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Deeper Dive

Preventing Self Sabotage and Upper Limiting

Self-Sabotage, or as Gay Hendricks calls it in his book The Big Leap “Upper Limiting”, is a process that we all go through.

Here are some resources to help you push through your upper limit and prevent self-sabotage :

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks is a quick read and a great resource on how to prevent hitting what Gay refers to as your Upper Limit. This book will tell you Gay’s story and then walk you through the exercises he used to help stop his self-sabotage.

Be sure to check out Gay’s other books as well. I particularly like Five Wishes: How Answering One Simple Question Can Make Your Dreams Come True



3 Ways to Defend Yourself from Imposter Syndrome and Upper Limit Problems by Courtney Johnston


How To Solve The Upper Limit Problem by Sylvester Chisom


A tapping routine to move through Upper Limit Problems by Nicola Humber


The hurts. The offenses. The actions that injure. Even thoughtless abuse from sources beyond our control is stored inside us chemically and spiritually. It becomes a toxic hindrance to moving forward in healing.

The parts of our being are inextricably combined; soul to body to mind to emotions. One cannot be addressed without the others also being affected. Which is why it is so important to remember to care for every slice of ourselves so that every slice is able to be healthy.

To heal, we strip away the spiritual toxin of resentment which means we have to go to the root of the problem. We must “unpack” all the baggage we’ve acquired. There are boxes, suitcases, and even little carry-ons of baggage to be thoughtfully opened and sorted. Which things should be kept for practical use, what should be let go of, what should be destroyed, and what should be filed away under, “Things I Learned”.

Only unpack what you are ready to take care of. Once you begin you can take your time in the process, but once you start it’s started! Prepare for experiences that only the healing of unpacking can bring to you. Revelations through healing that will change you forever.

What bags are lurking in the corners of your soul that need to be unpacked? Are some of them hurts inflicted by others? Are some labeled things like “guilt” and “shame” that need a little extra attention? Are you ready to start the practice of deliberately sorting through all these bags to heal and live with more peace?

I hope that you’ll be patient with yourself and allow yourself grace and time as you work through. I hope that you’ll offer forgiveness and compassion to those that added to your baggage.  I hope that you’ll find the quiet and rest that comes with unpacking the baggage.


When was the last time you honestly rested?  Where you were truly not involved in anything else. No text conversation. No Netflix. No YouTube. We so frequently steal our own rest time away from ourselves with busy work because we don’t feel we really deserve the rest. But you do.

Just. Rest.

Your brain rests when there is no input creating stimulus. Your soul rejuvenates when you take time for quiet. It doesn’t have to be for long. A bath, a walk, a sunset in solitude, or a sit in the park listening to the wind in the trees. Even a book and a cup of tea go a long way to settling your soul and keeping your peace.

All day long you pile feelings and thoughts into your heart and soul. You give advice, you deal with uncomfortable situations, you pour yourself into passions, you ache for other’s hurts, and you feel a waterfall of emotions in just a single day. Because our souls are sponges we can hold a shocking amount, but sooner or later we’re saturated and we need to wring out our soaked soul.

Taking a few moments every day to squeeze away some of the stress gives you that little extra slice of patience on the freeway and that last boost of energy you need to finish the day. Who knows? You might love it and it could even lead to a meditation practice? Worse things could happen.

So find a place to take even just 3 minutes of peace, of rest, of quiet. Ask the people in your life to help you find that place. Find a spot at lunch to make quiet happen. Ask you partner how you can create space for quiet for each other. It doesn’t have to be the same time or place or even for the same amount of time every day. Look for the little moments you can take for yourself.

Ask yourself how you feel after quiet time and be honest…do you want more of it? I bet you probably do. Go for it.

