Summary of The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

  • Post category:Summaries
  • Post last modified:September 18, 2023

Summary: 8 min

Book reading time: 4h57

Score: 7/10

Book published in: 2009

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  • You can only be happy if you live to the maximum of your abilities.
  • Most people think they’re not allowed to experience infinite happiness and hence sabotage themselves when life is “too good”.
  • When you remove the imaginary barriers that stop you from being who you truly want to be, you can live a fuller and happier life.

Table of Contents

What The Big Leap Talks About

The Big Leap is a book written by Gay Hendricks. It explains that we prevent ourselves from being happy due to an unconscious maximum level of happiness we allow ourselves to feel. The book explains that by being conscious of it and pushing through our comfort zone, we can become happier and more successful.

I became aware of this book after I read (and watched) the excellent Dr. Benjamin Hardy, who recommended it several times.

Not gonna lie, it’s a weird book. It touches on too many topics and as a result, fails to capture any of them.

It would have been better had it limited itself to self-sabotage.

But no.

It had somehow to speak about passion, preferences, and relationships, themes I didn’t see any fitting for.

I learned some interesting stuff, nonetheless, like the idea of the Upper Limit.

The book confirmed what I intuitively thought: when you struggle with low self-esteem issues, you will self-sabotage to prevent yourself from feeling happiness you subconsciously believe you don’t deserve.

This explains why the Cauet method, or meditations, or mindsets, work. They don’t exist to change the conscious, but the subconscious, because self-sabotage mostly comes from there.

Let’s be honest. This book is a very important book. Since roughly 80% of the population struggles with self-esteem and self-sabotage issues, this could make society significantly better.

Unfortunately, the author didn’t deliver it well.

7/10 (I am being generous).

Get the book here.

Summary of The Big Leap by Dr. Gay Hendricks

Introduction: Remove Your Last Obstacle to Ultimate Success in Wealth, Work, and Love

The last obstacle to success is the Upper Limit, an imaginary limit ruling how much good you allow yourself to feel.

Once you have felt all the positivity and good you allow yourself to, you get into a self-destructive cycle and make yourself miserable, then go back to do stuff to feel good again, in a never-ending process.

The cycle of hitting the upper limit
The cycle of hitting the upper limit

1. Preparing for Your Big Leap

If you want to destroy the Upper Limit, you need to ask yourself four questions.

  1. Am I willing to increase the amount of time every day that I feel good inside?
  2. Am I willing to increase the amount of time that my whole life goes well?
  3. Am I willing to feel good and have my life go well all the time?
  4. Am I willing to take the Big Leap to my ultimate level of success in love, money, and creative contribution?
Explanation of the Big Leap.

If you have said yes to the four questions above, you’re ready.

If you encounter resistance, it’s normal. We’re not used to letting ourselves feel more happiness in life.

Take a minute to think about why.

A classic reason is the fear of owning your full potential.

When you work at 90% and fail, you can always tell yourself “I would have succeeded had I worked 100%”.

When you work at 100% and fail, it’s difficult not to feel like an utter failure.

Some people (like myself) would prefer never to work at 100% capacity as if they failed in their endeavor, it’d be catastrophic.

Or so they think.

This is an ego problem.

If you want to reach the Genius Zone, you’ll have to give up on your ego.

Dr. Perls said “fear is excitement without breath”. So when you feel fear, breathe, and transform the fear into excitement.

Going to the Zone of Genius demands commitment. If you are committed, you did the hardest part.

How the Upper Limit Works

We all have a limit up to which we enjoy success and good feelings. Once we exceed it, we get scared, sabotage ourselves, and go back to our comfort zone.

That limit is often fixed in childhood. As soon as we go over it, we become guilty and go back to where we were.

A voice in the head says “hey, it’s not allowed to feel this good“.

And so we sabotage ourselves. Successes are often short-lived.

This problem can’t be solved in your current state of consciousness. It can’t be solved how we normally solve problems. In fact, it cannot be solved at all. It must be dissolved.

You do so by understanding that it is built on false premises.

Whatever we do can be classified into four zones.

