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There are these wonderful little islands between Sweden and Finland where there’s 18 hours of sunlight in the summer, swimming under the sun, midnight, naked in a lake. I’m in.
Hey, what’s up? It’s Marie Forleo. You’re watching Marie TV, the place to be to create a business and a life that you love, want to give it a big hug every single day. And this is Q&A Tuesday, which means there’s questions and answers, Qs and As, today’s comes from Tamara and she writes, “Hi Marie. Whenever I see a little progress in my business, I want to hide under a rock. The moment I’m pushed outside of my comfort zone, I want to run back in. What can I do to continue moving forward without running and hiding? Thanks so much, Tamara.”
Oh my goodness, Tamara, you are describing something that so many of us struggle with, but we just don’t know it. It’s this idea called an upper limit problem, and it was coined by my friend Gay Hendricks, who wrote the fantastic book, The Big Leap. So I first discovered this concept because I got really sick after having a huge spike in my business. Here’s what happened. Second year that we launched B School, things took off. It reached a whole new level, so more financial wealth, more impact than I could have ever imagined.
It was the middle of summer. I find myself in this yoga class so excited, and I’m in my downward dog and all of a sudden, I start to feel really, really sick, like I’m going to puke. Now, you got to get, I’m not the kind of person that gets sick very often, so this seemed weird, so I’m thinking, “Well, maybe it’s just a 24 hour bug.” I get home, I try to take care of myself, and it just kept getting worse. For six days, I had skull-crushing headaches. I couldn’t keep any food down. I was a complete and utter mess.
Finally, I got myself to the doctor because I thought, “Maybe I have salmonella, maybe I have a parasite. Who knows?” Got these tests done, went home, chilled out. My friends came over that night to try and take care of me. I told them about what was happening and they all said, “You know what, Marie? I don’t think you’re sick. I think those tests are going to come back negative. This is an upper limit problem. You have so much great stuff happening right now, you probably just don’t even know how to handle it.”
I thought that was a little wild, but whatever. I listened. It turns out, the next day, the doctor calls me. I’m waiting for my test results, figuring I got something bad. He says, “You know what? Nothing is wrong with you. No salmonella, no parasites, no nothing.” So for me, when I hit an upper limit, I typically get sick. It sounds like for you, you want to run and hide. Some people get themselves in accidents or they pick a fight or they start dropping the ball at work. Why? Well, the theory goes like this. When you hit your upper limit, your upper limit is basically the limit that you allow yourself to feel happy and successful. It’s almost like an internal thermostat, like your success comfort zone. And as Gay Hendricks says, “Each of us has a limited tolerance for feeling good.”
Now, when things start to get amazing and we go beyond that upper limit, many of us start to unconsciously start sabotaging ourselves so we can get back to our comfort zone. Now, this is a really universal problem and thankfully, we can actually do something about it. It has everything to do with turning up the volume on our awareness. So if anything good starts to happen in your life or you have a big breakthrough, you got to keep the lookout on for all the ways that you might self-sabotage and don’t do it. So if you’re like me and you get physically sick, then you’ve got to just chill out and rest and take it easy. If you’re someone who always drops the ball at work, pay extra attention to the details. And if you’re someone like you, Tamara, who really wants to run and hide when things get good, don’t retreat. Just stay and let yourself feel it.
Here’s the thing about upper limits. You’re going to keep facing this throughout your entire life, and the more awareness you bring, the more you reset that thermostat and recalibrate yourself to handle all kinds of good stuff. Now, if you’re someone who’s into mantras, you can use this one from Gay Hendricks. “I expand in success, love and creativity every day as I inspire others to do the same,” or you can use this tweetable. “When it comes to joy and success, your built-in upper limit is completely adjustable.”
That was my A to your Q, Tamara. I really hope it helps. And now I would love to hear from you. How do you bust through your upper limits and do you have any fun stories to share on the topic? As always, the best discussions happen after the episode over at MarieForleo.com, so go there and leave a comment now.
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Yay. I can. That’s something I can do. Work. Whatever happened to Devo? Crack that whip. Break your momma’s back.