The one book that probably had the biggest impact on me this year was The big leap by Gay Hendricks.
After watching this video or reading this article, you might find yourself being much less afraid about taking a big leap in your life.
Hy, my name is Julian. I‘m a husband, dad and business owner from Berlin, Germany. On this website and corresponding YouTube channel, I‘ll share with you some proven strategies on how to live a rich and meaningful life.
I decided to summarize this book because I‘m super excited about the insights I was able to gain… and I hope I can pass on some of that excitement to you, possibly inspiring you to implement some of the things that I already started to implement…
… so that starting from today, you know what has been holding you back and what you can do to break through some of those self-imposed barriers.
This will not be a complete summary of the book. I rather want to share with you some of my personal highlights.
Let me start by summarizing the content of this book in just a few short sentences. The author himself perfectly summarizes his main point in his conclusion on page 197 of the Kindle edition…
The Upper Limit Problem is our universal human tendency to sabotage ourselves when we have exceeded the artificial upper limit we have placed on ourselves. The Upper Limit Problem is caused by a too-low thermostat setting on our ability to achieve and enjoy our ultimate success.
Gay Hendricks then goes on to write:
The thermostat gets set low early in our lives, at a time when we could not think for ourselves. Later, as we dream about big goals and move up into realms of love, abundance, and creativity that are above our old thermostat setting, we bump up against the artificial lid that was placed on our success through unconscious childhood decisions.
4 barriers that hold us back in life
The author identifies four, mostly unconscious barriers that hold people back in life. Those are:
False belief #1: we are fundamentally flawed in some way
False belief #2: by succeeding we are being disloyal and leaving behind people in our past
False belief #3: We are burden in this world and
False belief #4: We shouldn’t outshine others
Gay Hendricks invites us to reflect on which one of those false beliefs might be holding us back.
I won’t get into details about these four common self-limiting beliefs in this video but I wanted to mention them anyway because….
… just understanding how and why we might have limited ourselves in the past is already a first big step towards moving into our zones of genius.
I’ll explain this fascinating concept of the zone of genius – but before I do that, let me share with you what was new and surprising to me when I first read the Big Leap.
If you are like me – and you’re familiy with a wide array of self-help books, then you might know the book “The Millionaire Mind” by Harv Ecker.
Basically, Harv Ecker states that we all have some kind of internal programming about how much money we allow ourselves to earn… and if we want to earn more money, then we first have to change or overwrite our existing internal programming.
With the instructions of that book, and maybe also the book „The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind“ by Joseph Murphy, I was able to reprogram myself with a different and much higher set-point when it comes to earning more money.
Now, what I find super fascinating and what was quite new to me is that the author Gay Hendricks applies this thermostat concept to ALL life areas.
Up until reading the big leap, it had never occured to me that I might have some kind of threshold set inside of me for each life area, including friends, family, health and personal fulfillment.
I realize that up until quite recently, I was regularly going through a destructive pattern that hindered me to experience even more abundance, success and love in my life.
For example, I‘d have a great day at work, only to come home and have a big argument or fight with my wife.
Or, everything would run smoothly at home until I‘d get into a conflict with an employee, a client or my extended family.
According to the author, these – mostly artifically created conflicts – are triggered by the Upper Limit Problem. It‘s our subconscious mind that is pulling us back into known and safe territory.
It‘s like we have a program running in our brain, telling us how happy we can be. The author writes:
When things are going well, you can crimp the flow of positive energy quickly by starting a conflict. Then, the conflict develops a life of its own, lasting for hours, days, or even years. The net effect: you drop back into your Zone of Competence or your Zone of Excellence. Genius takes a backseat.
Now, knowing this, what can we do to break out of this pattern of self-saboting ourselves?
First is the knowledge of this mechanism. That alone will help us a lot already. Then, the best way to counteract this self-limiting behavior is to use a very specific affirmation – and to use it often.
The affirmation goes like this…
I expand in abundance, success, and love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same.
Gay Hendricks says this one affirmation is…
“… the product of more than three decades of refinement with several thousand people, so I know it works wonders with a broad range of successful people.”
Hendricks, Gay. The Big Leap (S.148). HarperCollins. Kindle-Version.
