Trust me I am becoming a resistance expert! As I grow my mindful business and choose to show up to make a difference, my resistance gets louder and louder. I suspect that If you are reading this, you probably have a pretty good idea of what I am talking about!
Now let me tell you, there is a non negotiable rule for whoever wants to grow as an individual and make a difference in the world: YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE NOT TO GIVE INTO THE RESISTANCE. That’s what will set you apart from the crowd. Skills and talent alone will only get you so far. Your Mindset is what will break you or make you!
It applies to every single area of your life. Starting my own business journey has really shed light on this very simple truth: your results are a reflection of your mindset. And the more you choose to grow, the more those ugly limiting beliefs will show up in the form of resistance. In this article I take a look at why this happens, how to spot the resistance, and how to move through it.
Alright then, let’s delve in. Shall we?
WHY DO WE SELF-SABOTAGE?
So why is it that when we are about to do something completely different, something that will actually add value to our lives through a decision, a project, a speech etc. resistance invariably kicks in?
Because by choosing a new path/map for ourselves, we are throwing our unconscious mind off track. Our primitive brain is simply freaked out! In his excellent book Linchpin, Seth Godin goes into great detail in explaining how our Lizard Brain tries to keep us safe, by keeping us small. I highly recommend you read his work.
For now, let’s take public speaking as an example. It is one of the highest ranked fears! Is the prospect of being judged and criticised really the worst thing that could happen to us? Well given that once upon a time being rejected by your tribe was a sure death sentence, to your unconscious mind (your 95%) public speaking effectively still puts you at risk of death.
The reason your Lizard Brain wants you to fit in and go unnoticed, is because it is trying to save you. Anything that can potentially lead you to stand out like presenting a new project to your boss, standing up for your values, speaking your truth in a family meeting, asking your new crush on a date etc. is going to produce some “unconscious resistance”. And, that is when self-sabotage comes into play. Feel familiar?
Your 5% (your conscious self) obviously knows there are no lions ready to jump on you anymore. But unless you make your unconscious fears conscious by observing and detaching from them, you WILL ABORT all meaningful changes. Chances are the risks you take by doing that are far greater in the long run.
Times have changed and fitting in is not keeping you safe anymore. The world now requires you to have the courage & vulnerability to speak up, follow your heart and expose yourself! It’s about being creative, putting yourself out there, innovating and making a real impact. The only way forward is on the other side of resistance.
SPOTTING THE RESISTANCE TO OVERCOME IT
Notice I said spotting, not judging. this means cultivating self-awareness and simply getting good at noticing what is going on. So we can learn from our thoughts and detach from them. It requires compassion. It’s not about adding resistance to the resistance. Understanding and accepting where you are at is crucial to overcoming any negative behavioural pattern. Now that you know that it is a form of unconscious protection, you can see it for what it is and choose another outcome.
A lot of the time, the issue is that we are unaware that we are acting out of fear. Learn to pay attention! Below is a list of common self-sabotaging behaviours that all indicate that RESISTANCE is creeping up.
1. Ever had a project to hand in, an email to write, an important phone call to make and all of a sudden you find a million things to do instead? You check your social media and emails a zillion times, clean your desk, flat, cat’s bowl, spend hours doing research on the internet, phone your mum, help your best friend with her work etc. PROCRASTINATION is another word for FEAR/RESISTANCE and usually comes and in hand with perfectionism (fear of judgment, albeit lions).
2. You make up all sorts of excuses to talk yourself out of something. Watch out for those BUTS. They are not a good sign. Here are some typical ones: “I don’t have enough money” (really? trust me you’ll find a way). “I don’t have any good ideas” (sure you do. It’s acting on them that you are really worried about). I don’t know what to do (No one really does! How about just starting with something and taking it from there). “I don’t have the right education, degree etc.” (how about you check the web and your local library?), “I was not born with a silver spoon, I’m too old, young etc.” (What??? please go check the web again and find yourself some examples of people who didn’t let resistance get in their way - And no it’s not because they got lucky… it’s because they showed up and didn’t feed into the resistance. All of these excuses are not objectively true. They are just opinions getting in your way and keeping you small.
3. When given an opportunity to speak, do a presentation, work on a new exciting project, go to a great event, you say no. Alternatively, you unconsciously do everything in your power to prove that you are not really worthy of that opportunity.
4. You always put yourself and your work down: believing it’s about gifts and talents, not skills. And, think you have neither.
5. You suffer anxiety about what to wear to an event, date etc or use your appearance as an excuse not to show up.
6. You talk a lot but don’t put anything you boast about into practice, or you never finish what you start and move on to the next idea instead.
7. You spend your time criticising people who are taking action, instead of taking action yourself.
8. You are constantly seeking approval and worrying about what others will think of you. You read your work 50 000 times, edit it a billion times, and compulsively check your social media for approval. Bottom line is you don’t speak your truth & follow your purpose, because you are afraid people won’t like it and you choose to conform rather than to stand for your values.
