Malibu Retreat – The Big Leap – Part II

Congrats! You've made it to Part Two! In this section of The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks discusses the four types of upper limit problems. Let's get into them, shall we? "The Four Hidden Barriers all have something in common: although they seem true and real, they are based on beliefs about ourselves that are neither true nor real. The fact that we unconsciously take them as true and real is the barrier holding us back. We take them as true and real until we shine awareness on them. Then the barriers dissolve, and we are free.


Four fears and four related false beliefs hold the Upper Limit Problem in place. The fears are based on specific long-ago situations you will probably recognize when I show them to you. The beliefs based on those fears are false and cause you to have a misunderstanding about who you actually are. These fears and false beliefs cause us to live our lives out of a success-limiting mantra that says:

I cannot expand to my full potential because ____________________________________________.

In relationships, your Upper Limit mantra says:

I cannot enjoy abundant love and relationship harmony because ____________________________________________.

In financial wealth, your Upper Limit mantra says:

I cannot expand to my full wealth potential because ____________________________________________.

Sit with those questions for a few minutes. What's the first thing that comes to mind as you read them? Don't judge or react, just observe what comes up for you. Take notice of what you tell yourself when these questions come up. Now, take a step back, and ask yourself if these thoughts are actually true. Is it a possibility that they may not be true? Explore these thoughts with curiosity.

Then take 5 deep breaths, and proceed...

"When you remove those false beliefs, you feel a new freedom to invent a life based on your natural genius."

Hidden Barrier #1: Feeling Fundamentally Flawed

"I cannot expand to my full creative genius because something is fundamentally wrong with me."

If this resonates with you, I'd like you to close your eyes and imagine how you would feel as you operate from the innately good part of yourself. What if there is nothing wrong with you? How would you be different? How would your decisions be affected? What does your life look like as you feel loved and know you're enough...exactly as you are?

This barrier holds us back from our potential by convincing us that no matter what we do, we will never be good enough. Can you see how that belief would subconsciously cap your potential? The truth is you are absolutely capable of achieving anything you want, and becoming the person you know you already are. What's holding you back is this unconscious belief, so as you explore it, you become aware of it, and with awareness you then have a choice, which is whether you want to hold onto, or release this belief that no longer serves you. As you clear this block, you breakthrough a barrier that's been keeping you from where you want to be.

Hidden Barrier #2: Disloyalty and Abandonment

"I cannot expand to my full success because it would cause me to end up all alone, be disloyal to my roots, and leave behind people from my past."

When I read this, the example of small town dynamics come to mind. I think about when you're 18 and leaving for college, and there's a social shift that occurs. Some people choose to stay close to home, and others simply cannot wait to leave. This particular barrier is illustrated in the individuals who want to leave, but feel obligated to stay. They may leave, but there's a guilt they feel if they do. This guilt is an Upper Limit Problem. To rewire your mental and emotional landscape, you shift your focus to your strengths, and purpose in the world. You appreciate where you come from, acknowledge how it has contributed to who you are, and you choose to move forward in order to be loyal to yourself and your dreams. Plus, you can always visit, and stay connected as you choose to. The idea that because you gain, someone else loses, can be replaced with the allowing of the possibility of there is enough for everyone.

Hidden Barrier #3: Believing That More Success Brings a Bigger Burden

"I can’t expand to my highest potential because I’d be an even bigger burden than I am now."

This can be illustrated in the thought that being more, having more, and living larger is a bigger burden. When in truth, your life becomes easier. Like any transition, it probably won't happen overnight, but as you start to unwind the beliefs from which you operate, you can begin to see things in a different light. If this belief is resonating with you, let's explore it for a moment. Think back to the time when you first felt as if you were a burden.

What's the situation?

Where are you?

With whom?

What were the circumstances at the time?

Is there anything you know now that would change your perspective of this experience?

Is it still true?

If so, why?

If not, are you willing to release this belief as it no longer serves a purpose for you?

Are you willing to mark this learning experience as complete?

Now, take a moment to acknowledge a recent personal win, recognize three things you're really good at, and then think of one way in which you can share your gifts with the world today.

Hidden Barrier #4: The Crime of Outshining

"I must not expand to my full success, because if I did I would outshine _____________________ and make him or her look or feel bad."

