The Big Leap - Gay Hendricks

The Big Leap - Gay Hendricks

Video Book Summary

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Book Summary Notes 

The Big Leap

“Are you willing to take the Big Leap to your ultimate level of success in love, money, and creative contribution?”

"At first glance, you might ask who wouldn’t say yes to these questions."   

"Well, for many of us, the idea of all of this positive emotion seems far-fetched to begin with. It is easy for us to just assume that with the positive comes the negative."

"To that I say, ‘Why not get willing, and see what happens?’ We humans have a long and wonderful history of transcending our beliefs about what’s possible. In the early days of the steam-powered train, learned scientists urged capping the speed at thirty miles per hour because they believed that the human body exploded at speeds greater than that."

"Finally some brave people risked going beyond that limiting belief and found that they did not explode. I think we’re approximately at that same stage of development with regard to our ability to feel good and have our lives go well.”

Are you willing?

Gay starts off the book by asking some tough questions..

Questions that on their face seem like easy 'yes' answers!

But what he's really doing here is illustrating a deeper point.

He's suggesting (and I think he's right) that a lot of us have put an upper limit on ourselves mentally.

Now why might we do that?

“In my view, saying yes to that question is one of the most courageous actions a human being can take. In the face of so much evidence that life hurts and is fraught with adversity on all fronts, having a willingness to feel good and have life go well all the time is a genuinely radical act.”

Essentially, saying yes to happiness, success and creative contribution is scary. 

First, when we admit that we want these things it opens us up to the disappointment of not getting them. 

Second, when we admit we want these things what we're really doing is committing to many more courageous acts.

Working for a long time potentially without payback.

Getting out of our comfort zone and talking to peolpe.

Many other small courageous acts we must do to live our highest level of happiness, success and creativity. 

How to tell you're not going to explode!

That train story just cracks me up!  I shared it with my whole team. 

But here is the cool thing, there isn't that much out there that hasn't been done!

If you're afraid you're going to explode (metaphorically hopefully) here is what we can do. 

1. Look for someone who's done what you want to do before. 

2. Read, listen or watch their life story. 

Ideally you find someone who had an even harder path than you. 

Accomplishing something in the same realm, even if what you're doing is truly novel.

3. Let that person be your train tester.  They are still here right?


“You know deep inside you that you will never be fully satisfied until you have anchored yourself in your Zone of Genius."  

"To do less would be to hold back, and long ago you made a handshake deal with the universe that you wouldn’t do that."

"The seductive comforts of success, though, can lull us into accepting the status quo. In that state of comfort, it’s easy to forget the deal you made with the universe to use yourself fully.”

Love it, handshake deal with the universe.

In exchange for this one experience we call life you've committed to not holding back.

  • For all we know this is the only chance we get!
  • Are you really willing to continue to accept life as it comes at you?  Or are you ready to live fully. Not holding back. 

This reminds me a lot of the stoic exercises we've spoken about on the channel. 

  • Momento Mori: "Remember you must die."
  • Is the stoic way of reminding you we've only got this one change.  Living up to your virtues in the right now is important. 

It's easy to get comfortable.. 

  • We get to a certain spot in life where it's easy to put our heads down for 5 years and realize we haven't moved at all!
  • Meditating on the fact that we all must die some day, we've only got one chance is a helpful reminder to live to our fullest each day. 


“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."

"Unfortunately, our thermostat setting usually gets programmed in early childhood, before we can think for ourselves. Once programmed, our Upper Limit thermostat setting holds us back from enjoying all the love, financial abundance, and creativity that’s rightfully ours." 

"It keeps us in our Zone of Competence or at best our Zone of Excellence. It prevents us from living in the ultimate destination of the journey—our Zone of Genius.”

What's your mental thermostat set at?

The bad news is..  Likely you didn't choose it.

  • It's like someone in the office (or your early childhood) has set it way too low!
  • Even when the temperature of your success, love or happiness rises - eventually that thermostat self regulates. 

The good news?  We can reset it!

First: we've got to be aware of the thermostat. 

Look back in your life, where did you self sabotage or not play your hardest when you were reaching your upper limit?

Look into all areas of your life; health, wealth, love and happiness are all great places to start.

Second: when you start heating up, reflect on how you're feeling.

If you're starting to feel uncomfortable don't worry that's normal remember?

We should spend time getting comfortable being uncomfortable.  Spending enough time at a higher zone eventually re-regulates our settings.


“Unless you’re very lucky or very enlightened, you’re likely to hear those nattering voices and feel those nagging fears within you."  

"They’re part of the deal. I won’t try to talk you out of them, and you shouldn’t try to talk yourself out of them, either. Just notice the voices and feel the fears. That’s all you need to do with them."

"You don’t need to rid yourself of them. Where would they go, anyway? All you need to do is acknowledge them, wave to them, let them know you’re aware of them. Then get busy learning to live in your Zone of Genius.”

