Self-Sabotage, Success & Why Mindset Is Everything
Sometimes, when we struggle in one part of our biz it feels like EVERYTHING starts to unravel. I had massive resistance this week over sending out emails. Something we do everyday, right? And yet, I was dragging my feet, dreading the send button (taunting me with its orange rectangular finality) and otherwise finding every other meaningless task to fill my time.
What I couldn't figure out was...why?
And soon this feeling of sluggish, unmotivated inertia crept into everything else. I skipped posting to social media for a couple of days. I slowed way down on my usual engagement in my favourite online spaces. My writing felt slow & burdensome. Even client work began dragging.
I tried meditating.
I tried journaling.
I rationalised with feelings of exhaustion & sadness from the funeral last week.
I waffled between pushing through (which felt arduous) & compassionate time to breathe (which felt like giving in to the resistance monster).
I even questioned if I was getting depressed.
All because I couldn't send out some emails? (Seriously?! I mean WTF?!)
So instead of spiralling further into self-doubt & despair I did something radical...I asked for help.
Obvious, but I'm telling you this is so difficult for me. I'm still just learning this new form of vulnerability.
And I got help. (see how that works?) I hopped onto the weekly call with my business coach and the other amazing female entrepreneurs & volunteered to be a guinea pig. I broke down (eventually after insisting I didn't know what was wrong with me & then offering up the safe answers & then allowing the truth to be heard).
Tears & "aha" moments after days of denial & refusing to "go there". It was brilliant. I was completely embraced by everyone. And even more miraculously they were all able to see lessons for themselves thanks to my shit!
So, why couldn't I send those damn emails? Why couldn't I take the actions I knew were stepping stones to building a successful business?
Because success is terrifying. It brings change & the unknown. It alters the fabrics of the relationships that I cherish the most. And anything that's scary naturally induces paralysis. Just like failure has its own particular essence of fear...for me, so does success.
So it becomes easier to do just enough to keep treading water. So the business doesn't fail (& I don't have to face that fear). But it doesn't take off either (so I don't have to deal with all the inevitable changes that will come). How's that for a tasty little mindfuck? Are you starting to see why I believe mindset is everything?
This revelation felt huge you guys. To know I was afraid of success was one thing - I could've told you that before. But to understand why felt completely different. I wasn't sending the emails, or it turns out, a laundry-list of other things to market my biz because deep down I was afraid of the changes those actions might bring - because what if this whole thing worked...exactly as I'm hoping it does. Sounds like a silly thing to be afraid but there you have it, self-sabotage at its finest. Disguised as resistance and wrapped up in fear.
Has the resistance completely vanished? No. Those neural pathways of fear took years to write and one tearful "I get it" moment won't undo all of it but it's a beginning. I know the beliefs I want to change. I can recognise the particular quality of this fear when it rises in my belly. And I can stop predicting the future with a worst-case-senario-brace-for-impact mindset and begin to see change, choices and success as the positive things they are.
Incidentally, I've discovered I rarely stop making things - even when I'm stuck. I've been playing around in Canva with fonts & colours. Downloading from Unsplash with the lust of a wannabe photographer & snapping sunrises with my cell phone. I even did another watercolour painting on actual canvas.
Do you ever switch creative mediums when you get stuck? Are you naturally called to create in a space where the stakes are lower but you can satisfy your maker mojo? Or do you prefer to leave it all behind & get out into nature? Or curl up with a bowl of chips & some Netflix? I did ALL of the above this week but I'd love to hear about what you do when resistance gets real in the comments.
Also, are you more afraid of failure or success? Or are you super lucky & struggle with both like me? Lay it on me, girlfriend.