I first encountered this barrier in middle school. I've always loved learning, and have always wanted to be a good student. Also, being a good student came naturally for me. My friends were content, though self-deprecating, for being average students. A's and B's were victories for them, but I didn't celebrate mine because they were normal for me. The message I got was that it was cool to not be that good of a student. However, I still wanted good grades. So, I wouldn't bring them up unless asked, and if I mentioned them, I would downplay a good test score. I was satisfied, or wanted to be better, but I kept that to myself. I didn't want to look or seem better than anyone. I didn't want anyone to feel less than me. The Crime of Outshining can show up as turning down the volume on your genius, so others don't feel threatened by it. While I wasn't aware of it at the time, I now can have empathy for my 12-year-old self, and how wanting to fit in is totally normal, especially in the most awkward stage of your life. As a 27-year-old, I can now release that belief as it no longer serves me.

If The Crime of Outshining resonates with you, give yourself permission to explore it. Dwell on one of my favorite quotes in the universe:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

-Marianne Williamson

Feel free to read over that a few times, and even say it out loud! Thank you for going through this exercise with me. It's a brave encounter, and your willingness to push the boundaries of your comfort zone moves you continuously closer to your Zone of Genius.

For those of you attending the Malibu retreat this weekend, we'll get into emotional clearing on Sunday morning, so this personal work ahead of time will prepare you for a deeper level of transformation. If you're not clear now, this is part of the process, and you'll have support and guidance as we explore these things, and gain new depths of clarity together.

If you're interested in more information about Rituals + Retreats' personal programs and group events, visit

Malibu Retreat - The Big Leap - Intro + Part I

Malibu Retreat View To gear up for the upcoming Malibu Retreat, we're reading Gay Hendricks' The Big Leap this week. What I love about The Big Leap is that it can apply to anyone at any point in their life. It's meets you where you are. The main premise is that as we progress, learn, and excel, we will encounter "upper limit" problems that we'll need to clear in order to expand ourselves and tap into our truest potential. As we seek to understand and identify what our upper limiting beliefs are, it will allow us to transcend the thoughts and beliefs that (usually unknowingly) are holding us back from where we truly want to be. We will discuss upper limit problems in more depth at a later time, so for now, let's discuss the four zones from which we operate:

1. Zone of Incompetence (activities that others can do much better) - avoid

Getting out of the Zone of Incompetence clears time-wasting activities from your daily routine. These are the activities that simply aren't your strong suit, and frankly, others can do them much better. Through allowing others to execute these activities, you create space for more creative energy. Think about what activities you do regularly that fall into the Zone of Incompetence. Entertain the thought of letting someone else do these things for you. Find someone who specializes in, and even enjoys doing them. Take a moment to be honest with yourself: "What are your time-wasters?" Where can you save time, money, energy, and resources by cutting out the things you're simply not good at? Incompetencies are only detrimental if you don't acknowledge what they are. Once you identify them, it will free you up to do more of what you love.

2. Zone of Competence (activities others can do just as well) - delegate

If an activity is in your Zone of Competence, it means you can do it, but others can do it just as well. Scheduling meetings with clients is a good example. It may be something you can do easily, but someone else can do that for you just as well. For tasks that can be passed off and successfully completed by someone else, delegate them.

3. Zone of Excellence (things you do extremely well) - embrace

This is where you have an edge; it's where you're reliable, consistent, and operating with expertise. An example that comes to mind for me here, is public speaking. For some, it is their Zone of Excellence, and for others, they would definitely list it in their Zone of Incompetence. Embrace the things that you excel at -- those skills and experiences are the launch pad from which you transition into your Zone of Genius.

4. Zone of Genius (things that are "uniquely suited" to you) - focus

This is it. This is the space where you're self-actualizing, and thriving with a deep sense of fulfillment. These are the things that only you can do. It's because of who you are and how you are that you do these things so well. This is the space you're in when you're focusing on that which you do best. Think of the people who inspire you...those you admire and gravitate towards. Many of the greats (Einstein, Newton, Edison, Aristotle, Socrates, Shakespeare, da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc.) we recognize because of the contributions they made as they operated from their Zone of Genius.

“It takes far more energy to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.”

Take a few moments to fold a paper into quadrants, and label each part with a specific zone. List the activities that come to mind for you in each area. Then, take a highlighter, write "avoid" over the Zone of Incompetence, write "delegate" over the Zone of Competence, write "embrace" over the Zone of Excellence, and lastly, highlight every item in your Zone of Genius. This is now a road map for making decisions, and creating your big picture vision.

Sunday Rituals

Ever since I spent the summer of 2012 in Paris, Sundays have been different for me. Most businesses are closed there, and you have to know where to go to unless you want to wander around for the day. Not that there's anything wrong with that! What I enjoyed about this is the inconvenience of doing too much. The most I would do was spend a couple hours in the park, visit a museum for the afternoon, stop into a bookstore, or meet a friend for coffee, and we'd walk the arrondissement(s) of choice. It didn't matter what I did, the distinction was that it was always quality time. Two years later, I realized the happiest I had been was two years ago, and I sought out to change it. I started collecting the habits back that I had lost. After all, I didn't have to be in France to live well. However, visiting often for research will always be a good idea :)

Reprioritizing my life, and infusing more quality time and joy into my everyday routine led me to feeling like myself again. I felt happy again. I felt like I could be present more instead of always thinking about work. So, I made this process my work. I wanted to help others carve out the time to nourish themselves, and build more good things into their daily schedules. Alas, Rituals + Retreats was born.

