After 15 years of being a full-time entrepreneur, and seeing how my clients as well as myself struggle, I’ve noticed that we reach a point when these traditional productivity systems stop working. And after much inquiry, I’ve arrived at a deep knowing that what REALLY stops us in those situations is our emotional blockages.
There are days – sometimes even weeks or months – when you feel sluggish, overwhelmed, totally devoid of passion and enthusiasm for the Great Work that you’re doing here on this planet. And that in that mental and emotional place, your productivity suffers. Your goals go un-accomplished. Your to-do list piles up. You may have all kinds of great ideas, but find yourself virtually incapable of taking action on any of them.
In other words, you fall prey to your Resistance.
Resistance is what you feel when your emotional, spiritual and energetic blockages rear their ugly head. It’s sometimes called procrastination, some people experience it as writer’s block, and many entrepreneurs simply experience it as a generalized feeling of overwhelm.
Whatever you call it it’s that feeling you get when looking at your to-do list just makes you want to go crawl under the covers and hide.
And what do you do when THAT happens? How do you get unstuck, and back to feeling enthusiastic? Get back to a place where you’re moving forward with purpose and passion, taking deliberate steps and seeing the fruits of your labor, in the form of increased sales, more customers and clients, and a restored sense of BEING everything you’re meant to be?
Most of the business wisdom out there – which, for the most part, has come from men and rather masculine women – doesn’t really address this problem of Resistance. It doesn’t acknowledge or try to solve the debilitating problem of our own emotional obstacles. At best, we get advice like, “Feel your fear and do it anyway,” or “Do now what other people won’t, so that later you can do what other people can’t.”
The reason is that men – or at least the masculine way of doing things – doesn’t really know what to do with emotions. Men’s brains can compartmentalize far more than women’s brains can, so they just put the yucky feeling that they don’t understand and don’t know how to deal with over there in a box by itself, leaving them perfectly capable of getting back to being focused and deliberate about accomplishing the task at hand.
Steven Pressfield’s classic book, The War of Art, is a prime example of this. His advice for how to overcome your Resistance is basically to force your Resistance to knuckle under, in the face of your superior power and will. Sit in your chair 4 hours/day and FORCE yourself to absolutely, positively, not give in to your Resistance.
A very masculine approach. And it’s great advice, if it works for you. And certainly there are lots of people for whom it does work.
But for those of us who are sensitive, intuitive, emotional, feminine – that approach of muscling through our Resistance – or any of the problems in our life and business – just doesn’t feel good, because our brains can’t compartmentalize that way.
If we had a fight with someone we care about in the morning, the feelings leftover from that fight make us feel bad and unproductive the rest of the day, or even the rest of the week. And the only cure is to somehow resolve the feelings that got triggered by the fight, thus removing them from our system so they stop interfering with everything else we want to do and accomplish.
Apply that basic understanding to our business, and we can easily see that anytime we’re feeling sluggish and unproductive, there must be an emotional reason. Even if we’re emotionally feeling good, yet somehow we’re just not moving forward on our goals and objectives, something’s going on that’s got a self-limiting emotion coursing through our system, clogging everything. The emotion could be sadness, overwhelm, depression – the ones that really make you want to grab a carton of ice cream and a spoon. But they can also be less-intense emotions like self-doubt, or confusion or even hyper-excitement and an overflow of ideas and visions and plans.
Whatever the self-limiting emotion is, if you can figure out what caused it in the first place, you can pretty immediately clear it from your system and you return to being productive, enthusiastic, on-purpose, etc.
The difficulty of course is that the cause of our self-limiting emotion is rarely something as easy to figure out as “I had a fight with my sister this morning.” In fact most of the time the cause isn’t any one incident. The cause of the self-limiting emotion is actually usually a thought pattern, or belief, that you’ve developed over years and years of experiences. Something in the recent past may have triggered those thoughts or beliefs and brought them to the surface in a way that they’re totally standing in your way, but the true cause is deeper and farther reaching.
I gave several examples of how this works in the video about how to Heal Your Sales Wounds. Sales Wounds are, fundamentally, self-limiting emotions caused by beliefs and thought patterns about money, salesmanship and success that you’ve developed over time. And like all self-limiting emotions, these Sales Wounds create Resistance to accomplishing your goals and tackling your to-do list.
Now when a man’s Resistance flares up and threatens to derail his productivity – or any Masculine person – his approach is to vanquish it, or force it to submit to his will. None of this deep introspective discussion about FEELINGS. Because not only do Masculine people not like to explore their feelings, they aren’t particularly good at it. (Of course some men are exceptionally emotionally intelligent – but they’re certainly the exception).
Those of us who are more feminine in our orientation typically have high emotional intelligence. We’re extremely skillful at asking deep probing questions, really listening to the answers, and seeking solutions that benefit everyone. Not only are we good at doing this with other people, we can do it with ourselves, and the parts of ourselves that are in conflict. We can get into dialogue with the part of us that wants to get out there and conquer the world, along with the part of us that wants to sit at home and cry under the covers, while someone else fixes everything for us. Having listened to the needs of these two conflicting parts of ourselves, we can figure out a way to resolve the conflict and thus eliminate the Resistance.
Not only do we sensitive, intuitive, feminine types of people have the desire to do this kind of deep introspective work, we’re good at it. We can ask ourselves, why am I feeling this way? What’s stopping me? What do I need to change to clear these internal blockages? and trust that this process of inquiry will actually be successful at clearing our Resistance so that we can get back to living our high-octane lives.
All that said, it’s not like it’s EASY. Our Resistance is still a beast, and it can still be very difficult to see it and work through it, when we’re up to our noses in it. Right?
By definition, when our Resistance is large and in charge, we’re not connected to the greatness inside of ourselves. We feel small, weak, vulnerable, helpless, anxious, self-doubting – not at all like the capable, accomplished, powerful leaders we show up as on our best days. When we’re in our Resistance, we need help.
So essentially that’s what I offer – tools that help you notice where your fast-moving, goal-oriented, visionary self is getting tripped up by your Resistance. Both when it comes to your sales and marketing – putting your message and your work out in the world – as well as your to-do list as a whole.
Of course my private mentoring clients get this kind of help in spades. But even if you’re not a private client, you can get a tremendous amount of help from the digital online program I offer called, Don’t Get Stuck Again: Everything You Need to Know About Getting Stuff Done But Have Been Too Busy To Learn.
The program starts by introducing you to a number of great productivity tools and systems that have been created by other people over the years, and which you might in fact already be using. These include David Allen’s Getting Things Done system and Steven Covey’s 4-quadrant Time Management Grid, as well as a few others.
But I present these classic tools and systems through a rather unique lens. And that is that I recognize these tools stop working at precisely the moment that our emotions, our intuition and yes, even our spiritual and karmic path feels out of alignment with our to-do list. And no matter what you do to try and shove practical goal-setting and productivity plans down your own throat, you encounter the obstinacy and the sheer power of your Resistance. The part of you that says, Nope. Not gonna do it.
So the big value of this program, Don’t Get Stuck Again, is that it not only gives you a powerful, rock-solid plan for cranking through your Most Important Goals and objectives when you’re feeling good and on purpose, it also addresses what to do when that passion vanishes, and your Resistance flares up and starts running the show.
When you follow the steps I’ve carefully outlined, you’ll soon be growing your business, reaching the people you’re meant to reach, living your life and serving the people in it with all the purpose, excitement and passion that is a reflection of who you really are.
If that all sounds good to you – awesome! I’d love to help you get started.