What is Upper Limiting and How May it be Costing You Millions?

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There’s a funny rule in Improv Comedy.

Each participant has to say, “Yes, and..”, this rule-of-thumb means no matter what participants in the improvisation say, the others have to go with it.

For example, If you started class you may say: “I am a weird dolphin.”

Then, your partner would have to say, Yes, and look at those mighty fins you have!”

Many entrepreneurs follow this same rule as they migrate through the uncharted territories of creating their own empire.

Your first entrepreneurial thought may have sounded like, “I’m a speaker!”

Then, came the yes ands:


  • “Yes, and, I’d love to take that CEO position.”
  • “Yes, and, I’d love to consult with your firm in Europe.”
  • “Yes, and I will absolutely be home for dinner.”


So, what’s the problem? Am I going to tell you to say No instead of Yes?

Contrarily, I’m going to address the sensation that may occur after you say, “Yes, and” enough times that your dreams actually start coming true.

It’s a fear of happiness, a fear of what happens after we achieve what we set out to do, a fear we aren’t good enough to have what is in our wallets. The fear is called Upper Limiting.

You may have actually felt this sensation before and been unaware. Perhaps you landed an impressive contract, then got incredibly sick. Or, you landed a dream interview and chose to get too many cocktails the night before, dulling your shine.

This odd self sabotage is called Upper Limiting, which was coined by Gay Hendricks. In his book, the Big Leap, Hendricks says, “When the stakes are high or when the success is more than you’ve experienced before, Upper Limit Problems can strike.”

If we listen to Upper Limit fears, we may get scared and shrink back. This could cost us money, time and amazing opportunities.

So, how do we counteract it?


Step One: Be aware and Call it Out.

Text your friends, “On the way to a great speaking gig – here comes the cough. I’ve reached a new Upper Limit!”


Step Two: Accept this Piece of Your Puzzle with Gratitude

Know that as you aspire to your dreams, you inspire others to do the same. Connect to the ‘WHY’ of your work, and get out of your own way.

Know that experiencing Upper Limit fear is a part of your entrepreneurial growth. In fact, in his book, Hendricks expands to tell us that most of us are only used to handling a certain amount of joy. Think of this as your body and mind expanding to increased happiness and success.

Each time you are aware that an Upper Limit may be happening, you can settle yourself back into success mode and out of fear.

Have you ever experienced an Upper Limit problem? How’d you adjust? Comment and let me know.


“Reading Sharran’s daily mojo email first thing is the best way to start your morning! He gets straight to the point, and delivers a great message to get my day going in the right direction.” 

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