Is it a test or a sign?

Sep 15, 2016

Business woman pushing a big problem to the sideYou have decided to take a big step in your business. Maybe you are hiring a new team member. Moving into an office space. Investing in coaching or training. Launching a new program. Letting go of an old program.

Then BAM! As soon as you make that decision something pops up to try and stop you.

It might be something in the business – losing a client or team member, a sudden drop in sales or your website gets hacked.

It might be something in your personal life – you get sick or injured, get into a car accident or have a family emergency.

The default response when this happens is to question your decision:

“Is this a sign that I shouldn’t do X?”

We start to worry and wonder…

  • Is now the right time for his?
  • Maybe I’m not ready for this after all?
  • There’s no way I can do this now that I have this problem to deal with!

Could it be a sign? Maybe, but it’s more likely to be a test.

In the book The Big Leap, author Gay Hendricks defines this as the Upper Limit Problem.

Each of has an internal thermometer for how much success, wealth, happiness, love, and intimacy we’ll let ourselves experience. That’s our upper limit setting – our personal ‘success comfort zone’.

When we make a decision to go beyond that upper limit setting – to pursue our next level of success and happiness – our subconscious will try to stop us, creating problems that seem HUGE, inviting us to drop back to the old, familiar place where we feel in control (and safe!)

For example, a client of mine shared this in an email just this morning:

“I swear I am having some kind of upper limit issue right now. I was ready to make some bold changes in my business and my life in general – then had a bike wreck and got stitches – got sick after that and got diagnosed with pneumonia this week.  Apparently getting unstuck and having breakthroughs is scarier than I knew!”

Put simply – the problem may look like a ‘good’ reason to stop, but it’s probably your Upper Limit Problem kicking in.

So how do you know whether or not this is a SIGN to stop or this is a TEST to work through?

There is a simple question to ask yourself:

“Do I really want X?

Do I really want to hire that person so that I can clear my plate of the stuff I don’t want to do? Do I want to get into that office space? Do I want to work with that coach to shift my business? Do I really want to work with this new type of client? Offer this new program?

OR is it something that is a could/should/would? Is it something that other people want from you or for you, but that you don’t really want for yourself?

If you DO want it then this is a TEST. And your only decision at this point is:

Am I going to let it stop me or not?

Whenever we decide we want MORE, God will check us on our desires. I look at this moment as God simply saying:

“Alright Tina, you are telling me you want X and I’m here to support you with that. But I need to know you are serious and committed so let me throw a little something at you to see if it will stop you…”

Most problems are finite. They have an end date. We work through them and move on from them. In this moment it might seem HUGE and all-encompassing, but this too shall pass.

If we let the test stop us – if we backtrack on our desires – then the problem doesn’t go away. It just shows up again next time, maybe a bit bigger and louder. This can turn into a destructive cycle of one step forward, two steps back every time you let the problem win.

If you really want X then you need to pass the test. Keep going. Have faith. Fight through it kicking and screaming if need be, knowing that every test you take makes you stronger. Every time you step into your fear it gets you ready for that next level of success.

What if you don’t really want X? Then yes, it could be a sign to stop… but in my experience the big problems don’t show up as a sign, they show up as a test. Be careful that you don’t mistake apathy for a lack of desire. That you don’t allow your fear to mislead you into thinking that you don’t really want X anyhow.

If it’s big enough for God to send the test, then it’s showing up for a reason.

Now is the time, if you let it be.



  1. Lisa Smith

    Thanks for pulling this article together, Tina. It is a very common issue. I experience it and my clients experience it. I’ve been meaning to write a post like this, but now that you have, I can just share it instead of writing my own (for now anyway). Of course, I’ll credit you 🙂

    • tinaforsyth

      Glad to be of service. 😉


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