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3 Self-Imposed Ceilings of High Achievers

3 Self Imposed Ceilings of High Achievers

Hot Roast Beef with Gravy??

During my senior year of high school, I never came off the football field. I was a receiver, cornerback, kick returner and punt returner.

I was one of the best-conditioned guys on the team, at least during the practices…

Because it was confounding when, for the 3rd consecutive game, my team had to call an injury time out because I was suffering massive calf cramps.

You know, the type where your foot is agonizingly stuck in the pointed position and the only relief is to literally grab and yank it back into place.

So, for the 3rd consecutive week, Trainer Bob had to race onto the field to tend to my suddenly delicate calves.

Perplexed, Trainer Bob says “this never happens to you during practice…not even during 3-a-days.”

“I know, this SUCKS.”

“What are you eating before the games?”

To which I reply, “a hot roast beef with gravy sub from the Italian Carousel.”

I’m dead serious.

Trainer Bob, genuinely one of the kindest and most-beloved high school staffers ever to walk the halls of Ramsey High School, simply responded

“Are you (bleeping) kidding me?!?”


Blind Spots = Self-Imposed Ceilings

I’m pretty sure this story illustrates how ignorant I was about nutrition.

I legitimately thought a hot roast beef with gravy sub would provide me the necessary protein to be a champion on game day.

Was I a first-class dumbass? Most certainly.

Was I also well-intentioned and just wildly misguided? Most certainly.

This isn’t a conversation about nutrition, as much as I’d love to have that conversation with you. Rather, I’m addressing a much broader context of challenges:

Your Blind Spots that create Self Imposed Ceilings.

As a high-performance coach to individuals and companies, I see so many well-intentioned yet wildly misguided behaviors that are routinely sidelining your ability to perform and expand at the speed with which you want.


Here are a few big ones:

  1. Feeling Guilty for Wanting More

“I feel like my husband will take it personally if I tell him I’m bored and unfulfilled with my life.”

“Everyone tells me I’ve done so well for myself. Maybe I should just be grateful for everything I already have instead of wanting more.”

“I’m responsible for so many other people’s wants and needs. I can’t just abandon them…but I’ve never got any time for me, and I can feel my resentment mounting.”

Guilt like this will keep you stuck in a state of drift for years, or a lifetime.

Guilt is nothing more than the “shoulds” and “supposed tos” that you’ve allowed someone else to force upon you. That’s their expectations and beliefs, not your own.
Operating from guilt and sensed-obligation is one of the lowest forms of energy you can come from. Your force will be diluted and the lack of authenticity will toxify everything you touch.


Plus, it’s impossible to design a future you can’t wait to live into when you’re carrying a guilt albatross around your neck.


  1. Mistaking Compulsion for Drive

As a high achiever, one of the top-shelf compliments you can receive is someone acknowledging you as “being driven.”

In my experience, however, it’s rarely drive that’s fueling your behavior…it’s often unintentional compulsion.

Unintentional compulsion is the unconscious need to keep pushing, performing and achieving…without the ability to identify why or for what you’re doing it all for.

It’s like you’re being commanded to do something, not of your own free will.

Drive, on the other hand, is the conscious intentional choice to do something when you know precisely why it matters in the context of your life.

Drive is purpose based.

Compulsion is fear based.

Here’s how you can tell the difference:

If your wins are fleeting, and your losses are extra painful, you’re operating from compulsion.
If your wins are deeply satisfying and your losses are welcomed catalysts for growth, you’re driven.


  1. Your Language Does Not Equal Their Language

When I was at NYU for my MBA, my marketing professor had our class play the following game:

Write down a percentage that corresponds with these words:

  • Always
  • Sometimes
  • Never

For example, if John were to say he “always” did something, how often – in terms of a percentage – did he do it?

Our class of 50 people had astonishingly different answers.

The range for “always” was 5% to 100% of the time.

When I hear “always,” I take that to mean 100% of the time.

Reggie was the guy who said “always” meant 5% of the time. He explained that “No one ever does what they say they’re going to do.”

Can you imagine the communication breakdown between Reggie and someone who thought “always” means 100% of the time?

What if they were boss and employee?

Husband and wife?

Parent and child?

Could you imagine the potential implications of this language barrier as you extend it to entire organizations and ecosystems of people?

No wonder we all feel misunderstood.

As a coach and facilitator for diverse groups of people, I’m constantly double-clicking on people’s use of language so I can understand how they experience the words they use, and how they interpret the words used by their co-workers, spouses, children etc.

I have the same kind of Trainer-Bob-discovering-I’m-eating-hot-roast-beef-with-gravy-type-of-amazement when I unpack how much discrepancy there is between two people’s meanings for the same words.

If you rarely find yourself asking this question, “tell me what (fill in the blank with the word/phrase in question) means to you,” then I can guarantee you that you’re unconsciously creating communication conflicts.

And it’s keeping you stuck.


Awaken to Your Blind Spots

Here are 2 of my favorite information sources for to create Intentional Awakenings to your blind spots:

  1. Book: The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield
  2. Podcast: Impact Theory by Tom Bilyeu

My book, Design Your Future, also has a roadmap for avoiding the trappings above.



PS – If you’re looking for a speaker to illuminate the Blind Spots and destroy the Self Imposed Ceilings in your business, here’s a list of my speaking topics.



Dominick Quartuccio
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