Your Upper Limit Problem

Have you ever…

had that nagging feeling like you wanted something so bad and then when you got it, you felt like you didn’t deserve it? Ever applied for a job that was out of your comfort zone and “a long shot” but then you got it and felt like you weren’t good enough? Ever not applied for a job because you felt like you weren’t qualified enough? Ever started worrying about when the next shoe was going to drop because things in life were “going too well”? Ever started a fight with your spouse because things were “too good to be true”? 

All of these are self-sabotaging examples that have to do with your Upper Limit Problem

Your Upper Limit is the glass ceiling belief that you put on yourself, your thermostat. It’s the level of success in your relationship, your job, your personal life, or where you’ll be to be successful. The problem comes in when you get to that point or just above that point, you sabotage yourself because you don’t know what to do with that success or you have a certain negative belief around actually achieving it. 

Did you know that according to Harvard Business Review, statistically women will not apply for a job unless they have 100% of the job criteria met while men will apply if they have only 60% of the job criteria met? Most of that job criteria is a “it’d be nice to have but isn’t necessary” anyway.

Ladies! What does this say about our sense of self-worth? You don’t know if you don’t try, right? But there’s that Upper Limit Problem. We don’t believe that we will get the job, so we hold ourselves back from even trying in the first place because what if you do accidentally get it and then everyone finds out you’re a fraud. Worst case scenarioing things never got anyone anywhere.

Stop living in fear. Robert Heller said that fear is the exact same emotion as exhilaration but without the breath. Think about an athlete, speaker, celebrity, or whomever has a lot of nerves but also a responsibility to uphold. What do they do just before they go perform? They take a big breath and they change the energy of fear into the energy of exhilaration by blowing that air out as if they’re blowing out candles on a birthday cake. Then they move. They take action.

You do new things every day, drive a new route because of a road construction detour, speak to new patients or clients, learn new things, complete new tasks, dive head first into learning 4th grade common core math just to help your child with their homework, figure out how to get spaghetti sauce out of your brand new white rug and didn’t disown your child for spilling it in the first place. (All of which are examples I’ve been through in the last 2 months so believe me when I say, when you put your mind to it- you can do hard, new things!) You can take that breath, blow it out, change the energy and take action. So why the self-sabotage when we finally get what we’ve asked for or hold ourselves back because of our own limiting beliefs? 

When I work with couples, at least one session is dedicated to finances. Not only because it’s one of the top reasons for divorce but because the fights about money are never just about money. They are so much deeper than that. The upper limit problem of one or both parties that make up that couple keep them thinking small. That limited belief system then spills over into the relationship and one picks a fight with the other over “spending too much” when it’s really the limiting belief of angered party that’s the problem- not the “money being blown by buying the good toilet paper instead of the generic.”

Another example is of a good friend of mine. She is married to the love of her life, has 4 beautiful children who are all healthy. They own a home on quite a bit of land with an enormous backyard and have little to no debt. They travel and genuinely live “a great life” (her exact words). Yet, she has debilitating anxiety attacks almost nightly because she believes that something is going to happen and they’ll lose it all or one of them will die. Her upper limit problem- she doesn’t believe she is good enough to have this great of a life so something has to happen to make it “normal”. 

How do you spot your Upper Limit problem? If you have: anxiety, frequent bouts of criticizing or blaming your partner, deflecting when someone points out your limiting belief system, picking fights with your partner, friends or family, frequent sickness or injuries, frequently comparing your life with others, finding fault in everyone else but yourself/having a “victim” mentality, you my friend, are suffering from an upper limit problem. 

How do you fix it? Well naturally, I’m going to tell you coaching! Additionally though, letting go of the guilt and the blame. Get to the root of the upper limit problem- do you have more than one? Commit to identifying them and working through them consistently. Work to not just get through it but completely dissolve the problem. Close the gap by recognizing when you’re letting your upper limit problem get in the way of your success and recover from it by acknowledging it and then changing the narrative in your head- “The lie I’m telling myself is that I have not done enough to deserve my success. My TRUTH is that I have worked very hard for the accolades that I’ve earned and I am successful because of that dedication and determination. I excel in all I do!” Lastly, make a conscious decision to change your thought process from a lack mindset to thinking abundantly, with gratitude, love and success! What you focus on grows! 

