How to shine light on the “Upper Limit Problem” – Gay Hendricks | Hendricks Institution

Could you be sabotaging your own success? On today’s The Small Business Show, we’re exploring the “Upper Limit Problem,” a common problem many of us experience in business with allowing ourselves to enjoy our wins without boundaries. Joining us is Gay Hendricks, the founder of the Hendricks Institute, to discuss his new book, “The Big Leap,” which explores this problem and how to overcome it.

Hendricks asserts that the “Upper Limit Problem” is the human tendency to bump up against limits in an attempt to grow. In other words, “The subconscious self-sabotage that happens when we taste something great. Be it a promotion, financial windfall, a great relationship, or any other means of success.” Furthermore, Hendricks notes his work at the institution is geared toward helping people spot when they’re “Upper-Limiting” and how to navigate through it. 

For instance, Hendricks once had a client who worked in sales for seven years, but he never made more than $120,000. But, until Hendricks and the client spoke, the customer could comprehend why that was the case. Furthermore, Hendricks discovered that his client’s father worked in sales and received a similar salary. This discussion supported the subconscious belief that he didn’t want to earn more than his father since doing so would make him feel awful.  

How to spot it

Hendricks believes, “This example emphasizes the first way to spot someone exercising upper limiting.”

  • Worry Thoughts. These are the thoughts that you can’t change. 
  • 99% of worry thoughts have nothing to do with things you can change. Therefore, none of these thoughts are productive thoughts. Hence, we must acknowledge that we all have upper limits daily. 

It’s crucial to think about the power you get back when you shift your attention to valuable thoughts instead. But those, along with future ideas, consist of upper-limiting thoughts. 

“The secret to happiness is knowing there are some things you can control, and some things you cannot control.” - Epictetus

On the other hand, Hendricks claims that most people get attached to upper limits due to the need to be right, which directs the conversation away from solutions. Furthermore, fear tends to trigger old fears streaming from childhood, in which people hold themselves black due to artificial shyness. However, “My solution is to go ahead and let your light shine. The secret to being happy is letting go of what you can’t control,” says Hendricks. He continues, “Life is about constantly being open and receptive to receiving positive energy. It keeps your attention to everything inside, where everything starts: the shine you already have.”