The Big Leap

Summary Written by Carol-Ann Hamilton

The Big Idea

The Upper Limit Problem

"“There’s only one way to get through the fog of fear, and that’s to transform it into the clarity of exhilaration.”"- The Big Leap, page 17

Want to know how we’re held back? Each of us possesses an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed this ceiling, we typically follow big leaps forward with equally big mess-ups.

Why does this happen? According to Hendricks, the false foundation beneath the Upper Limit Problem is a set of four hidden barriers based on fear. Though they appear true, they’re not real. Unconsciously believing them holds us back:

  1. Feeling Fundamentally Flawed: I cannot expand to my full creative genius because something is fundamentally wrong with me.
  2. Disloyalty and Abandonment: I cannot expand to my full success because I’d end up all alone, be disloyal to my roots, and leave behind people from my past.
  3. Believing That More Success Brings a Bigger Burden: I cannot expand to my highest potential because I’d be an even bigger burden than I am now.
  4. The Crime of Outshining: I must not expand to my full success because if I did it would outshine ___ and make him or her look bad.

Insight #1

Dismantling the Problem’s Foundation

"“If you are keenly interested in taking your Big Leap, you will want to examine everything that brings you pain and suffering as a potential Upper Limit Problem.”"- The Big Leap, page 90

When we review these barriers in the light of day, they may seem rather kooky. Yet, if we’re not vigilant to spot them, they’ll stop us dead in our tracks. In turn, once we notice how our particular version of the Upper Limit Problem operates, we gain a navigational tool for life.

So, what are the common ways we crimp our flow of positive energy? They include: worry, criticism and blame, deflection, squabbling, getting sick or hurt, hiding significant feelings or not speaking important truths to relevant people plus not keeping agreements.

Number one is worry. Let’s examine it more closely. When things are going well, we start worrying about things going wrong, justifying further similar thoughts. Soon we’re busily devolving toward imminent doom. To countermand this tendency, here are some action steps we can take right away:

  • I notice myself worrying about something.
  • I let go, shifting my focus away from the worry thoughts.
  • I wonder what positive new thing is trying to come into being.
  • I tune into my body for an associated feeling (not a thought or idea).

I let myself feel it deeply for as long as I can (to increase tolerance for feeling good).

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Insight #2

Locating Your Zone of Genius

"“The goal in life is not to attain some imaginary ideal; it is to find and fully use our own gifts.”"- The Big Leap, page 19

How about we now bump up things substantially? As Hendricks asserts, everything so far has been about hops. Our life’s Big Leap is discovering our Zone of Genius:

  1. The Zone of Incompetence: All the activities we’re not good at. Delegate them to someone else or find a creative way to avoid doing them.
  2. The Zone of Competence: Activities you can do but others can just as well. Successful people expend far too much time and energy here.
  3. The Zone of Excellence: Activities you do extremely well. Your family, friends and organization are most comfortable with you here. The problem is, a sacred part of you will wither and die if you remain within this seductive and dangerous trap.
  4. The Zone of Genius: Activities you’re uniquely suited to do, that draw upon your special gifts and strengths. Liberating and expressing your natural genius is your ultimate path to success and life satisfaction.

Here are some reflections to ignite you in committing to your Genius:

  • What do I most love to do? (Something you can do for long stretches without getting bored.)
  • What work do I do that doesn’t seem like work?
  • What activities produce the highest ratio of abundance/satisfaction to time spent?

By age forty, many tune into the Call to Genius through loud, repeated alarms in the form of depression, illness and relationship conflict. Take Bill – a brilliant 43-year-old who longed to pursue a new project but whose company couldn’t “afford” to lose him for seven months. In his first session, he told Gay he would “try” to at least spend an hour a day on his idea, offering to schedule a second when “things slowed down a little”.

Admittedly, in a world fraught with hurtful adversity, choosing to feel good all the time is a genuinely radical act. Are you willing? I am. Let’s none of us become Bill, who died of a massive heart attack a few weeks after his first appointment.

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Gay Hendricks

Gay Hendricks has served for more than thirty years as one of the major contributors to the fields of relationship transformation and body-mind therapies. Throughout his career, Dr. Hendricks has coached more than eight hundred executives, including the top management at firms such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, and KLM. Along with his wife, Dr. Kathlyn Hendricks, he has coauthored many books including Conscious Loving, The Corporate Mystic, and his latest, the New York Times bestseller Five Wishes, which has been translated into seventeen languages. Dr. Hendricks received his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Stanford University. After a twenty-one-year career as a professor at the University of Colorado, he founded the Hendricks Institute, which offers seminars in North America, Asia, and Europe. He is also a founder of The Spiritual Cinema Circle. In recent years his passion has been writing a new series of mystery novels featuring the Tibetan Buddhist private detective, Tenzing Norbu. Ten’s first adventure was The First Rule Of Ten, followed by The Second Rule Of Ten and more to come.

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