Future Self’s Problem

Have you worried so hard about something only to arrive in the crux of the moment to find out information that completely alleviated the entire situation? Yeah. We’ve all been there. There’s relief that the worst didn’t happen, but there’s also emotional I need to recover from. And we all know how stress is super good for your body, right? (This is an intensely sarcastic statement of course)

There’s a cheat to letting go of worry. Next time you are stressing over a future event ask yourself, “Is this my future self’s problem?” Your future self has information that your current self doesn’t have. You’re putting in the work to be a healthy and whole human so trust your future self to handle the issue and continue to focus on your now.

For example, It’s Sunday and you get a text from work saying that tomorrow you have to take care of a huge issue and all the possibly complications are in place just for extra fun. You sit and stew. You think about all the possible scenarios to fix the problems. You start anticipating all the reactions from the people involved and what you’re going to say to them. On Monday morning you roll up to your office with that ball of stress in your stomach ready to take a beating. And then it happens, “Oh, well, it turns out it was actually not what we thought and everything is alright.” The deflation is real. Your heart and stomach both feel relieved but confused and definitely like they went through the washing machine.

You literally just had two Mondays because your Sunday was eclipsed by the Mondayness you were anticipating.

If you got that text and instead said to yourself, “Is there anything I can do about this right now?” No? Now, the trick: “Will future me will be more informed to handle this appropriately tomorrow? Yes. Then right now I’m going to enjoy this moment, these people, this beer, this view and be refreshed for the onslaught tomorrow.”

Now you get Sunday AND Monday. You have not lost a day in your life to unnecessary stress. I mean, I’d also like to interject here and say that your work is super rude for texting you on Sunday. Hello, boundaries.

This trick applies to a stress of any size. Worried about that cocktail hour where you’ll probably run into your ex? Future self’s problem because a thousand things could happen to change the situation before you get there. Stressing about how you’re going to finish all these projects by that date? Get organized, trust your systems, and do what you are capable of. You never know what might be taken care of for you by the time you get there.

Using this trick gives you permission to arrive back in the moment. It can be so challenging to sift through what today is giving us and what tomorrow is asking for because almost all actions in life require some kind of preparation. Asking yourself if you can let this be future self’s problem is an easy way to sort out what needs your attention right now and what you can leave for 10 minutes, days, months, or years from now.

Intentional Conversation

We talk a lot. We text a lot. We send messages and comments. We give and take a lot of words. We’re communicating, but what are we saying?

I legitimately think that if we pause (actually pause) for a moment and listened to what our soul wants and needs we’d hear that we need more than the fluffy conversations. In all that communicating are there conversations that lift you up and challenge you, feed you, and push toward growth?

Finding people or even just someone to share thoughts beyond pleasantries and delve into the meat of life. Hold each other accountable to goals and commitments. Someone to explore and encourage the things that are nestled in your heart with you. These kinds of relationships can be hard to find! But start looking if you don’t have someone on deck. Some on you can trust 1000%, someone who can offer an even platform free of judgement on which to lay your journey.

It’s not always an easy relationship to be in, but I promise it’s beneficial. Having a team mate to talk to candidly without judgment and with honesty affords space for you to start the process of gaining clarity on yourself, your life, your passions, your goals, and ultimately what your soul really needs to be whole and healthy.

The relationship may or may not be reciprocal. Some times what an amazing human like this can offer to you, you may not be able to offer back. That’s ok. As long as everyone is clear about the purpose and expectation.

My favorite part about this relationship in my own life is looking back on the ground we’ve traveled together. Looking at how these intentional conversations have paid off and I’ve grown in the intentional direction of the things my soul truly loves. It’s a gift and a blessing. I hope everyone gets to experience this! Who in your world can offer this kind of intentional conversation to you?


Have you guys read that article written by contemplatively creative Mauricio Estrella? You know, the one on Medium, “How A Password Changed My Life”.  The summary is that he changed his password to the thing he wanted to “fix” most. And the crazy thing? IT TOTALLY WORKED.

So, what does that mean for you? For me? Does it mean we need to change our passwords so we can be successful in the areas we truly want? I mean, sure, absolutely! But what about just applying the concept itself?