1. The Zone of Incompetence

It’s all of the stuff we are bad at. If you can’t learn it, just don’t do it and focus on what you are good at.

2. The Zone of Competence

These are stuff you’re good at, but other people are equally good at too. So you should simply delegate them so you free up time.

3. The Zone of Excellence

These are the things you’re really good at.

If you stay too long there though, you will die.

4. The Zone of Genius

These are the stuff you and you alone can do the way you do them.

Ideally, you should spend 70% of your time there.

The four zones.
The four zones.

2. Making the Leap

The Upper Limit (UL) prevents you from enjoying the highs of your life in every area: financial, relationships, creativity.

The UL rests on four fears that lead to false beliefs. No one has the four of them, more like 1 to 3.

If you change these fears and dissolve them, you will dissolve your UL.

These fears say stuff like “I can’t expand to my full potential because…………….”.

Let’s have a look at them.

Barrier 1: Feeling Fundamentally Flawed

If you have a deep feeling that something is wrong with you, you won’t be able to explode the UL.

It sounds like this: every time you succeed, a voice in your head says “since you are stupid/mean/unlovable/a mistake, you can’t possibly feel this good”.

Barrier 2: Disloyalty and Abandonment

The voice in your head goes like this: “I can’t be successful as I’d be alone, abandoning the people of my past behind”.

If you want to know whether you have this barrier, ask yourself the two following questions:

  1. Did I break my family’s spoken or unspoken rules to be where I am?
  2. Did I fail to meet my parents’ expectations?

Barrier 3: Believing that More Success Brings a Bigger Burden

Some people believe they are a burden and should stay small.

The belief goes like this: “I can’t be more successful because I’d be an even bigger burden than I am now”.

People feeling this way often do so because a relative made them understand that they were a burden (or a mistake) as a child.

Barrier 4: The Crime of Outshining

The thought goes as follows: “I cannot be too good as I would outshine others if I did”.

People victims of barrier 4 often were better than their siblings and their parents made them understand they should not shine too much.

3: Getting Specific

Now we will see the cues you can spot when you Upper-Limit yourself.


When we reach the UL, we suddenly worry about things going wrong.

If you pay attention to your worries, you’ll notice that none of them have anything to do with reality.

To spot a useless worry, ask yourself:

  1. Is this worry a real possibility?
  2. Can I do anything about it?

If the answer is no, then it’s likely a fake worry.

Worrying is annoying. When we worry and others don’t, we often end up criticizing those that do not worry, which impacts relationships.

Here’s how you can fight back.

  1. Notice you are worrying
  2. Shift focus away and let the worry go
  3. Focus on the positive

Criticism and Blame

Criticism, like worry, has often nothing to do with reality. We criticize trying to refrain from the flow of positivity and good feeling heading our way.

Criticism and blame are both addictive and useless.

Watch your words for criticism and blame, and be mindful of the reason why you do it.


Many people simply avoid the flow of positive energy.

For example, downplaying compliments.

Don’t refuse compliments. Say “thank you” when someone gives you a compliment, and let the flow of positivity come in.


Creating arguments and drama is one of the most famous ways to drop from one zone to another.

To get rid of it, you need to understand how arguments occur.

Arguments occur when two people race to occupy the position of victim in the relationship.

The truth is that neither of them is a victim, but that both are equally responsible for 100%, which means there are 200% of responsibility.

If you want to stop arguing, you need to realize why you do it, then take 100% of responsibility for it.

And stop being a victim.

Getting Sick, Getting Hurt

When things are going too well, we somehow find a way to get sick or hurt. To catch a cold, or get into an accident.

Other cues are hiding feelings, not keeping agreements, not speaking honestly to others.

Let’s now have a look at how we can take off the Upper Limit.

The Three P’s

The three Ps stand for Punishment, Prevention, and Protection.

Punishment: there are two ways to see it.

  1. What happens to you when you do something you shouldn’t. Eg: cheating on your partner. You often do something you shouldn’t as a way to procrastinate doing something you should (talking to your wife).
  2. You punish yourself when you reach the Upper Limit.

Prevention: prevention is when your subconscious is preventing you from doing something you shouldn’t. In this case, the guy that cheated got an enormous migraine after sex with his secretary.

Protection: protection is the consequence of the migraine, in this case, not reiterate sex with the secretary.

Integrity Breach

These are lies, broken agreements, and withheld truths.

We commit them as they make us leave the Genius Zone very quickly.

The First Step To Wholeness: Discovering Your Story

A lack of integrity happens when we get away from who we are, from our “wholeness”.

To go back to being whole again, we need to ask some questions.

  1. Where do I feel out of integrity with myself?
  2. What is keeping me from feeling complete and whole?
  3. What important feelings am I not letting into my awareness?
  4. Where in my life am I not telling the full truth?
  5. Where in my life have I not kept my promises?
  6. In my relationship with……………….., what do I need to say or do to feel complete and whole?

Don’t be too serious about all that.

When you are not taking yourself too seriously, you progress much more than when you do as you are more flexible. Be playful.

Commit to keeping an attitude of wonder and play when exploring your Upper Limit. Be open-minded, and don’t criticize yourself.

Chapter 4: Building a New Home in Your Zone of Genius

Discovering your Zone of Genius is your life’s Big Leap.

So far, you have been only hopping from one zone to another. Staying in your zone of excellence kills the life inside you.

In the Zone of Excellence, you are mostly living your life on autopilot. It’s awful. Few people realize they are living their lives this way.

If you want to take a leap to your Zone of Genius, you need to make a commitment.

You need to decide you want to do it, or it won’t happen.

The second thing to do is to define your Zone of Genius. The Zone Genius is that thing you have a burning desire to do.

It can be writing a book, starting a business, etc.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. What do I most love to do, so much that I can do it for long stretches of time without getting tired or bored?

You don’t have to come up with something clear. It can be just a feeling. But do think about it, take your time. It can take weeks before you come up with an answer. The second question will help you.

2. What work do I do that doesn’t feel like work?

3. In my work, what produces the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to amount of time spent?

4. What is my unique ability or skill I can provide the most value with?

We will focus on that last question next.

Articulating Your Unique Ability

Fill up the following statement.

I am at my best when I……………………………

When I am at my best, I am doing…………

When I am doing that, the thing I love the most about it is…………………

5. Living in Your Zone of Genius

Penetrating the Zone of Genius is like walking onto a spiral: every day, you go higher.

image 4
A spiral. Photo by Reid Zura on Unsplash

To limit accidents, it’s wise to have a single point of focus, a mantra, to bring back awareness.

There it is:

I expand in abundance, success, and love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same.

Say it a lot, think about it, feel it.

Meditate with it, and keep it in your head during the day.

Expect plenty of negative self-talk, but just ignore it.

The Enlightened No

The Enlightened No is a strategy that helps you focus on getting into your Zone of Genius. It entails saying no to everything, except the things that move the needle.

6. Living in Einstein Time

For your life to be good, you need to manage time well.

Lack of time stresses you out and prevents you from dedicating yourself to reaching your Zone of Genius.

Right now, you are living in the Newtonian time:

  • There’s a finite amount of time
  • You don’t have enough of it, or…
  • You have too much of it

Einstein time is understanding that we are where time comes from.

You produce your own time.

Time is not “out there”. You are the master of your time, but you need to take ownership of it.

Stress and conflict come from not admitting that you own your time.

The first thing to do to get your time back is to stop complaining about your lack of time. This will force you to change your perspective.

7. Solving the Relationship Problem

We need to focus on the good things we have now instead of focusing on the bad things from our past.

Focusing on the negative particularly influences our relationships – in a bad way.

Mostly, it comes from our inability to receive and give love due to the UL.

If a relationship is to succeed, both people should understand the UL concept. If it’s just one person, it won’t be enough.

To help your relationship, follow the following advice:

  1. Take some time for yourself. Don’t always be with your partner.
  2. Tell about the microscopic truth, and communicate your feelings.
  3. Don’t repress your partner’s emotions. Don’t say “please don’t cry”.
  4. Touch each other.
  5. After an episode of deep intimacy, come back to earth naturally. Most people hit their UL and f*ck it up. Consciously come back down.
  6. Get three friends with whom you can discuss the UL

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