“The goal in life is…to find and fully use our own gifts”
The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks (p. 19)
I stumbled upon this book on the bargain book at a locally owned independent bookstore—and am glad that I did. Hendricks seems to me like the real deal. Related in some way metaphorically to spelunking, this piece is an invitation to go ULPing.
The premise of this great little book is that each of us has an inner threshold for how much creativity, love, and success we feel comfortable having in our lives—and that when we cross that threshold, we tend to stop ourselves from moving ahead and may even do something that causes us to lose ground (basically, self-sabotage).
Hendricks identifies four hidden barriers that he claims contribute to our Upper Limit Problem (ULP):
- Feeling fundamentally flawed
- Fear of being disloyal to our history and abandoning my family
- Feeling like a burden and believing that more success would add to it
- Fear of outshining others
The book then outlines behaviors that may signal that we’ve bumped up against our Upper Limit Problem. These signs, which are basically ways we can screw things up, include
- Unnecessary worry,
- Damaging criticism and blame,
- Deflecting positive energy, such as compliments and praise,
- Arguing (especially when there’s a race toward the victim role),
- Getting sick or hurt (depending on the circumstances, of course),
- Hiding important feelings, and
- Breaches of integrity (e.g., breaking promises)
Hendricks then suggests a number of daily action steps to keep yourself moving toward what he calls The Zone of Genius. This zone sits on top of a pyramid made up of three other Zones: Incompetence, Competence, and Excellence—all of which come with varying degrees of limitations. (He suggests that even living in our Zone of Excellence can leave us numb.) The book, of course, goes into much greater detail.
His recommended action steps include
- “Keep an attitude of wonder and play” while getting to know your ULP.
- Create a list of the types of behaviors you tend to engage in when you hit your ULP.
- Focus on the real issue(s) at hand.
- Expand your capacity for abundance, love, and success—using both mind and body.
- Re-tell your story about how much you allow yourself to enjoy life, and choose your Zone of Genius as the setting.
In the chapter, “Building a New Home in Your Zone of Genius,” Hendricks poses these questions:
- What is my genius?
- How can I bring it forth and at the same time serve others?
Several questions and sentence endings provided by Hendricks can help us to explore our Zone of Genuis:
- What do I most love to do?
- What work do I do that doesn’t seem like work?
- In my work, what gives me the greatest feelings of abundance and satisfaction as a ratio to the amount of time I spend?
- What is my unique ability?
- I’m at my best when I’m ______________________.
- When I’m at my best, the exact thing I’m doing is_______________________________.
- When I’m doing that, the thing I love most about it is__________________________.
He also offers a “genius commitment,” which he suggests can be used through repetition–orally and in writing–to reshape one’s contract with the universe,
- I commit to living in my Zone of Genius, now and forever.
as well as an “ultimate success mantra”
- I expand in abundance, success, and love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same.
If this piece has piqued your interest, I highly recommend you get the book. Here’s to exploring!