My issues with “The Big Leap” ~a book review
“The Big Leap” is a self-help book by a man named Gay Hendricks. I’m going to tell you right off the bat that I loved the book and it truly changed my life. However, I can’t completely recommend you read it, without giving you fair warning: shit could get weird! Here’s how it went down for me..
I listen to a lot of motivational stuff, prosperity and success type material, so when I stumbled upon “The Big Leap” at the library, it really caught my eye. Grabbing me even more was the inscription on the first page. In perfect school teacher cursive and #2 lead pencil, someone had written: “Do not read this book! It is full of lies and is a complete waste of your time!” I’m not sure what effect that notation was suppose have, but it piqued my curiosity even further. The book came home with me, by legal and fair trade known as a public library card.
What an awesome book, and a real eye opener! It’s an easy read and very engaging. I wouldn’t say it’s really so much about a ‘big leap’, more like a continual pushing of personal limits to allow ones self more goodness, love, money and joy. The basic premise is that we each live within a zone of comfort that includes both an upper and lower border, that is our own personal “normal”. Even as we have grander visions and aspiration for ourselves, we have a hard time allowing ourselves out of that box, even for the better things is life. This is because of what Gay Hendricks calls an “upper limit problem”. Of course we want more love, more money, better health, more joy but in fact, we are often sabotaging ourselves and keep ourselves continually resonating in our comfort zone. Sounds dumb. Why would I intentionally hold myself back? Well, it’s not intentional, but it is self inflicted. There are all sort of reasons, but all basically stem from a hidden fear of losing what’s familiar, our belief that what we are living right now, is what we deserve. This book is all about how we stop ourselves from greatness, by creating any number of dramatic situations, often times just as success comes knocking. Anything from injuring ourselves, getting sick, fighting with our spouse, or other trauma-dramas that keep us from taking it to the next level, and keep us safely in our comfort zones, telling that same old story.
After I read the book I was elated. I really understood the concepts and could see times in my own life when I had totally done this stuff! Just two years ago, when my baby Ramses was 1, and I had found the perfect little childcare facility for him. He would be my first baby to actually go to daycare. When I had my first batch of kids, I was a ‘perfect’ homeschooling – Waldorf mom. But this time around, I’m a career mom. Plus, this kid isn’t like the others, he’s a total people-person, he loves action and is perfectly happy to spend a few hours not-with-me. So daycare a few days a week, at a sweet spot made total sense. On the morning of our first day, I was so excited, prepared for my work day, and woke up extra early to not be late. Only to, immediately take a tumble down my beautiful new staircase, and broke my foot in three places. Hell no, did I do that purpose! Yet, as I read The Big Leap, images of that event popped into my head. The book suggests solutions as well. Mostly having to do with clarity, and getting to the root of problem to bring those issues out of the dark, festering, recesses of our souls and into the light! So I asked myself a few questions, and upon digging deeper, I realized that I was still holding onto guilt about asking others to help me with my children. And even though I consciously approve of this boy going to daycare, part of me is still not willing to give myself permission to work without a babe on my hip. Thankfully, after several tough weeks of sitting on the couch, the foot healed. The child started 3 days a week at an in-home daycare that he loves. And I do believe that shining a light on my secret self shaming, actually obliterated it.
After returning the library copy, I decided I was going to do a book review on it, because it was so life changing and everyone should know about it. I bought my own copy on Amazon. When I started to re-read the book for the purpose of the book “review”, I didn’t get very far before a dear friend came over, with her usually woes. Admittedly, I was quite fond of her woes. After all, we had shared a lot of laughs and tears and creamy caffeinated beverages over these very same woes. But I was also excited that I had this wonderful treasure of a book, that I just bet would help her! I offered to lend her my copy and she eagerly agreed.
Sadly, I never saw that copy of the book again and I never saw her again. I can’t really say what happened, cause honestly, I don’t really know. But sometime a few weeks later she completely misunderstood one of my texts and freaked out. I apologized and tried several times to explain what I had been trying to say, I pretty much begged and pleaded for a fair trial.. Ignored. And that is that. We haven’t been friends since.
Meanwhile my little business Sweet Skins Organic Apparel is growing by crazy leaps and bounds. So is my stress level. My responsibilities, my expenses, my busy-ness. As we begin to take over the entirety of our 3,000 square foot warehouse, keeping people on point and getting payroll covered is my main concern. I wish I could find emotional support, but my friends don’t really get it. I used to be the first girl you’d call if you were down, having man trouble, parenting woes, whatever, call me day or night and I’ll give you the support you need. But now, I am far out at sea, learning how to navigate a ship for the first time. And worst of all, I’m changing very quickly in order to keep up with these unfamiliar waters. Frankly speaking, I’m not the friend I used to be. And it sucks!
Determined to get this book review done (not that I have ever done a book review, but this one felt important), I went back to Eugene Public Library and borrowed the book again. Just as I was cracking the new copy open, a friend stopped by, not just any friend, but one of my best friends, a friend with children who I love, and a marriage that I was witness to. It had been a turbulent one, but whose relationship isn’t? She came to mind many times as I read the book and I was thrilled to hand her my new library copy. A few weeks later a series of unfortunate events occurred in her life and as much as I tried to be there for her, I failed. I tried to apologize for any imperfections that I may have displayed, but once again it went to the wind and all was sealed with a firm “goodbye” from her. Needless to say, I never saw that copy of the book again either. Add several weeks later, the library, that I have so faithfully patronized for many many years, applied a huge fine and sent the debt to a collection agency; before I even realized that the book was never returned, I now owed $75 on it. Go ahead add insult to injury Universe.. I wrote the check, vowed never to buy that particular book again and added the Eugene Public Library to the list of loves lost. Another one bites the dust..
I did my best to resign from my job as ‘friend’ with grace, and take on the role of fearless business woman instead. I have always had a small, close knit group of friends, that I had selected as the cream of the crop, and I have spent countless hours loving them and investing in them on every level. I am a hopeless romantic and many times, my friends have been everything. Yes, of course I have read, many times, the quote “you will lose friends” and “haters are part of the game” in regard to success. I never believed that would be me; I would take my friends with me: I would pay for lunch, and tropical vacations, everything would be ok. Those where not the only losses I endured that time. There was a painful breakup with my first ever employee, and series of awareness provoking events that would displaying some pretty huge areas of loss in regards to money and time. My handsome, young father passed from cancer. My lovely grandmother passed on too, without us ever having that special time together that I always thought we would. But I can’t really blame all that on a book now, can I?
In the chronic discomfort of my upwardly mobile lifestyle, I have created other comforts to get me through. I found an old sauna on craigslist and cocoon myself in it. I employed a house cleaner and a gardener. I seek simple pleasures with my family, more hikes in nature. I eat good food. I count my blessings: My business is growing! One of my very oldest friends stepped up literally saving my butt and showed me just how amazing a helper can be. My work team crew is growing, and is such a cute crew of hard working woman from around the world. (We’re representing Thailand, Mexico City, Guatemala & England within our ‘made in America’ clothing line). My fiance and I are slowly making gains in our dramatic dance of passion, and laying the foundation to becoming the power couple we were meant to be. My toddler wakes up excited and ready to go to daycare (even on no-daycare days). My grown children have somehow turned from disgruntled teenagers, into highly delightful and brilliant adults. And I am gingerly letting a few new ladies into my life. Yes, new friends. I am actually learning to be ok outside of my comfort zone, and enjoying the feel of fresh new horizons. You’ll have to decide for yourself if this book is something that you want. You may start by asking yourself, “What am I willing to lose, in order to gain?”