How to Overcome an Upper Limit Problem

how to overcome an upper limit problem playing full out rita hyland

Listen to the full podcast episode to learn how to spot your upper limit problem, recognize the self-sabotage when it happens, and get comfortable being uncomfortable so you can move closer to the career and life you say you want.

Recently I was talking to a man who has been working toward a dream of his for years.  Everything was going his way: he landed a job that is one of the most desirable jobs in his field; his family was excited for the change; he was doubling his salary; getting to leave a toxic environment; his house sold effortlessly; and he was getting time off. The stars were aligned.

Then before he was set to make the move — he fell and broke his leg — in the shower. Nothing caused it, but it happened. 

THAT is the power of the subconscious mind.  Without knowing it, he had placed a ceiling on how good things could get in his life. 

And we all do this all of the time without realizing it. 

This is the upper limit problem at play. 

This “upper limit” is a term coined by Gay Hendricks in his book, The Big Leap. In each area of our lives, there is a perceived cap we have placed on how much career success, wealth, happiness, love, and more that we will allow ourselves to have. Once things begin to exceed that limit, our subconscious minds begin to self-sabotage in order to bring us back to a place of familiarity – our comfort zones. 

If you’ve ever wondered why you aren’t moving forward no matter how much work you seem to put in or you advance one month only to fall back the next, it’s not your fault.  

We humans are evolutionary honed to resist our own progress —even when it improves our lives. 

Today I will teach you how to get your brain on board and accept all the greatness in your career and life that you want but may unknowingly be resisting.

Again, there’s no need to blame or shame yourself for this. There’s a part of our brains that has been conditioned for over 2 million years to rebuke change and uncertainty.

Back when we were hunter-gatherers, uncertainty meant death, therefore that part of our brains can sabotage us anytime we seek to grow as a way to protect us from the unknown.

Once you understand this concept, however, and how to overcome it, you will notice how areas where you may feel stuck or plateaued seem to shift without you even working on them directly. 

So, how do you identify your upper limit problem?

Begin by taking a look at your life as it is now. Does your bank account balance seem to never go past a certain amount? Does the amount of time you have for yourself seem to never be enough? Are your relationships never quite as harmonious as you want them to be? 

You know you have an upper limit problem when what you want remains elusive or when you get it, you can’t maintain it.

Once you know how to identify your upper limit, utilize these 5 steps to increase your inner threshold to allow for more of the things you say you want in life:

    1. Recognize & diagnose your upper limit problem. You’ll notice it when something you want always remains at arm’s distance or when you get it you can’t maintain it. For example, you work to lose five pounds and then a month or two later, you gain it back. Many people who lose lots of weight report feeling uncomfortable with their new level of success. It’s because there’s a change from what we’re familiar with. So, the unconscious brain will rebel against what’s new unless conditioned for the higher level. That’s where the next step comes in.
    2. Acknowledge what is already great and rich in your life. Say thank you for the money you do have in your bank account, tell your friends you are grateful for them. Expressing gratitude for what you do have in your life will help you become comfortable with receiving more of it into your life.
    3. Visualize what you desire with feeling as if it’s already occurred. In other words, prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to accept the wins you want. If you are someone who is constantly moving but want to experience days of calm, familiarize yourself with what calmer days would look like. 
    4. Talk directly to your subconscious. Here’s an example: “I openly receive and accept the extraordinary relationship with my spouse, my own health, continuous peace and ease.” Whatever it is, talk to your subconscious letting it know that it’s safe and okay to accept what you desire so that you can experience higher levels of your potential without bumping up against a “false ceiling.” 
    5. Lean into the unfamiliar that comes with change. This task requires some commitment, so I’m making it your challenge for this week.

This week, focus on raising your current upper limit by 5% in one area of your life. Instead of stressing out your subconscious when it’s saying, “Hell no!” take that invisible ceiling that keeps you stagnant in an area you want to thrive more in. Maybe you allow for 5% more self-care, 5% more ease in your day, or 5% more harmony in your relationships. Consider what that additional 5% would look like in your chosen area. 5% change is an amount your subconscious can handle. 

So, what is your one area you’re going to focus on this week?

In this episode I share:

  • Recognizing your Upper Limit problem
  • Using four steps to get your brain on board to allow your next level of happiness and success  
  • Ending self-blame and re-circuiting your mind to receive more instead
  • Communicating with your brain in the way it understands
  • Overcoming a progress plateau in any category of work or life

Resources and related episodes:

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts for more tips, tools, and inspiration to leading the optimal vision of your life, love, and leadership. Remember, a half version of you is not enough. The world needs the fullest version of you at play.

Listen on Apple Podcasts


About Rita Hyland

With over 20 years of experience as an executive and leadership coach, Rita helps leaders — emerging and established — excel in corporate and entrepreneurial environments.

Rita believes if leaders were more clear about how transformation really works and more intentional about creating what they want, their impact, success, and influence in the world would be unstoppable.

Through her coaching programs, private coaching, and masterminds, Rita shows leaders how to win consistently and create the impact and legacy they desire.

Central to Rita’s work is the understanding that you will never outperform your current programming, no matter how strong your willpower.

When you learn to use Rita’s proprietary Neuroleadership Growth Code, a technology which uses the best of neuroscience and transformational psychology to hit the brain’s buttons for change, YOU become both the solution and the strategy.

Her mission is to end talented, hard-working, and self-aware leaders spending another day stuck in self-doubt or confusion and not contributing their brilliant work and talent the world so desperately needs.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *