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The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

Review written by Heather Kelly

What are the 3-4 key messages of the book?

The Big Leap is a deep dive into how we create limiting beliefs and how to break free of them. The author has great stories about ways people have changed from the Zone of Excellence to the Zone of Genius and increased their happiness, success and in certain cases, wealth, although that is not necessarily the goal or the only outcome of success.

1) We all have a tendency to limit our own happiness because we don’t think we deserve for things to go well all the time. These are our “upper limits”. He also explains that in order to get over these we have to let ourselves feel positive feelings - I’ve equated this to my own daily Gratitude practice. “Letting yourself savor natural good feelings is a direct way to transcend your Upper Limit Problem. By extending your ability to feel positive feelings, you expand your tolerance for things going well in your life. ”

2) Because of our limiting beliefs we tend to create “upper limits” such as fear and self-sabotage. When something is going well in one area of our lives we tend to self sabotage. For instance, the day I posted to instagram my very first, very “soft” announcement that I was going to create my own coaching practice I received TONS of wonderful feedback and TONS of encouragement, inquiry and validation. That night I picked a fight with my husband, who was also reading this book at the same time, and totally called me out on it! Since reading this book I notice myself doing this anytime I start to get uncomfortable about things working out consistently. I feel like its not real or I don’t deserve it so I do something to get in my own way! “Each of us has an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success, and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed our inner thermostat setting, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves, causing us to drop back into the old, familiar zone where we feel secure.”

3) He describes 4 “Zones of Work”: Zone of Incompetence, Lots of people are better at a particular thing/task than you and you’ll do whatever you can do avoid it; Zone of Competence; You’re only okay at the thing/task but others can do it better and you’d prefer it if someone else did it; Zone of Excellence, You are really really good at the thing/task but you might not find that much joy or “flow” while doing it; and finally, Zone of Genius, This is where you come alive, the task is both easy and enjoyable, you lose track of time while doing it. “The temptation is strong to remain in the Zone of Excellence; it’s where your own addiction to comfort wants you to stay. It’s also where your family, friends, and organizations want you to stay. You’re reliable there, and you provide a steady supply of all the things that family, friends, and organizations thrive on. The problem is that a deep, sacred part of you will wither and die if you stay inside your Zone of Excellence.” “The goal in life is not to attain some imaginary ideal; it is to find and fully use our own gifts.”


What do you feel is the application to coaching?

This book is a really motivating deep dive into the concepts of “limiting beliefs” but rather than simply defining what they are, he gives great real life application to how to overcome them. I think the author does an excellent job making this accessible to any reader, as we all have tendencies to self-sabotage, are sometimes controlled by our fears and often don’t pursue our “Zone of Genius”. This could be a nice motivator for someone trying to overcome their own limitations, try something new, take the leap, go on the adventure, or switch careers, and get some guidance on how to do it.


What was your favorite passage? “Fear is excitement without the breath.” Here’s what this intriguing statement means: the very same mechanisms that produce excitement also produce fear, and any fear can be transformed into excitement by breathing fully with it.” I think this passage is beautiful as it eludes to the possibility of overcoming a really oppressive emotion just by changing one’s perspective about it. Rather than letting fear take over, instead, with the power of your own breath, you can harness that feeling and create excitement, momentum and even transform because of it.


How will you apply the key messages within your coaching practice? I like the concept of breaking through your Zone of Excellence, which is probably safer and more comfortable and taking the big leap into your Zone of Genius which feels more authentic, engaging and likely also a bigger risk with bigger reward. With the clientele that I see myself working with, I think this could be a good topic for me to inquire about especially for clients who are considering making a change in their career or doing something different that feels more authentic, in order to find more satisfaction.

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