Whenever I work with a client, the deep work of coaching starts when I help her navigate the unexpected “swamp” into which she inevitably stumbles.
What seemed clear, possible and wonderful when first envisioned becomes foggy and hazy in the distance, perhaps even impossibly far away.
Had she imagined it?
Who was she to think she could deserve or achieve something so satisfying?
This is so predictable.
When you leave your comfort zone, when you start to dream big (or even just make a small commitment to improving your life or health or self in some way), it will happen. You start to take steps forward in a positive direction, and then fear, doubt and “the voice” show up. Without fail.
Two of the very best tools to develop, that will help you advance in life and achieve the things you dream of, are curiosity and awareness.
Most people let their fears, self-doubt, and the accusations of “the voice” discourage or paralyze them, instead of detaching, stepping back and saying: “Hey – wait a minute! What if this isn’t true? Where might this be coming from?”
Helping someone through this inevitable phase is so fulfilling. It’s so powerful to get these inner doubts or voices out into the open, and to examine them in the clear light of day.
Often, I’ll jointly discover with my clients that the negative thoughts or doubts that arise about their ability, worthiness, or right to do what they long to do, are actually the voice of a parent or influential adult that echoes in their head. Usually that echo has been holding them back since childhood.
Another source for that discouraging voice can be negative messaging from society. You’re too old. You’re not enough. It’s too late. Great things don’t happen to people like you.
Other people experience it as a more sinister, spiritual source, a form of darkness that holds us back from doing what will bring more light into the world. I believe in that, that there is an enemy of our souls that does not want to see us accomplish anything for good.
A client I’m working with right now is remarkably talented and very successful already on multiple levels. Yet as she begins what for her is a dream project, there is a voice she hears that clearly says “You can’t do it.” Other people in her personal life have also started creating chaos, which is making it hard to find time for this precious project.
We didn’t have to dig very deep to discover that the origin of the voice in her life was her mother, who had repeatedly told her that she was a screw-up. This was a woman with a high level degree who had done very well in a male-dominated profession, yet still in her heart she believed she was a failure who would never amount to anything.
People in general, for some reason, love to tell you why you’ll fail, why you’re crazy, why it’s too late, why you’ll become poor. Or, they’ll give you examples of others who tried what you want to try and failed. I don’t know why that is, though in some cases they seem to simply be expressing what it is that holds them back and projecting it onto you and your dreams. When you take steps to change your life and it can trigger all kinds of stuff in others.
Deciding to live the “unlived life within you” can be a lonely process. When we’re alone with that voice, or with our doubts and fears, they can seem huge.
In some cases an obstacle or argument against your plan might be valid (I’m not ever advocating delusion or being ridiculously unrealistic) but in the majority of cases, doubts, fears and disbelief are just an illusion.
In the movie “Finding Joe” about mythologist Joseph Campbell’s interpretation of the Hero’s Journey, the hero discovers that when he finally faces the dragon that he has feared all his life…there is actually just a little pipsqueak child inside the scary dragon costume.
Cultivate that curiosity and awareness and start to notice how your doubts, fears or inner critic show up and speak into your life and heart.
Get those negative influences out into the light of day and start pouring power, strength and truth all over what’s holding you back.
(the above is an excerpt from the third module of my 12 month Live a Life You Love Club program for women, “Conquering Fear, Limiting Beliefs and the Inner Critic”. For information on how to join the 2016 Live a Life You Love Club program, which launches January 4, visit www.livealifeyoulovevipclub.com )