By: Daniel C. Finley

Pushing Past the Upper Limit Problem

Have you ever wondered why you are not consistently having record setting years? Often times while coaching financial advisors and insurance agents I have notice specific behavioral patterns that kick in soon after individuals have experienced success.

Gay Hendricks, the author of the book The Big Leap: Conquering Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level has coined a term for this that he refers to as The Upper Limit Problem—which he defines as the amount of success that you are willing to allow yourself to have.

Here is how it “works”:

We all have an “inner thermostat” that is set on just how much success we are willing to allow ourselves to have before we do something to self-sabotage and get back to our comfort zone. Unfortunately, most people don’t know their thermostat’s setting much less know a process for inching that setting higher.

How to Reset Your Inner Thermostat and Resolve Your Upper Limit Problem

Hendricks says that in order to get to the “Next Level” you cannot solve the problem that is holding you back but rather resolve the problem by gaining a new level of awareness about it. Let’s take a look at the four main zones that he refers to that explains where people get stuck.

The Zone of Incompetence

One of the most common zones that I’ve seen advisors and agents revert to when they start to experience successes is The Zone of Incompetence which refers to spending time doing activities we are clearly not good at. Take for instance the last time you were having a record month, as the days went on did you find yourself doing activities that your assistant could be doing? If so, it was because you were self-sabotaging your time and activities that could have been contributing to your continued level of success!

The Zone of Competence

Let’s say that you are great at doing what should be your assistant’s activities, you’ve done them for years and you find yourself saying things like, “Well, she’s got plenty to do so it’s just easier if I do this one thing for my client instead.” The challenge with this is that it’s never just one thing.If you are finding yourself doing these tasks, you are in The Zone of Competence. You both could be doing these activities but the truth is that if you are already having a successful month you essentially are now giving yourself permission to stop doing YOUR job and tackling items that your assistant really should be completing.

The Zone of Excellence

Successful advisor and agents find themselves in The Zone of Excellence which is accomplishing activities that they do well and getting compensated! Unfortunately, this can create a comfort zone which long term will hold one back from reaching their peak potential. In addition, you may find yourself falling into a rut doing what you do well but not liking what you are doing. In other words, if you are great at public speaking but are sick of doing seminars you may not be happy and thus need to find things you are good at and like doing.  You will burnout otherwise.

The Zone of Genius

At some point, you need to ask yourself the tough question, “If you couldn’t fail at your business, what is it that you really would love to be doing differently?” The answer to that question will lead you to The Zone of Genius, what you LOVE to do.  As a result, work wouldn’t feel like work! In this zone time doesn’t fly but instead it flows, you are not exhausted, you feel fulfilled. Granted you will still have to “work” to make a great living but you would also be happy and passionate about your professional life.

Taking the Big Leap

Take a moment to determine what zone you are currently in. If you want to live your life’s purpose then you must take a big leap of faith and commit to becoming the person you are meant to be by finding what work you love to do.  Then express to your target market your unique abilities and genuine willingness to help them so that one day they too could be in a position to afford to do what they love to do. If you can take this leap, you will have done what Hendricks meant by conquering your hidden (or unknown) fear taking yourself to the next level of work and life.

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