Those voices in your head?  We've all got them.

You know the ones:

  • They are telling you that you can't do something.
  • Telling you that it's not possible, it's too scary or that you'd never succeed. 

Those are the body/mind way of regulating the temperature. 

  • Getting a little too happy?  WHAT IF IT ALL GOES AWAY.
  • Starting to be successful?  HERE COMES GREED.
  • Workouts going well?  SOMEONE ELSE IS BETTER.

How do we deal with this negative intrusive thoughts?

  • I love the way Gay puts it, wave to them. 
  • It's not possible to talk your way through those thoughts because they aren't actually logical.  They're driven by deep emotions who can't be reasoned with. 
  • So what do we do?  Get comfortable with them, see them for what they are.  Not truth.  But fear.


“There’s only one way to get through the fog of fear, and that’s to transform it into the clarity of exhilaration."

"One of the greatest pieces of wisdom I’ve ever heard comes from Fritz Perls, MD, the psychiatrist and founder of Gestalt therapy. He said, ‘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." 

"On the other hand, excitement turns into fear quickly if you hold your breath. When scared, most of us have a tendency to try to get rid of the feeling. We think we can get rid of it by denying or ignoring it, and we use holding our breath as a physical tool of denial.”

Fear and exhilaration are the same thing?

Well, the neurochemicals in your body are the same thing..  

  • What's the difference?  Gay points out here that we're missing the breathe.  
  • When we feel fear we hold our breath, causing us to lock up and not move. 

What do we do when we feal fear?

  • “The best advice I can give you is to take big, easy breaths when you feel fear. Feel the fear instead of pretending it’s not there. Celebrate it with a big breath, just the way you’d celebrate your birthday by taking a big breath and blowing out all the candles on your cake." 
  • "Do that, and your fear turns into excitement. Do it more, and your excitement turns into exhilaration. I find it very empowering to know that I’m in charge of the exhilaration I feel as I go through life. I bet you will, too.”

The Five Second Rule

  • I first hear of this link between fear and excitement in the 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. 
  • She's got a great way of describing how she dealt with her fear of speaking on stage.
  • Reframing that fear into excitement, using it to keep her playing at a high level. 


“I explained that while breakthroughs are important and thrilling, it’s the subsequent stabilization and integration of the breakthrough into daily life that really allow the changes to be permanent.”

Ever have your mind blown by a new idea?

This happens to me all the time..

  • Reading a good book and I think 'oh man why didn't I think of that before'
  • This can feel like you're learning something new..  Something lifechanging!

The sad fact here is, that's useless!

  • This is something we speak a lot about in my Learning Masterclass. 
  • Information by itself is useless, it feels good to find something new for the first time. 

Real change happens through integration.

Taking that new information and putting it into place in your life is the only thing that matters.

Does this mean everything you learn needs to be implemented in your life? 

No.  But it means you need to be a discerning enough learner to pick out what matters.

How to make real change:

Integrate a practice into your life, learn in the trenches.  Throw out what doesn't work and keep what does. 

This for me, is where a coach comes in.  Coaches might have new information for you yes.  

But often, as a coach I actually find my clients know the right answers.  But they need help integrating them into their lives. 

That's what the coaching relationship really is, a way to implement and integrate information and make it useful.  It's why I have a coach and think everyone should. 


“Behind every communication problem is a sweaty ten-minute conversation you don’t want to have." 

"However, the moment you work up the courage to have it, you collect an instant reward in relief as well as open up a flow of communication that will allow you to resolve the situation.”

What else is there to say?

Gay and I are willing to bet that whatever communication problem you're having..

  • Can be solved by having a 10 minute conversation you're currently afraid of.
  • Even communication problems that have been dragging out for months!

Want to move past the communication problem?

  • I find it useful to call it out. 
  • Let the other person know you're going to be 100% real about what you're feeling and ask them to do the same. 


“Worrying is usually a sign that we’re Upper-Limiting."  

"It is usually not a sign that we’re thinking about something useful. The crucial sign that we’re worrying unnecessarily is when we’re worrying about something we have no control over."

"Worrying is useful only if it concerns a topic we can actually do something about, and if it leads to our taking positive action right away. All other worry is just Upper Limit noise, designed by our unconscious to keep us safely within our Zone of Excellence or Zone of Competence.”

Are you worrying or regulating?

Remember the thermostat we talked about before?

One of the ways the mind tries to turn down the temperature when we're running higher than what we think we deserve, worry.

The mind will say things like: 

"What if XYZ happens"

"This is all too good to be true"

This type of worry is 100% toxic and we should do our best to call it what it is. 

The other side of worry.. 

Worrying about something we can control does have it's utility. 

Worry about a presentation drives you to practice.

Worrying about a business drives you to work hard.

That type of worry has it's usefulness.

The key here is to be aware of when the worry is useful (helping you prepare for something). 

And when the worry is useless or harmful (running your mind over something which you don't control). 

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