Have you ever completed a summer of camp, then gotten really sick?
What about a smaller project, some sort of ‘win’, then all of a sudden you can’t motivate yourself to move onto the next hurdle?
Or everything’s going great in your relationship then out of no where you pick a fight with your partner?
It may be a case of reaching your upper limit.
OR in the case of getting sick after camp… it could be combined with a self-care issue, as I discuss here.
But that’s not what we’re talking about today.
Today we’re talking about self sabotage.
I’m sooo guilty of it, and I’m just starting to work though it, so I wanted to share what I’m learning with you.
What is an upper limit?
Gay Hendricks coined the phrase in his book The Big Leap.
Essentially the idea is that each of us has our own “glass ceiling” that we respond to, a set of deeply held beliefs about how much money, success, joy, health, and abundance we’re entitled to. So when we go BEYOND this “glass ceiling” or upper limit, when we experience a boom in business, when we’ve had an exceptional weekend away with a partner, when we get a wild amount of shares on a blog or social media post…. we react by immediately trying to get back into our comfort zone.
We retreat under our glass ceiling, where it’s comfortable, and safe, and slowly suffocating us. (wow, that got dark, eh?)
We get a migraine, we pick a fight with our partner, or we suddenly can’t find the motivation to write another blog or social media post. (*ahem* I may or not have been guilty of all these things at one time or another… lol)
We (unconsciously) do these things because we feel discomfort with success, or happiness, or money, so we sabotage ourselves to find that equilibrium again.
What do we do about it?
Ok, full disclosure, I’m totally still working through this. LOL
The first step is recognizing where your upper limits are.
Think back to times you had a high, then a low (illness, low feelings, sudden procrastination, arguments) immediately afterwards. These are likely your upper limit moments.
Start watching for them, and prepare to push through them.
My recent upper limit moment
After my first rental group was complete (even though it was a hilarious gong show), my subconscious was all “Wait! We did a thing! Doing things is scary! Because doing things means potential for failure, and failure is the worst!!!”
Clearly subconscious Patti has not caught up with conscious Patti, who’s like “failure’s not the worst, I can learn things from it.”
(Ok, I promise to stop referring to myself in the third person… unless I start talking about past Patti and future Patti…)
Annnywaaaay…. I couldn’t motivate myself to do more than the bare minimum for a few days after the rental. I missed my own blog deadline, and even accidentally missed a meeting to plan my provincial camping associations AGM (and that is just NOT something I do!! I can be a bit of a goldfish brain, but I have tools in place like calendars with reminders that help me navigate my schedule. lol)
So, that rattled me and THEN I finally recognized what was going on and was able to push through it.
I was aware that self sabotage is TOTALLY something that I do, when I was first blogging, I posted twice a week until I once got a bunch of shares on a post then didn’t blog again for three months… I didn’t know about upper limits then, I thought I just sucked.
Now that I’ve learned about it, I’m doing my best to overcome that response, I even have this SUPER dorky post-it stuck above my desk, but I’ve never been able to recognize it once I’m in the throes of it (or, to be more accurate… I’ve never been able to recognize it, acknowledge it was happening, and do something about it).
But this time, I did. Yay!
Again, what do we do about it?
Ok, so once you’ve determined your patterns of when it’s happened in the past, prepare for it in the future.
If you’re working non-stop toward something (a product launch, an alumni event, an open house, etc.) expect that you might get sick or feel low afterwards. Do what you can to prepare in advance, drink extra water, get as much sleep as you can, journal, take vitamin C, all the things you typically do for self-care will help you prevent that ‘low’ after a success.
This next piece of advice comes from my friend Heather – I totally picked her brain on this, cause like I said, I’m still figuring it all out.
Once you’ve completed your big event (congratulations, you go getter!!) tackle some fun work that doesn’t feel too heavy, but you’re looking forward to doing. Try to make it something that’s not usually on your to-do list. For me it would be something like organizing files or designing nerdy camp merch. 😉
Plan those things in advance, and leave your to-do list fairly light for the day or two after the event. Go easy on yourself, then jump back in, having broken through your upper limit!!
Then on to conquer the next plateau.
Have you ever experienced something like this?
What do you do to break through your upper limits? Is it something you’ve thought about before? Tell me I’m not alone in this!! LOL
Tell me ALL about it in the comment section below, and keep an eye out for an exciting post next week featuring the wonderful Jen Dundas in “The Path We Take” series. I’m so excited to share Jen’s words with you guys.