In one moment, I am incredibly excited about the huge plans I have in business and in life. In the next, I’m floored. Am I just not cut out for that bigger-than-life success?

I feel it. Maybe you feel it too.

It’s that nagging itch that lives deep in the pit of your stomach; the one that gets stronger when you look at the empires other women have managed to build while seemingly #doingitall.

You know, the one that makes you feel like you’re looking through an impenetrable wall. The one that tells you: “Yes, but she *sparkles*. She’s unique. There’s just something about her. That’s not the norm. That’s not for you.” 

Mamas, I’ll be honest. I’ve been feeling it big time lately.

It’s one thing to tell yourself to be big and brave. But playing big and acting brave can be extremely overwhelming. When all it takes is a simple click to be exposed to all of the grand ideas, inspiring movements and lucrative businesses of the Internet, it can be easy to get distracted by minutiae and yes, comparison.

It’s a strange phenomenon, because I am at the same time confident and insecure.

In one moment, I am incredibly excited about the huge plans I have in business and in life. I talk with breathless enthusiasm. I jot down wisps of ideas that wake me up at 2 a.m. I make lists, and cross things off, and get things done.

And in the next moment, I’m floored. Overcome with self-doubt. Second-guessing every gut feeling I have.

I recently shared my concerns with my business coach, who listened patiently as I rambled on and on, jumping from passion to apprehension between every sentence. And then she said to me:

“You’re self-sabotaging.”

She mentioned the idea of the “Upper-Limit Problem”, as described by author Gay Hendrinks. Hendrinks writes:

“Each of us has an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. That thermostat setting usually gets programmed in early childhood. And, once programmed, our Upper-Limit thermostat setting holds us back from enjoying all the love, financial abundance and creativity that’s rightfully ours.”

Now, some of the theory does NOT resonate with me, but overall I found the idea that we each have these ingrained ideas of how much success we are allowed and capable of really interesting. And it is making me pay more attention to these self-sabotaging thoughts.

I mean, why NOT me? Why NOT this idea? Why NOT?

Mamas, I’m so excited you are along for this journey as I try to break through these self-set limits. And in the meantime, here are some resources for you if you’re struggling with a similar limiting perspective:

Overcome 8 Common Limiting Beliefs That May Keep You Stuck

If you want to make a change but feel stuck in the life or lifestyle you’ve created, here are eight limiting beliefs that you should try to get over.

Do You Have an “Upper Limit” Problem?

Marie Forleo, with an Upper Limit Problem? Say whaa? I mean, her career is one that many of us see as THE Upper of Uppery Limits. But yes, this problem even plagues her. And as always, she offers great advice for how to overcome.

My Upper Limit Problem and How We Resist Joy

In this article, mindful guru Danielle Laporte shares her story of facing her Upper Limit Problem. (See, it happens to everyone!) One point she makes that I love: When you believe in your value, you can accommodate more joy.

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level

And finally, the book that says it all. Gay Hendricks dives deep into the ULP in this book, which gets rave reviews online. I’m ordering it today!

So what do you think, mamas? Ever had an Upper Limit Problem? Share your biggest barriers in the comments.

Emily Cretella is the founder of, as well as the copywriting and content marketing firm, where she helps clients create + share stories their audiences love.

She adores being mom to her two little ladies and drinking obscene amounts of coffee from mugs with pithy sayings. Find her on Instagram, and learn more about ways you can collaborate with MotherHustle. 


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