Gay Hendricks a psychologist in his book the The Big Leap (http://www.amazon.com/The-Big-Leap-Conquer-Hidden/dp/0061735361), talks about the Upper Limit Problem. Its about how we sabotage ourselves when we’ve reached greater success than we imagined.
Rajat Gupta the ex McKinsey Chairman is a good case in point. He was revered , respected and had an exemplary career. His rags to riches story was aspirational. He was an intellectual and made his footprint across the globe. But he clearly had an upper limit problem - a limited tolerance of how successful one can get. Somewhere deep down - maybe he had a feeling that he could never be a part of the billionaire club.
The upper limit problem manifests in self sabotaging. The stupid email you sent, or the wrong thing you said just as the deal was being signed, or trusting someone you know deep down may just betray you.
Each of us have an inner thermostat that determines how much success - professionally or personally we allow ourselves! That thermostat setting usually is programmed in early childhood. And, once programmed, our Upper-Limit thermostat setting holds us back from reaching a peak that is ours.
When I hit my Upper Limit, I strangely start to fall sick. So sick that I have to stay away from work and friends, and almost having to reboot. Recently just as everything was looking fabulous in my consulting business , I had the worst attack of laryngitis that took me away from work for three weeks!
So how do you know you're going into self sabotaging mode? And what do you do?
1. Look for patterns in your life. When have you had the most "down"? What were the circumstances? Is there anything in the current situation that is similar?
2. Understand and pin point your greatest fear? Financial Security, Personal Relationships or an Unfulfilled Career? Are you stepping into that zone?
3. And finally, learn to listen and DISCARD the inner voice. What is the inner voice saying right now? You cant do it.You will fail. or You don't deserve it. These are childhood programs we must erase consciously.
So, do you have an upper limit problem?
Kalpana Sinha is a Leadership and Organisation Professional. Her blog has reflections from her work experiences of over 20 years.