Seven years ago, I was working in the marketing department of a big-time theater. It was a job I’d been chasing up and down the eastern seaboard. I was sitting at a desk calling A-List theatergoers and I was absolutely miserable. Was this not the top of my mountain? Apparently not.
It was during this time, my brother sent me an excerpt from Karen Salmansohn’s blog, where she described a kind of ‘happiness ceiling’. In other words, it is the amount of happiness we are each comfortable with accepting in our lives. This was a radical idea for me then. I always thought of myself as a pretty happy person, but I guess that’s it- I was always only pretty happy.
The idea of a happiness ceiling was in the back of my mind since then, gathering dust, because I had no idea how one goes about breaking the ceiling. I mean, awareness is the first step, but without an action plan, you’re kind of just sitting in the water.
Then, in comes Gay Hendricks, PhD and his life-changing book The Big Leap. He calls IT the “Upper Limit Problem”, essentially a belief, reinforced in childhood, that we are not worthy of an extreme level of abundance, love, or success. My chest contracted as I read the first couple of pages. First, being as egocentric as the rest of you, I thought of all the people that had let me down because they didn’t believe they could be happy. How they’d sabotaged our relationships because they were too scared to be extremely happy. Kettle…Black.
I got about halfway through the book before I was able to take full ownership of my own “Upper Limit Problem”. For the most part, I picked these people- boyfriends that always had one foot out the door, and friends that were easily impressed and didn’t think very highly of me in the first place. These were choices I made based on my beliefs- how worthy I was of love, success, and admiration. Revelation!
What’s really great about The Big Leap is that Hendricks doesn’t just tell you, you have a problem and leave you out in the woods. He asks you to investigate in a step-by-step, very detailed way, peeling away each layer of your self-sabotaging onion.
So.. what do you do with all this newfound information? Well, if you’re me, you go big and start doing everything you consider out of your comfort zone. In the last couple months, that’s included having lunch in country clubs, jogging in high-end neighborhoods, eating in fancy restaurants and private clubs, working out in expensive gyms, and taking yoga classes from the best teachers I could find. This list looks expensive, but to be honest, I barely spent a dime. I simply acted like I deserved to be at these places, and the universe rewarded me as such. For instance, I called the gym and told the manager that I had to use their facilities for a week because ‘how was I ever going know if it was the right gym for me if I didn’t get to test drive it’. I used basically the same strategy for every place I went.
After a couple months, I think I’ve made a few cracks in that ceiling. I can more clearly see a life filled with abundance, love, and success.
What self-limiting thoughts are holding you back? If you need help answering that question, I highly recommend The Big Leap. Do it for that part of you that’s just screaming to be awesome.