Hi guys, it’s Jo Gifford here, welcome to episode 29 of Work Smarter, Dream Bigger, Live Brighter.
In this episode I’m taking a little look at the old favourite, upper limit problems.
If you haven’t heard of an upper limit problem or a ULP, I’m going to be diving into what it is, and if you have, I know that you’re probably going to understand where I’m coming from.
So, What IS it?
An upper limit problem is something that’s defined by the author Gay Hendricks in his book, The Big Leap, which I absolutely urge you guys to read, it’s amazing. The Big Leap is all about conquering your hidden fear and taking life to the next level.
The work of Gay Hendricks is absolutely amazing, he’s a New York Times bestselling author, and in this particular book he talks about a problem that occurs when you reach the upper limit, obviously, of your ability to experience happiness and success.
This is specifically when you’ve perhaps just reached a new level in your business or perhaps when you’ve reached a new level in your health or your wealth. If you’ve just managed to expand your life and your experience of life to a certain level, you will often hit an upper limit problem.
How It Can Show Up
The way that that manifests itself for different people will show up in different ways, so I want to talk to you about a few of mine, because I think it’s really good to be honest about these things and it’s really good to share our experiences.
The First One
For me, upper limit problems showed up in their droves about this time last year. Back in September, October 2014 was really when I made a big leap of faith in my business. I’d started to invest more in coaches, I could feel my confidence rising, my reach and authority and visibility were starting to gain momentum, and it was round about that time that I started to see a big increase in my finances.
Lo and behold after I’d signed a few great contracts and been hired left, right and centre, suddenly I was hit with illnesses.
For me, becoming unwell is not unusual. As you guys know, I’ve talked through my health stuff, my chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and endometriosis, so that’s all stuff that I manage day to day and it goes through cycles, but I hit a massive, massive wall.
I started getting really busy, things were going really well, I was investing and seeing some great results, then I was hit by a massive round of ‘flu bugs, exhaustion and I couldn’t get out of it.
At the time I was aware enough of The Big Leap and the upper limit problem and could probably recognise what it was, and it took me a while to work through it. I’ll talk in a moment how I worked through these, but I set about getting myself back on track.
And Then Again
Another big one appeared in February, March time earlier this year and again it was because I’d been experiencing success, I had a great run of being hired, of getting lovely one to one clients, of my programmes doing really well. I was living the dream, I was seeing some great things occurring, and again I hit such a big upper limit problem that it lasted for about two months.
For the space of those two months, I couldn’t sell anything for love or money. It was almost as if suddenly having gone from everybody wanting me and stuff hitting critical mass, it was as if it was crickets out there and nobody wanted my stuff. Again I’m going to talk about that in hindsight as to what I can now see was going on, and as you can probably hear from my voice, I’m just recovering from a big sinus infection, so I hit another one just in the last couple of weeks.
Let’s Look Into This Last One, What’s Been Going On?
Well, as you guys can see as you look back through the podcasts and my blog, I’ve been really on form, I’ve been in a really good space.
I’ve had a huge increase in my podcast listens, in my client base, in my recognition. I’ve been feeling great, I’ve created my miracle morning routine, I’ve been on such a good vibe for ages, I’ve been in such a happy place.
When you’re in that kind of energy and in that vibrancy and that state, then stuff automatically happens because you’re attracting it to you so I’ve been meditating, focusing on my goals and I’ve been asked to take part in loads of amazing partnerships, summits, talks and experiences. I’ve had some amazing stuff happen, and I’ve put plans in place for amazing, exciting stuff in the New Year.
At the same time as going through that, I’ve been looking at revising my Blogging Business Bootcamp and we’re just running the live round now and everyone’s really enjoying it. I realised that we need to position that in a slightly different way for it to really resonate with people, so I’ve had a few things going on, I’ve had some great success, I’ve had the mini re-launch of a live round of a programme, and that is prime conditions for upper limits to appear.
Lo and behold, the last couple of weeks I’ve had a really killer sinus infection, the kind that you have to reluctantly take antibiotics for, and they made me hallucinate because they were so strong, and then my health was wiped out because my immune system was really low. Because I was off kilter, I wasn’t able to do my miracle morning practice which really earths me. Everything just felt out of whack, and it’s taken me some time to get back into the swing of things.
Let’s look at how I’ve been doing that.
First of all I was able to recognise that this was an upper limit problem. I could see that things had been going well for ages, so how strange then to be suddenly hit by illness. Yes, of course there’s a physical reason behind this stuff, but it’s always good to be in tune with things as they happen and to be able to realise when you can see that this might be a kind of upper limit problem.
It’s almost like a form of self-sabotage, really, that my body and my energy, somewhere in my subconscious had said,
hey, hang on a minute, it’s going too well, Jo, let’s just slow it all down!
The way that I’ve been working through that is to bring back in some practices to help work through this upper limit.
How I Bust Through It (and you can too)
I’ve brought in some EFT which I do on a regular basis anyway, but I’ve made sure that on a daily basis I’m tapping out some affirmations to get rid of some limiting self-beliefs. A great place to start with Emotional Freedom Technique is Brad Yates on YouTube.