This tactic is a version of daily affirmations. Have you seen Jessica’s Affirmations? This girl is not only the cutest but also a sweet little reminder of how pure and joyful reveling in the awesomeness of our lives can be.

The words we say to ourselves are powerful. More powerful than any other force we encounter. The lies inside our heads about who we are, what we are, and what we can be are dark and strong. The worst of these lies? “There’s no point trying. It’s too hard.”

The beauty of Mauricio and his passwords is that he launched a full-scale attack on his psyche by offering himself verbal affirmations to get to the point of wanting to want to.  Wanting to want something is a tiny first step. A crucial first step.

How can you do this, too? Post-its, marker on the mirror, e-mails to yourself, and notes on your phone’s home screen are GREAT ways to give yourself powerful affirmations all day. But I think what’s really powerful is the act of writing or typing the words because that means you putting the thought into existence.

Remember that old school punishment of writing lines? “I will not tell lies.” Written over and over and over again to teach a student a lesson. They were on to something. Am I suggesting that you write, “Lose 10 pounds.” 100 times a day? I mean, maybe? What would work for you?

Where can you offer yourself positive reinforcement of the things that are healing and good for your heart? What do you need to say to yourself right now to want to want to? And how can you start saying it to yourself tomorrow?

Love Your Neighbor

If you’ve ever been told, “Love your neighbor as yourself” as part of a demonstration about being less

selfish raise your hands. *thousands of hands go up* Yep. That’s what I thought. So before you tune out

because your emotional baggage is screaming at you to run away from this church lecture HANG

TIGHT. I have a new way to look at this that will help unpack those bags.


What’s the whole phrase? “Love your neighbor as yourself.” So, love other people the way that you love

you. Break it down further; treat people the way you treat yourself. When you look at that realistically it

can get weird real quick because I for one am not super nice to myself all the time.


This means that I would have told my friend that I think she’s not worth that paycheck. And I would have

told my dearest love that his hard work isn’t going to actually make a difference in the world. I would

also have NOT forgiven my friend for being late, and I would hold all my friends to impossibly high

standards of perfection. The concept is not, “Love your neighbor and loath yourself.” Nor is it, “Loath

your neighbor and love yourself,” because without the balance of love breeding love you won’t have

love to give to the people around you.


UH YEAH, GUYS. There are two crucial concepts in this deceptively simple sentence: selflessness coupled

with self-care. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That means in order to be ABLE to love other people you

have to love you. I’ll wait while you think on that a sec.


It’s a loop. A cycle. A full circle of behaviors. If you want to be forgiven first you must forgive yourself so

you can then forgive others so that you can then be forgiven. If you want to be loved first you must love

yourself so that you can then love others that you can then be loved. I mean really, take that sentence

and insert any of those lovely feels we as humans crave and aspire to.


Unpack that bag of resentment, failure, shame, and hopelessness that so many have associated with

“Love your neighbor as yourself” because I am giving you permission to recycle it into a life-giving

mantra. As you go through your day notice your response to people: defensiveness, anger, resentment,

gratitude, love. Then find where in yourself those feelings and sensations trigger from. NOW you have a

fighting chance at identifying where you get to offer yourself love because without loving yourself you

can’t love your neighbor.


Love on your hurts, your wounds, your dark places and cultivate joy by living a life full of love for

everyone; yourself included.


The cultural mantra “be happy” is everywhere. “What makes you happy? Do what makes you happy!”

But I’d love to make a slight change to this. I would like to exchange word “happy” for “joy”.


Happy is that warm, fuzzy, bubble gum feeling that we get from really excellent brownies, puppies,

hitting a great sale, and watching our team win. Happy comes and goes. Happy can be burst like a

bubble. But joy. JOY! Joy is a deep and unshakable undercurrent that survives the ups and downs, and

props you up through the tragedies.


