Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel? Just call it a day? Forget about it all? Or worse – put off doing the work for so long that you end up sabotaging the opportunity? Well, let me tell you a secret: Anyone who has done anything worth sharing about has felt the same way. Let’s take it one step further: If you truly desire to create work that reflects the contribution that you were made to offer in this life, you’re going to come up against resistance. Every. Single. Time. Because you can’t see the light of what you have to offer without the dark. Period.
Now, I know that seems kind of depressing, right? After all, creating is supposed to be colorful and magical! Achieving the next stage of your offerings should feel good, right? The answer is a big, fat, “Yes, AND.” You will have colorful, magical experiences, however, to expect these to happen without some discomfort and even a little messiness in the process will lead you to the quitting place faster than a fish trying to climb a tree.
I recently heard a conversation where actor/comedian Bill Hader told a story about Jeff Bridges advising him to think of his anxiety as his “little buddy” and befriend the voice of fear, worry and resistance to understand how to better attend to it. I know this game SO well. The more I’ve gotten to know my own voice of resistance and self-doubt, who some of you know as “Cheryle,” the easier it becomes to work with her. The mistake I’ve made in the past was expecting “Cheryle” to stay quiet. Self-doubt is a mechanism of the ego-mind and the one thing our ego is not wired for is silence. I used to believe that if I worked hard enough, I’d earn the right to bypass that part of my psyche. I learned the hard way that I can’t beat “Cheryle,” but I CAN learn to work with her.
Below, I’ve listed a few of the strategies that I use to work with the resistance that is bound to show up before any new endeavor in my work. Read below for some ideas to help you work with your own voice of self-doubt knowing that the sooner you learn how to work with the dark, the sooner your light can shine!
It seems simple enough, but often, calling out your ego-voice can be a way of stopping your storytelling before it starts. The reason why I named my voice “Cheryle,” is to give it a persona that was different than that of my true self and true intentions. My intention is not to put out teaching or creative work that is apologetic or small – both of which are themes that Cheryle is comfortable with. Her purpose as a manifestation of my ego mind is to keep me safe – I get that. But she doesn’t always understand the full picture and usually shows up as reactive, rather than responsive. If I call her out and say “Oh hey, Cheryle, I was wondering when you were going to show up!” it gives me the opportunity to see the voice of self-doubt as one tiny part of the whole as well as something that I have influence over.
I’ve got to believe that my ego mind’s appearance is triggered by some level of discomfort within the growth process. I know that when my ego is uncomfortable, she wants ALL OF THE ATTENTION. So, I give her some. “What do you need, Cheryle?” I ask. “What would make you more comfortable?” Often, it’s my own self asking for reassurance about the support systems I have in place or needing to pause to check in with my intentions. This inquiry allows me to tend to the doubt with some healthy self-soothing and maybe even take a break from the task at hand. Simply put, it gives me space to work with my doubts instead of letting them grow.
Cheryle is not wrong in her showing up. The ego mind will show up anytime it perceives there to be a great risk or lack of safety within a situation. I’ve been through enough growth-based situations to understand that I’m wired with a mechanism that allows me to check in and see if I’m actually engaging into a project, relationship or situation that’s in service of my intentions. Listening to this voice as a member of the board, instead of the chairwoman, allows me to check in and see if where I might course correct. Maybe I’ve gotten caught up in the glamour of an opportunity or maybe I’m not seeing the benefit to the discomfort. Paying attention to Cheryle gives me the opportunity to change directions if needed. For that, I’m grateful!
The truth is, no amount of hard work, special skills, letters after your name, money or praise can silence the voice of self-doubt. You’re the only one who can work with it because you’re the only one who can hear it. I know first hand how difficult it can be to begin working with your own resistance. The first step is simply the willingness to start attending to it. I hope some of these strategies will help you begin your own process because you’ve got important work to do, baby!
Drop me a comment below and let me know how this post reached you?
P.S. The entire reason I created The Teach From The Heart Membership is to help movement teachers attend to the issues of growth and the self-doubt that comes with the process. Check out the membership HERE to learn more. I’d love to have an opportunity to help you on your own pathway through monthly offerings of mind, body and spirit support!