiness programmed from childhood. This limit is our Upper Limit – it is the ceiling of our comfort zone. When we try to break through this limit we unconsciously self-sabotage ourselves to stay within our comfort zone. 

Sound familiar? To be honest, the first time I read about the theory it didn’t resonate. However, the more I thought about it. The more it started to feel very real.

Have you hit your Upper Limit?

The first steps of understanding your upper limit are to identify the hidden barriers and limiting behaviors in your life.

Understand your hidden barriers

Hidden barriers are inbuilt concepts that your subconscious works to protect you from. Hendricks identifies 4 hidden barriers that may be getting in your way: 

  1. Feeling fundamentally flawed
  2. Fear of being disloyal or abandoning others 
  3. A belief that more success brings a bigger burden
  4. The fear of outshining others

Understand your limiting behaviors

When you come up against a hidden barrier – your limiting behaviors kick in. This sabotages your ability to proceed past your limit where you can experience a greater abundance of success, happiness, or love.

Hendriks lists these as some of the most common Upper Limit behaviors: 

  • Worrying
  • Blaming and criticizing
  • Getting sick or hurt
  • Squabbling 
  • Hiding significant feelings
  • Not keeping agreements
  • Not speaking significant truths to people
  • Deflecting

Have you started to work on your life goals – but had to stop because something else had to take priority? This could be you hitting your Upper Limit.

Are your limiting beliefs conflicting with your goals? 

If you want to know if your limiting beliefs are conflicting with your goals, it is important for you to understand what your limiting beliefs are. 

Identify your limiting beliefs

When you are working on your goals and negative thoughts come up or you are feeling in a negative mood, stop for a moment. 

  1. Self-reflect on what thoughts are causing the negativity
  2. Unpack why you are thinking these thoughts
  3. Question their validity. Are they facts or negative beliefs? (I will bet you whatever you like – they are not facts.)

Have you modified a dream goal because you aren’t good enough or smart enough? These are negative beliefs that can conflict with your goals. You can mistake them for facts – but you should be questioning and disproving them.

Are you ready to commit to your dreams?

Pushing through your Upper Limit and limiting beliefs requires you to approach your goals with curiosity and a growth mindset.

If you are ready to take things to the next level – here are some tips to get you on your way.

Notice when you get there

The first step with your Upper Limit and your limiting beliefs is to know when they are coming into play. This is easier said than done. 

Utilize your self-awareness to notice your Upper Limiting Behaviors. Identify when they come up for you. Start to question why they have come up for you. This might be a struggle at first. But, the more you work on it, the easier it will become.

Take the time to grow

Needless to say that working on deeply and subconsciously held beliefs is not going to be easy. But, when you are living out your dream goals. It will all be worth it.

Take the time to self-reflect, journal, talk to friends or professionals. Be sure to utilize all the resources you need. Take the time to embrace the process and life changes.

Once you can notice your limiting beliefs, you can start questioning and addressing them. Strive to replace them with positive beliefs. 

Visualization is a powerful tool when it comes to creating positive beliefs. So, take the time to imagine (and believe) your dream goals.

To break through your upper limits focus (and believe) in the abundance, love and success that you deserve. Take the time to embrace the success that you are achieving and deserve. 

When you catch yourself hitting your barrier Hendricks suggests: 

“Consciously let yourself make more room in your awareness for abundance, love and success. Use the resources of your whole being and not just your mind. For example, feel more love in your chest and heart area. Savor the body feeling, as well as the mental satisfaction, of success and abundance.”

Be gentle and keep smiling

As rewarding as personal growth might be – delving into negative thoughts and barriers might be upsetting, frustrating, or stressful (and much more). So, approach this work with positive and gentle intentions.

Be sure to include supportive and caring people in your journey. And, don’t forget to laugh at the silliness that you find in your mind.

Keep up the good work

Just like reaching your dream goals – this work will take perseverance. But, you can do it. 

The more you work on it, the more you will absorb a more positive and successful mindset into your way of life. So, keep on keeping on!

Have I been self-sabotaging my goals? 

Yes. Definitely.

But, now when that voice says “You don’t have the skills to do that” I can say “That is not a fact – there is no proof I can’t achieve whatever I try.” Every day I push further towards the goals I am visualizing.

And, I know you can do what it takes to reach your dream goals too. So, I will see you on the other side!

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