If you resonated with this, I’d love to hear from you. If you want to read more about it, Gay Hendricks talks all about it in his book The Big Leap. If you need help with this, I’d love to help you through it! I used to have debilitating anxiety as well and now I have none because I took responsibility for my own mindset, my own upper limit problems and my own dissolving of those limits. Upper limit problems aren’t forever. They’re only there as long as you let them take up space. 

XOXO, 

Kameran

P.S.- This week’s episode, just dropped this morning, talks more in depth about the Upper Limit Problem and how to overcome it. It’s fire, if I do say so myself.

Are You As Empathetic As You Think You Are?

Empathy. 

/ˈempəTHē/
the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings. 

This morning I was in a yoga class and had chatted quite a bit with the lady on the mat next to me before class began. About a quarter of the way through class, she got up and left with only her phone. About 20 minutes went by and she came back sobbing but trying to pull it together. She lasted about 3 minutes before she got up, gathered her things and left. During the 3 minutes she was laying there, I wanted to reach out. I wanted to touch her hand or somehow let her know that I was there because she was clearly not ok but you know…I’ve literally only known her for about 28 minutes at this point and then you’ve got social distancing…so many thoughts. After she left, I spent the rest of the class praying for her comfort, her safety, the safety of her children and husband, for her to have peace with whatever wrecked her so fiercely. What I had for her was a deep amount of sympathy. I acknowledge that she was struggling and I wanted to comfort her. But without knowing her circumstances and what was going on, I could not have empathy for her. I could not understand what she was going through and relate because I don’t know if I’ve ever gone through a similar experience. See the difference? Empathy and Sympathy both come from Greek roots and are often confused. However, empathy is much more than sympathy. 

Looking at a relationship standpoint, think back to the last argument you got into with your significant other. Did you hear to respond or hear to really listen and understand? If you heard to understand, most likely you showed empathy and the argument that was dissolved quickly. If you heard to respond, the argument probably escalated in a hurry. Don’t worry, you’re human. We tend to think we’re doing a lot better than we really are and more often than not, we hear to respond instead of listening to understand. Empathy. You’ve probably been in a situation where someone heard you and responded quickly without understanding your perspective or your need in that situation. You may have felt judged and you may have felt truly unheard. You can understand how you just made your partner feel. Now you can do better. 

Think about your children, if you have them. Does their frustration and fit throwing come from them “being bad” or do they need you to listen to them and understand better? I can’t count the number of times in the last week that my son tried to tell me something and then had to repeat it because I was only hearing him half way. No wonder he was frustrated with me. I can empathize with him on this. I have been in these situations before and it felt irritating, rage inducing and unfair. I will do better. 

Think about your community. Did you visit the friend down the street who just had a baby to hold the baby, maybe bring a gift and split after 20 minutes into the visit because “she needs to rest” but really it was so you could run to the store and keep up with your schedule? OR did you offer to come sit with the baby for a couple hours, do a couple loads of laundry, her dishes and bring a meal she could freeze for next week? Did you check on her after a few weeks to make sure that she isn’t suffering from PPD? Gents, did you help that new dad knock out some of his honey-do list or bother to ask him what he really needs right now? His world has been flipped upside down too but society has told him that if he says anything, he’s weak and unsupportive of his wife. How did you help the man who lost his business because of Covid? How did you help the family whose house burned down or their kid was just diagnosed with a terrible illness? Have you reached out to the single mom or the couple who are new to the neighborhood? Empathy. You’ve been there. You can relate to at least one of these circumstances, if not all. What did YOU need in those moments? How can you do better?

Now think about our country. Empathy would go a long way here. If you are white, like me, you can’t share in the emotions or experiences that your BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) friends have experienced but you absolutely can sit down and ask them to tell you about it. Listen to understand, not to respond. You can have sympathy here but that’s not going to change things. Empathy and educating future generations on why people have different levels of melanin in their skin, why it’s not ok to judge others, why nobody is better than anybody else, why it’s not ok to dehumanize anyone, ever. These are the things that are going to make a lasting change. Additionally, look at your circle. Is it filled with only (or more than 80% with) people who look, think, vote, and were raised like you? If that’s the case, you’re part of the problem. Expand your circle. If you’re fearful of this, ask yourself why.  Ask yourself why you believe what you do about people? Why do you have the unconscious biases that you do? Is it because of media? Because of what your grandma told you when you were 5 years old? Because you met one person that had less than stellar behavior? Are your beliefs fair to judge an entire population on? Are your beliefs still serving you? Your community? There’s incredible greatness in differences. Greatness that you are only open to seeing and living if you step out of your norm to develop those relationships. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much empathy you develop as a result of those relationships. If nothing else, by putting some or all of these practices into play, maybe we’ll be able to say, “this is how I’m doing better.” Hopefully, this will allow our children to say “we live in a better world than my parents grew up in.” Instead of “we’re still fighting the same battles my ancestors did.”

