A few years ago I read the Big Leap. Liked it. Put it down and did not integrate or think about it again.
Then a year after that, someone was mentioning “Upper Limit Problems” and asked me if I was working in my “Zone of Genius.”
Hmmm… I think I’ll go back. This time I picked it up and I was ready to hear and implement and go deeper with the concepts.
This is a great podcast that outlines many of the principles if you don’t have the book or don’t “have time” to read it.
Below is my interpretation and notes from the book. What do you think? Can you see how this might help your life? If this is intriguing, get the book!
Upper limiting is a form of self sabotage, the ways in which we stay in a certain zone of safety and of limited potential. Once you get in the habit of seeing upper limiting for yourself, you can learn how to break through to even deeper levels of contentment and success in all areas of your life.
There are some of us who think we are fundamentally flawed and that we have done something wrong in life. This can prevent us from having all we want and desire in life. We have a happiness thermostat, a set point and if we don’t know how to move the bar ourselves, we can keep returning to the same level of success that was set at earlier stages in our life.
Maybe, we have a lot of shame that has never been fully addressed and it comes up over and over and prevents us from living in our true potential.
An Upper limit problem is rooted in fear and once we start to awaken and acknowledge this we can actualize to our full potential.
To be successful we must explore our fears and limitations lovingly.
We may ask ourselves “Why me?” or “Why now” and we can also explore “Why not me? Why not now?”
Or my personal favorite, “Who am I?” to be happy, write a book, make a lot of money, have a healthy life/ body, etc.
I know I personally had to explore this question over and over, “Who am I to be successful and happy and connected?”
And what fears and shame stories are right below the surface of that question (and the answers) and whenever I ask, “Who am I to write a book” I always get the inner mentor response, “Who are you not to?” and this quote comes to mind.
Do you repeat familial patterns around money, politics, weight, success? Do you hear the old programming that comes through you?
Think about the old programming vs what we want! What do we really want?
Do you spend time success planning? Dreaming of the future? This is a great place to hear yourself and your stories. Look at the language you use.
Did you experience shame in childhood? How did that manifest and what connections can you make to your own current life?
For example, “I want enough money.” VS “I want plenty of money.” Think about the ENOUGH and the PLENTY and the energy, abundance and messages behind each.
Is there guilt and fear? There are 4 hidden barriers based on fear and false belief. Sometimes we have many of these going on at once and most of them are rooted in invisible stories from our past, our childhood and our familial patterns.
#1. Feeling fundamentally flawed (I mentioned this above already) “I cannot expand to my full genius because something is fundamentally wrong with me. “ This fear also has a bigger and deeper meaning in that if you WERE to fully commit to your zone of genius and potential, you might fail. And if you were flawed and failed, the belief would express that you are not good enough, essentially proving to yourself your biggest fears.
This belief tells you to play small and safe and keep that failing small and safe.
**SIDE NOTE: Something I love about the core belief of the Wisdom Teachings from Shambhala Tibetan Buddhism is that we all have basic goodness and we are perfectly imperfect as we are. So, when we have this #1 hidden barrier and then we learn about these fundamental principles of goodness, sometimes the gap can close and the story line can drop because we start to ground and root in the goodness and we don’t have to be so afraid of failure and fears. We learn how to work with them in our lives rather than push against, resist or shy away from them.
#2 Disloyalty and Abandonment: If I go to my full level I have to leave behind or they will think bad thoughts about me. “I cannot expand to my full success because it would cause me to end up all alone, be disloyal to my roots, and leave behind people from my past.”
#3 Believing More Success Brings a Bigger Burden: “I can’t expand to my highest potential because I’d be an even bigger burden than I am now.” This one I’m still thinking about. I have not been able to really make connections in my own life with this barrier, so it does not resonate with me as much but I’m starting to journal about some familial patterns and see if maybe some of this is rooted here.
#4 The Crime of Outshining: “I must not expand to my full success, because if I did I would outshine ____ and make him/her feel bad.” Oh yes! This one I know well. I have spent a lot of time “worrying” about if my success will make others feel bad. I have had to really work with this one a lot over the past few years and every time I reach a new goal or break through another limit.
How do we know we are upper limiting?
Here are some signs:
Worry, criticism, blame, arguing, deflection, getting sick or getting hurt, hiding feelings, not keeping agreements, not speaking significant truths, integrity breach, all of these keep you out of your zone of genius and out of your alignment.
Shifting into Wholeness.
Discovering and living within your zone of genius requires a level of curiosity around your stories and to restore wholeness, we want to get good at asking questions like:
- “Where do I feel out of integrity with myself?”
- “What is keeping me from feeling complete and whole?”
- “Where in my life am I not telling the full truth?”
- “In my relationship with ___ , what do I need to say or do to feel complete and whole?”
- “What am I afraid of?”
- Zone of Incompetence – Not good at doing what you are doing.
- Zone of Competence – Good at what you are doing but someone else could be doing it.
- Zone of Excellence – You can do this well but it does not represent who you are at your most expanded self. It is not highlighting your gifts and talents to the fullest potential.
- Zone of Genius – What you love and it creates maximum abundance and satisfaction for you and the world!
Zone of Genius
What do I most love to do?
What work do I do that doesn’t seem like work? For example, right now it’s 6am on a Sunday morning and I woke up totally inspired to get this article finished because I love this content, teaching and sharing with you. It’s “work” but does not feel like it.
In my work, what produces the highest ratio or abundance and satisfaction to amount of time spent? What is my unique ability at the essence of who you truly are? What do I most love to do and how can I set up my life to do more of this every day?
Notes on these topics:
I think about this familiar pattern a lot, I did not have it but I have heard plenty of others share these thoughts and I now I notice how damaging they can be for our success and for feeling joy in the body.
Have you ever had something great happen and then someone around you say, “Don’t get too happy, if you do something bad will happen!” Or someone knock on wood when something goes well because they are afraid that will counter with something bad?
So funny how we think just because something good happens that then something bad will happen. It’s a very narrow view. When we pull back, we see there are always ebbs and flows of joys and sorrows and that they don’t necessarily have an effect on one another. In fact, it’s quite narcissistic to think that they do!
Something I love is this perspective on the “listing all the things that could go wrong” mindset. Now, listing out all of the things that can go wrong can be very good for the brain and to help us overcome fears because we identify the “worst case” scenario. At the same time, it’s important to think about all the things that could go right. Now, it becomes not helpful to us when we live in anxiety and repetitive fear about the things that could go wrong. It’s when it becomes obsessive that it can turn unhealthy.
Now, again, this reminds me of Ayurveda which teaches that nothing is inherently good or bad, it’s all in how you relate to it. How is it working for you? Is it a supportive tool to foster growth or is it a dangerous tool that keeps you fearful and small.
He is very clear through the text and his talks that none of this is going to work or be powerful without action. So while it’s nice to do the above brain mapping and think of things that go wrong and right the only way to really know is action. and action must be the guiding force.
Our criticism of other people is often what we are afraid of in yourself. Our shadow or what we are afraid to communicate with someone else on these areas because then it brings it to life in ourself. This is something that is valuable to remember.
Homework and Integration
Daily affirmation. 10 minutes, alone. Active inquiry, do nothing but think/meditate on the zone of genius. Don’t resist this!
“I expand in abundance, creativity, success and love every day as I inspire those around me to do the same.”
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