Episode 83: Upper-Limit Problems: How to Recognize Them & What to Do When They Hit

Game On Girlfriend Ep83

Have you ever had that experience when you’ve just been celebrating something amazing …

Say you just lost a bunch of weight …


You just got picked to appear on a national TV show for your work …


You just heard from your accountant, and you’re making more money than you’ve ever made …


You just went on the best date of your life …

And then it hits.

A worrisome, anxiety-producing thought comes out of nowhere:

“My spouse is cheating on me, I know it.”

“I’m terrible at what I do, and everyone is going to find out.”

“I’m the worst parent ever.”

“I think I feel sick …”

Oh, boy. That, my beautiful girlfriend, is called an “Upper-Limit Problem.”

It’s a problem that gets created when we realize things are going really well. 

The first mention of the term “upper limit” was in Gay Hendrick's book “The Big Leap.” (Which I highly recommend.) You can pick it up by clicking here 

My favorite way to discuss upper-limit problems is to compare our tolerance for success to a thermostat. We all have our comfort level for success.


So, when we go higher than what we're used to — when we hit that “upper limit” on the thermostat — we freak out. 

We manufacture “problems” so we can get back to a level of comfort, i.e., “less” success.

These moments tend to arrive after a big win, much like those I’ve listed above. We’re going along with life, reaching our goals and loving it …

And then ... our little brains jump in and do their best to ruin it.

We pick a fight, overeat, overspend, get sick, make bad decisions, get drunk, or imagine horrible scenarios and then share them.

The best way to know you're in an upper-limit situation is to watch your own behavior. 

If you start acting out in a way that's not “normal” for you, pay attention, especially if it comes right after feeling great.

Accepting that bumping into these moments is simply part of the journey can be really helpful. I share a little bit in this episode about Tom Hiddleston’s view of all this, too. 

(I’m so busted right now. I love that guy.)

As you listen to this episode, I hope you keep asking yourself just how great you’re willing to have it. I mean, just how GOOD can it get before you decide you can’t tolerate it anymore?

Oh, and listen in for my two favorite questions to ask when your brain tells you that good things just can’t happen.

When good things start happening, be on the lookout for those “upper-limit” interruptions. And be warned now, this doesn't just happen once, it's a companion for life when we're out to achieve and grow.

If you’re ready to join a group of women who can support you and be there for you when you hit your upper-limit problems, come join my Sprints! You'll be put in a small group where you hold each other accountable and check in weekly to make sure you’re staying on track.

And, of course, you’ll get to be coached personally by yours truly. Click here to check that out, and get in our next round! 

I reference an upcoming episode about your brain and fear, and you can listen to that, here.

Other episodes you might want to check out:

You can check out our podcast interviews on YouTube, too!

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