XOXO, 

Kameran

P.S.- If you’re like me and you want to do better, you’ll definitely want to check out this week’s podcast dropping Thursday morning. I interview 3 friends of mine who are all black, all from different upbringings and all phenomenal individuals making a HUGE impact in this world in different ways. We have a very real and raw conversation about the world, what we need for change and how people can do better. Make sure you tune in by searching Recognizing Potential on Spotify or Apple podcast platforms.

How Clear Is Your Communication?

Every person has a fight style and a communication style. 

But what happens when the two combine? When you’re upset with your partner, how do you communicate? 

In many of the couples I work with, when an argument ensues, one of the parties will brush their wants and needs under the rug. Your partner comes in and asks “What’s wrong?” You answer with a harsh “nothing.” Your words (7% of your communication) say nothing. But your tone and body language (93% of your communication) say “something BIG”. 

Understand a few things here. 
1. Your partner is not you, they do not think, feel, communicate or operate the way you do.
2. Your partner is not a mind reader. Without clear, concise communication, your partner will not understand what you want them to. 
3. Your feelings, thoughts, irritations, triggers, etc are your responsibility. Communication is imperative to living a happy, fulfilled life with your partner. 

So let’s go back to our scenario. If you are upset with your partner, it’s your responsibility to let them know why you’re upset. If you are communicating “nothing” then their reaction is going to reflect that nothing is wrong and this is something you are working through on your own. The problem becomes deeper and a solution is never found. Additionally, this is a toxic behavior that is started when we begin dating as teenagers and we take this behavior with us through each relationship until we eventually recognize it for what it is and let it go for a more mature response. On a deeper level, we are hoping that our partner recognizes their own wrongdoing without us having to communicate it but that only leads to more disappointment when that hope is lost. 

So what’s the most effective way to communicate? 

Most wrongdoings between partners are simply because of mindlessness, not malice. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt (antidote) instead of assuming the worst (poison). 

Communicate a clear message that covers both the surface and the deeper levels. “I am upset because you said you would…. and you didn’t. I feel that you didn’t keep your word and I am disappointed because that lessened the character I believe you to have and left me feeling abandoned.” 

Sounds like a bunch of psychobabble BS, right? Ok follow me here. A simple 2-3 sentence message like this is powerful to the nth degree. Here’s why. 

  • I statements (I am..I feel…) take responsibility for your feelings and avoid blame, shame or guilt of the other party. It keeps the gate of communication open instead of saying “You didn’t keep your word” which then triggers defensiveness. 
  • You’re not sweeping your feelings under the rug. You’re validating yourself, your feelings and your equal partnership in this relationship. 
  • You’re hitting the underlying problem (abandonment and lessened character) which could be a repeated problem in your relationship. 
  • Simply stating facts avoids whining (defensiveness) or using contempt (communicating that you’re superior to your partner).
  • Saying “I’m upset that you said you would (a behavior), lessened the character I believe you to have (behavior), you’re complaining about the behavior, not criticizing the overall character of your partner. This avoids later problems and is more easily accepted than criticism. 
  • By shortening the message, it’s easier for your partner to hear, understand and stay focused than having a long, drawn out explanation. This hits high points, details and communicates needs. Everyone wins. 
  • A statement like this is less likely to escalate the conversation which avoids more hurt and promotes a healing, solution oriented environment instead. 

This message leaves an opening for your partner to now reply with a calmer, more productive feedback of “I’m sorry for leaving you abandoned and not keeping my word. In the future, I will…” 

I understand that toxic patterns of behavior are difficult to break but in an ideal relationship, communication and arguments are handled calmly, rationally and a lot less heated. If you’re trying to uplevel your relationship, this is the framework you’re ultimately working toward. It eliminates the 4 deadly horsemen of the apocalypse as well as gas-lighting which are all high indicators of divorce. 

I can tell you from experience in changing this exact behavior in myself, the latter, more effective communication technique produces much more satisfying results in the short and the long run.

I hope this helps your relationships and helps everyone move forward in a healthier manner.