Let’s revisit the previous sentences but insert “joy”: “What brings you joy? Do what feeds your joy.”


MUCH BETTER. Now we’re cultivating a lasting foundation that will sustain us through hard times.

Investing in your joy absolutely involves the little happy things, but it also means investing in the things

that make you an emotionally healthy person. Things like forgiveness, grace, compassion, patience,

humor,and unconditional love. See how all of life’s good things come back to the same concepts? It’s

like it’s all connected.


All those things that we work on in ourselves are the things that combat the dark side of being human.

Hate, selfishness, greed, anger – you know the list. Because the opposite of happy is sad, but the

opposite of joy is misery. Which I think we can all agree is also a more lasting emotion than simple

sadness. It’s SO IMPORTANT to cultivate our joy! It’s misery’s arch nemesis!


Underneath it all how is your joy? Are you miserable? It’s ok if you are. If you are fighting misery you are

1) not alone 2) still capable of finding and feeding your joy in order to restore your reserves. And every

time you feed your joy you get rewarded with a delightful by-product called hope. Hope that every time

you cultivate the things that bring you joy you are getting rid of misery.


So give yourself permission to be joyful! Find your joy and use the crap out of it! Ask for joy every

morning, every night, every time you feel misery creeping in. You’ll be amazing by what you’re answered



Someone once described unforgiven hurts in my heart as festering sores oozing terrible things into the

rest of me. This may have been a little intense for a 9-year-old, but it definitely stuck with me.


I like thinking about emotional/mental wounds as actual physical hurts. They range in severity just like

physical hurts; the paper cut of a sharp word when you needed a soft one to the knife wound of

betrayal. I also like to think of them healing in the same way. My paper cut is going to feel better by the

end of the day, but that knife wound could take months to heal. Added layer of analogy: that knife

wound will not heal all by itself like the paper cut. It requires attention and care in order to fully heal

with as little scarring as possible.


Our emotional scars are part of the mosaic of who we are. But ask yourself how many of those hurts are

still open wounds? Are there still sores open and infected that haven’t been giving the care they require

to scab and heal?


Forgiveness is a crucial step to healing those wounds. Because the secondary infection that comes from

the initial hurt is called resentment, and it’s the hardest part of the injury to take care of. Resentment,

just like infection, spreads and mars other parts of you that were previously unharmed. It’s sneaky,

silent, and deadly, just like an infection in your body taking hold seemingly overnight from a cut you

thought was no big deal and decided to ignore.


Forgive the offender that created the wound (a person, an event, even yourself) because forgiveness is

the antibiotic that heals an infected wound and prevents the festering of a fresh cut. The process of

forgiving is a whole book and cannot be squished into this article, but I encourage you to start the

journey of learning about what forgiveness looks and feels like. No one has ever regretted forgiving.

Give Yourself Permission

Permission to do the things you’ve always wanted to do! Permission to get that promotion. Permission

to lose 10 pounds. Permission to have fun with your kids even when other things needs to get done.

Permission to become the best version of you.


This means you may also need to give yourself permission to accept these permissions.


Hm. That might be the hardest one of all. How can you give yourself permission if you don’t believe that

you deserve it? Ok, regroup. Start with giving yourself permission to believe that you deserve peace, joy,

and a life with less suffering.


We live in a society where permission is a big thing. We grow up with it at school and at home; in the

workplace, we’re frequently asking permission. It’s just how we roll as humans. So, of course, it’s easy for

the need to get permission to extend into our subconscious.


Repeat after me: “Hello, self, I give us permission to be our own boss and to accept permission from us

to be as great as we can be.” (Feel free to not have multiple personality disorder, but just read this as a

cheeky self-motivation speech.)


Where are you withholding permission from yourself to grow to achieve to experience? Do you need to

start at the beginning and give yourself to accept permission? Are you holding back because you don’t

think you deserve it? These are the questions that only you get to answer, and the answers are the

permissions that you alone get to give.