I love Brad Yates, he’s an amazing guy. He does all these videos for free on YouTube, and one of the best ones to start with is Brad Yates’s Amazing Day EFT tapping routine. It’s a lovely one to do in the morning to set yourself up for the day, so I’ve been bringing EFT back into my daily practice.
I’m making sure that I meditate, even when, during this last upper limit problem and illness time I’ve had all sorts of emotions coming up, anger, negativity, loads of stuff coming out to play. Even when I’ve felt really out of sorts, I’ve tried to sit down, make myself sit with that feeling, meditate on it and work through it.
The other thing that I’ve done that I think is also super important is just to roll with it. I’ve really leant into this one, and last week I literally had to write off about two or three days to just sleep, I was so floored by this. I just went back to bed and slept, and we had to reschedule my calls and all my appointments, and I just got back under the duvet and rode it out.
Sometimes it’s what you have to do, just lean into it. This was a physical response to my body saying, right, it’s time out, Jo.
Yes of course, on a rational level we’ll look at it and say, well, you had a really bad sinus infection and antibiotics and of course bed’s the right thing, but when we know that we’re going through a personal development upper limit problem, because you’ve read about it, it resonates with you, experience tells me that this is what’s happening.
I was kind of able to lean into it with some insight and some knowledge that I was going to come through the other side, which is happening now.
But Don’t Worry – I’m Back!
I’m feeling back in the room, I’m still a bit tired, but I’m looking after myself and I can feel my clarity coming back, I can feel excitement back, I can feel that I’m back in tune with my own intuition and with what’s needed of me and my work. That’s a place where I want to stay for as long as possible whilst I carry on building stuff, but I know as I hit the next level of stuff it’s likely that I might encounter another upper limit problem.
This is something that I would urge you guys to be aware of. I would of course urge you to get The Big Leap and read about the work of the amazing Gay Hendricks, and I would urge you to be aware of whenever bad something happens straightaway after something good, just question whether it might be your version of an upper limit problem.
No-one Is Invincible
Just to put another example onto this one, I know that the infamous Marie Forleo has spoken in one of her videos about one of her upper limit problem experiences as well.
It was just after one of her biggest launches of B School ever, and she spoke about being in a yoga class and suddenly being overcome with feeling really ill, really sick, really dizzy, and this illness lasted for some time. She talked about how the doctors couldn’t find out what was wrong with her and everyone said it was a virus, and then one of her friends pointed out that it was an upper limit problem, and she recognised that.
She’d hit such a massive stage with B School that it was almost as if her energy vibration just couldn’t handle that level of success and it threw her out.
To give you another example, my lovely friend Laura Husson, who’s an incredible designer and expert of looking awesome online, she talks about one of her most memorable ULP experiences being that she was driving home from a big flashy photoshoot in London, and she had to pull over because she thought to herself, I’m going to throw up. Who does she think she is? What if I look ridiculous?
She told me she hid from launching her new brand for six months, and it took her some time to work through that upper limit problem, and when she put herself out there, the results were amazing and she’s completely smashed all of her goals. So Laura Husson, thank you so much for letting me shout out to you. Do go and find Laura on laurahusson.com, where you can see her new photos and her brand. She’s just incredible!
This happens to a lot of us and I’m sure it’s probably happening to you. If you’ve ever felt out of sorts either just before you’re doing something that’s stretching you or just after something amazing has been happening, just look into it and consider that this might be an upper limit problem. I would certainly use EFT to work through stuff.
Get in Touch With Your Peeps
Other tools that I use are going to my circle of friends and my mastermind. I speak to my coach and my mentors, I speak to my team about it and Team Diva are excellent experts at realising when I’m hitting an upper limit problem. We all speak this language in the team and it’s not unusual for me to hop in there and say, hey guys, I feel terrible, is it chronic fatigue or is it a ULP? Often it’s both!
We work through it and they can also be great at seeing it if I’m not able to be tuned in that day because I’m feeling out of kilter. Using your mastermind and circle of entrepreneur friends who understand this can be really helpful, because actually, if you talk to your friends in the real world and say, hey, I’m having an upper limit problem, I feel terrible, they might look at you as if you’re a little bit crazy.
Speak to people who get it, who’ve been there, who understand it and have that support around you and make sure that you have some tools to tap through it, to meditate through it, to speak about it and to lean into whatever emotion you’re feeling.
What About You?
Have you had upper limit problems? I would love to hear! Leave a comment below or you can hit me up on Twitter, @dexdiva, or on Facebook,.
If you are going through an upper limit problem right now, I totally understand and hope that you’re working your way through it. If you’ve never had one before, perhaps you’ll recognise one now if and when it rocks up, and just know that it means that you’re moving onto more amazing things.
Once again, check out The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, and you can find me on social media and of course on email, firstname.lastname@example.org, so let me know what you’re going through.
Alright guys, I’ll see you soon in the next episode, but hopefully my sinuses will have all completely cleared up and I will be way past the ULP and onto the next round of brilliance.