The rituals arena focuses on daily routines + habits. While the retreats arena is more intensive, like taking a weekend to reset, evaluate, and grow. Together, we unlearn the state of constant stress, and learn to live deeply, play more, and do both more often.

To join me for our premier retreat, click here.

And feel free to contact me about finding the program that's best for you.

I'm so excited that you are here to join me on this journey!

Bon dimanche!


Lessons to Live By: Morning Walk Epiphanies

During my walk this morning, I had the experience of writing an article in my mind. This is my attempt to transcribe what I was thinking about along the way. I have two dogs, Buckley and Coco. Buckley is a Boston Terrier, and Coco is a Cockapoo. They are authenticity fulfilled. And remind me everyday of simple life lessons that I've found to be invaluable.

Here's what we learned today:

1. Anticipate that good things are happening. This morning, the likelihood of a walk was about 60%. I was deciding between walking or yoga, and hadn't committed yet. Plus, Saturday and Sunday mornings tend to be less structured for me, so it could have gone either way. What tipped the scale was that Buckley knew it was about the time when a walk typically happens, so he acted as if we were getting ready to go. He was running around the house, wining, and anticipating someone stepping up to accept his request. He was persistent. I had a few things to wrap up, so 15 minutes later, a "probably" turned into a "yes." If Buckley hadn't acted as if we were going to go, we probably wouldn't have. His expectation created his reality. I walked away realizing that if you want good things to choose you, you have to choose them too.

2. Short leashes can be good. It's Saturday, so naturally more people are out, kids are playing, and dogs are being walked. Buckley has a mixed relationship with other dogs; he loves them, but can come on too strong or excitedly and completely turn them off. That excitement gets him into a reactionary emotional state, which can become stressful for everyone involved. We encountered 3 different dogs today. So, I observed how he was different with each one. With the first, he was curious. With the second, he was protective. With the third, he hardly engaged. What was the difference? He has an adjustable leash, so the longer his leash was, the more reactive he became. His leash was the longest when we met the second dog, and the shortest when we met the third. By the third time, I had shortened his leash, created a stronger boundary, and he became more focused, rather than reactionary. When you exhibit focus and discipline, you choose where your attention goes. Therefore, you're more likely to get the results that you want. When you are all over the place, you're more likely to get distracted and be reactive, which is the easiest way to deter yourself from where you really want to be.

3. You determine your path and your pace. Each morning, we take the same route. The pace changes; sometimes we run more than we walk, and others we walk more than we run. The distance is the same, but the time and intensity varies. We can't control the incline or decline, but we can decide how we handle both. Coco prefers to stay at a consistent speed walk. Buckley likes to run back and forth. They have two very different life experiences, which is great, it just demonstrates that we're all on the same road with the same choices, and our personal preferences create our experience. 

4. Fall in love with your life everyday. In my family, we talk about how if everyone could find the one thing they love as much as Buckley loves a walk, and Coco loves a tennis ball, the world would be a radically different place. What's your one thing? What makes you giddy and excited no matter how many times you've done it before? The ocean is that for me. No matter how many times I go, no matter how often I see it, no matter the amount of time I spend there, it never gets old. Finding that magic in one thing every day is all it takes to feel in love with your life. Not only does that person, act or thing elevate you emotionally, but it shifts your mindset and emotional state to where it continues to affect the way you see other things too. Think about what you want to cascade throughout your day. Commit to creating that in your life. When you need a reset, re-engage. But take a mental inventory of what those things are for you, and incorporate them into your day as often as possible.

What I love about this exercise, and morning rituals in general, is that they're so simple, easy to do, and really only take 30-minutes at most. These 30 minutes impact the 16 hours that follow, if not longer. Do you know what yours is? If not, take some time to discover one of your greatest returns-on-investment this weekend. Find something that takes 30 minutes or less, which creates a positive impact throughout the rest of your day. At the end of the exercise, take a moment to focus on how wonderful it is to have something so lovely in your life, and take your day on from there. Notice how your day feels different, and be open to experiences that may surprise you. If you feel inclined to share them, I'd love to hear them too! Feel free to send me a message, leave a comment, or share your experience on the Rituals + Retreats FB page here.

Enjoy your weekend!