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Emily Cassel (she/her) is a Soulful Business + Leadership Coach for women entrepreneurs, podcast host, writer, international retreat leader, and champion of women, based in Charleston, SC. Emily believes that when women embrace and express their deepest soul calling and become leaders of their life and business, we create a more liberated and limitless future for ourselves, each other, and our world.

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3 Patterns You’ve Never Heard Of That Could Be Sabotgaging Your Success

May 12, 2015

Sometimes, we feel like we’re doing everything right to achieve what we want to achieve, whether it’s in our personal lives, relationships, careers, businesses, etc., yet nothing is happening. That’s because there are a few pesky blockers that could be lurking in your mind that are still holding you back.

I’ve discovered all 3 of these through my personal experiences over the last few months, and I can’t wait to share them with you today! Read on to learn what they are and how to overcome them.

1. The Upper-Limit Problem

The upper-limit theory is a concept coined by Gay Henricks (author of The Big Leap) all about how we self-sabotage when we achieve success. This theory posits that we all have an inner thermostat that represents our limited tolerance for feeling good. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?! When things are going great and we exceed our upper limit, we tend to self-sabotage unconsciously to get back to our comfort zone (aka, the amount of love/success/joy/positive emotions we allow ourselves to feel). You may notice this happening in your life when you get sick after launching your business or a new product, make a lot of money then get into a car accident, pick a fight with your partner after a beautiful date night… the list goes on.

How To Fix It: Awareness of your own upper-limits will work wonders. Noticing your own unique recipe for self-sabotaging behaviors is important here. Try listing them out, and be sure to notice when the urge to act them out comes up for you — then DON’T DO IT. Instead, try to really be present in the moment and remind yourself that you desire to feel and experience MORE good emotions! This will help to re-set your inner thermostat.

This isn’t a problem that will “go away” necessarily, because there will always be new levels of success that you’ll rise to, and you’ll need to do the same thing to increase your inner thermostat again and again. But being aware of this can save you so much time and energy! Go forth and live out your fullest success, beautiful!

2. The Fear of “Doing”

Some of us get so paralyzed by the to-do lists that we go into overwhelm paralysis, and don’t do anything. We think that things could go terribly wrong if we don’t make the right choice, or we think that one action is better than another, or that there’s a perfect way to go about something, based on what experts say. Maybe we feel unprepared to take a leap that would propel us forward. In any case, there’s a fear of action.

It’s almost ironic, really, because one of the most effective ways to deal with fear is to take action! Here’s the thing: you can’t THINK your way out of feeling stuck. You have to act. You’re not getting any closer to a solution by sitting there and thinking your way to it. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a fan of having an abundant mindset, and using visualizations…but that can only get you so far. Action is the only real way to feel “unstuck” in any area of your life. You have to try something – that’s progress!

How To Fix It:  Start making action a regular practice for yourself. Each night, take a few moments and decide what the most important action will be for you to complete for the next day. Bonus points if it scares the pants off of you! Then, set things up so that you can complete that action FIRST THING in the morning (second only to a morning ritual) before you have the chance to talk (or think) yourself out of it.

3. The Prince Charming Complex

The Prince Charming Complex is a newer one for me, but as soon as I read about it in Kate Northrup’s book, Money: A Love Story, something clicked. I had DEFINITELY been experiencing a huge PCC in my life, especially financially. Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could just have someone else take care of all of that uncomfortable, annoying, terrifying stuff for me? Sure! But that’s not reality, and that idea was definitely holding me back, as it does so many of us.

Of course, logically, and as an independent and well-educated young woman, I KNOW in my mind that this isn’t a financial plan at all…yet, I often fantasize about having some man come along who’s a “provider” in the relationship, so I can just coast along and not have to ever worry or stress out about money. This is a biologically-based response, as women have evolved to look for providers to take care of them and their kids. It’s all based on procreation, natural selection, and evolution. But that doesn’t make it relevant NOW, does it?! If you’re watching Disney movies or too many romance movies with happy endings, and not thinking critically about them, you’re pretty much perpetuating and strengthening this belief system. So beware! 😉

I also want to note that this isn’t just about money, or even just about men or male/female relationships. We can have a “damsel in distress” mentality and want to be “saved” by anyone, for any reason. So pay attention to the areas where you’re doing this in your own life.

How To Fix It: Identify an area of your life where you feel you’ve been waiting for someone else to solve the problems, deal with the issues, or “save” you in some way. Then, make a list of all the ways you’re capable of doing this yourself – based on past experience or just what you know you’re able to do now and in the future. Recognize that YOU are the only one capable of saving yourself and creating what you want in this life, and instantly become your own Prince Charming. Finally, decide on and take one action that will help you break the PCC pattern, and will move you closer to solving your own problem or saving yourself. Voila!

Was this helpful to you? If so, I’d love for you to share this blog post on social media with your friends! 

Also, I’m planning a teleclass about creating a life and business around freedom and fulfillment for next Thursday, May 21 at 8 PM EST! I’d love to know what questions you have around this subject area in the comments below so that I can determine what content I’ll add into the teleclass to make sure your questions are answered, and that I can provide the most value for you!

Be sure to SHARE this blog post with your friends on social media if you feel like it was helpful to you, and to COMMENT below this post to let me know what questions you have that you’d like to see answered in the teleclass next week! 🙂

Love & Light,


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