Do I know if it works? No but I‘ve started saying it to myself a lot – and we’ll see what happens.
Why accessing and permanently staying in our zone of genius is the most important job for us and how we can pull this off!
The concept of the zone of genius
Now, as promised before, another important concept discussed in the book is the “zone of genius”.
According to the author, people either operate in their zone of incompetence, in their zone of competence, in their zone of excellence or in thir zone of genius.
The zones of competence and excellence are zones where we often earn good to great incomes. However, we might not even be close to being fulfilled or using our full potential.
In his book, Gay Hendricks uses the example of a stressed-out executive who does her job well but whose job is causing her a lot of negative stress, getting to a point where she gets physically sick because of it.
The zone of competence and excellence are both traps because it feels quite comfortable there. It can take a lot of courage to break out of those lower boxes of the zones of competence and excellence.
Why is that? Because even though people often find themselves being unhappy at work or with their lifes, they still won’t change anyhting…
The author delivers an explanation for this. On page 118 of The big leap the author writes:
Most people have a carefully crafted, well-justified story about why they can’t take their Big Leap. For one person it was about the family: “I can’t possibly take the time to write [“make a video,” etc.] because my family needs me.” For another person it was about stress: “I tried getting up at 5 a.m. for a while to work on my book, but I couldn’t do that and do a good job with my 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. therapy clients.” For others it was purely about the money: “I can’t do what I really want to do because I might not make as much money doing it.”
Hendricks, Gay. The Big Leap (S.119). HarperCollins. Kindle-Version.
There is a huge fear underneath every complaint: If I took the Big Leap into my Zone of Genius, I might fail. What if I really opened up to my true genius and found that my genius wasn’t good enough?
If – like me – you have a wife and children to provide for, then breaking out of those two lower zones might sound a bit scary… and it is… dealing with the unknown can be scary. It takes courage to dealing with the unknown. What might help here is to change the word “scary” to “excited” in our own minds.
Also, what makes breaking out of those lower boxes even more of a challenge is the safety the zones of competence and excellence provide.
Others around us, especially our family, actually like us operating in our zones of competence and excellence because it’s a safe place.
Knowing this, what is the solution, if we want to find out what our zone of genius is or if we have a good idea about what it might be and then move right into it?
Basically it‘s to schedule the thing we really want to be working on first thing in the morning, making it a top priority.
In his book, Gay Hendricks uses the example of a busy house-wife who has 3 kids with many church and community responsibilites. She also has a burning desire to write mystery novels.
The problem here is that this lady didn’t make working on her next mystery novel a top priority. Instead she’d feel guilty neglecting her other work, for example clearning up the house and taking care of the bills and so on.
The author says it takes a certain ruthlesness to make this one thing we really want to be doing a top priority and then stick to it.
At this point in my life, this is certainly my biggest challenge.
As I wrote the script for this video, it was Monday morning and it felt super counter intuitive to be writing on the script of this video instead of interacting with my team at work.
However, after reading this book, it became clear to me that I absolutely have to do this… and to also face my fear of failing at a bigger scale.
I invite you to list your fears! Just spell them out. In my case my fears are:
- what if what I produce is not interesting enough for others?
- What if no one watches my videos?
- And here is perhaps my biggest fear of all: What if I risk some of that super stable income I created because of this new thing?
The good thing is that I know about my fears and I decided to do what I love anyway. I invite you to do the same… because how else can we find out what we are cabable of doing?
Summary: Main take aways and action steps!
After watching this video or reading the big leap, you might want to do the following things. Those have helped me a lot and maybe those things will help you as well.
- Become aware about the rationalizations and fears that have been holding you back, like “I don’t really have time for this.” or “I’d lose out on earning money if I spend this time on X” or “What if I fail at this?”
- Schedulde time for the thing you most want to do and to do it first thing in the morning. Add this activity to you calendar – and everything else will have to move around that most important activity so that you can really pull this off.
- Last but not least, memorize the following two affirmations and repeat them over and over again. They are: “I expand in abundance, success and love every day, inspiring others around me to do the same.” and “I commit to living in my zone of genius, now and forever!”
I wish you good luck with giving your life a new direction!
If you have a question, feel free to post it below this video or write me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for taking the time to read this review of the Big Leap by Gay Hendricks – and until next time!