9. You don’t meet your deadline. Late is the first step to never.
Do any of the above resonate? Come on be honest! Next time you catch yourself doing any of these, you know you are on the right track to moving forward.
MOVING THROUGH RESISTANCE
As mentioned earlier on, moving through the resistance is what will set you apart. Because, the truth is most people don’t get that far. In his thought provoking book, You Are the Placebo, Dr. Joe Dispenza refers to it as crossing the river of change. Crossing that river is not fun, but boy is it worth it! And, anyone can do it if they put their mind to it. If you are finding it hard, I recommend you read Dr. Dispenza's book.
For now, here are some tips that have helped me along the way.
1. EMBRACE RESISTANCE AS A SIGN YOU ARE ACTUALLY ONTO SOMETHING GOOD! The greater the resistance, the greater the “risk” and therefore the greater the possible outcome. Keep that in mind and use it as a prompt to move forward. Follow Seth Godin’s advice: “when resistance tells you not to listen to something, read something, attend something, Go. Do it!”
2. HAVE COMPASSION FOR THAT SCARED PART OF YOU AND DETACH FROM IT. Here are two really good techniques to help you achieve that:
3. EMBRACE FAILURE. Get rid of that outdated belief, most of us were taught at school, that failure must be avoided at all costs! Perfectionism will get you nowhere in life. If you are not prepared to fail, you will never truly expand your horizons and improve. Yes, you will fail at some point and no you will not die in the process! Being prepared to make mistakes is the number one habit to cultivate, to learn and succeed at anything. Take, Thomas Edison who invented the light bulb. He failed thousands of times before getting it right. This was his attitude: “I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” It’s just a matter of perspective! Adopt that attitude.
As a recovering perfectionist, I’m always having to keep that tendency at bay. If you want to read more on how to overcome it head over to my post on the subject .
4. USE ACTION TO COUNTERACT PROCRASTINATION. I recently heard a great line: “get addicted to action over procrastination.” Your goal is to get things done, focus on that! Limit distractions to a minimum. In the case of a project, once you have set yourself a deadline, your focus should be on completing and that means not getting yourself distracted. I personally put my phone on airplane mode and I love using the Pomodoro technique. You set a timer for 25 minutes and work through. Then you get a 5 minute break to walk around, have some water etc. Repeat for a total of 4 times, by the end of which you are allowed a longer break with a reward. Then repeat.
5. COMPLETE AND SHIP! Set yourself a deadline and stick to it, no matter what. Try and make it short. No excuses, when the deadline is up, the project is done. It’s also something the American coach Brooke Castillo refers to as the B- technique. Don’t aim for an A, aim for a B- so you can get things done and other people can benefit from your project. The same would apply to so many other areas of your life. Take your appearance. The objective is to get out the door and attend that event, regardless whether your outfit is perfect. What we want is others benefiting from your company!
6. CHOOSE TO FIT IN OR STAND OUT. You can’t do both. You will never please everyone. Besides, People pleasing is just another way of lying. The intention behind what you do is what matters, what others might think of it is out of your control. Moreover, what you perceive people might be thinking about you is just a reflection of you. The more you believe in yourself, the more others will too. And, those who try to put you down won’t offend you as easily. By all means take constructive criticism into account, but do not waste your energy on the haters. Treat them as you would the resistance: a reflection of your own insecurities and a sure sign that you are on the right path!
7. UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS YOUR DUTY TO SHOW UP AS YOUR BEST SELF. The world needs you to stand in your truth and embody your full potential. Keeping yourself small does not benefit anyone. I believe this famous quote by Marianne Williamson says it all, Don ́t you? “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.” Someone once told me that false humility is the ego at work, keeping us small. I believe it to be a great piece of wisdom!
8. BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Know when to stop, take breaks and allow that creativity to come to and through you. It's not all hustle. We need space to clear our minds and detach from the outcome. Spend time in nature, include pleasant activities in your to do list and make space for play. Trust the process. You do not have complete control. Allow for the bigger picture to unfold.
And there you have it! Although your mind might be wild with fear, know that you can absolutely handle resistance and use it as a stepping-stone to show up as your best self!
Think about it: how would you act & what would you do, if you were no longer afraid of being judged? Picture yourself at the end of your life: how would you like to be remembered? For making a difference or playing safe & staying small? What is stopping you from going ahead and living your life to the full now?
Life is too short for regrets. And you know what they say? People often regret what they didn't do most.
Transform Self Sabotage to Success; Hypnosis to Release Limiting Beliefs and Subconscious Blocks
Hi, I´m Dannie
A fellow soul seeker, blogger & certified BioNeuroEmotion® (BNE) practitioner who is passionate about growing, self actualising & learning in order to lead a more coherent/conscious life and help others do the same.