I just had an epiphany yesterday. I discovered (again) what is holding you back when you plan to do something bold, when you plan to succeed.
While reading a book on marketing and communication (I’ll disclose it at the end). The author explained, by examples, what successful promotion might be and how to achieve it by applying the tactics to your case. But at one point it blew my mind. It said something of the following: when you have fantastic ideas, proven tools and the right opportunities but you fail in getting results, it’s about you. It is something in you that is holding you back from being successful in that particular area.
Boom! There it was in my face. I read it all again. I will even quote here: “If the person had a succeed wish, it almost didn’t matter what amount of marketing they did. They would succeed.”
Yes! It sounded so true! I am in my way!
Something in me is getting in my way. Do you ever feel like there is something holding you back? Well, that’s how I felt. It is sabotaging me. Making me say the wrong things when it really matters, making me choose the one little detail that compromises everything. It makes me have those reactions that make me feel afterwards like “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?”
How do you call that? Carl Jung, the famous psychotherapist, called it personal shadow. I also found the term disowned self. Virginia Satir calles them simply.. Parts of us. So the shadow is a collection of parts of our psyche that we renegade. They don’t disappear, they are trying to make themselves heard and owned by us, and this is why in key moments, they take over the control. Those are the moments when we act impulsively and then we wonder “what was I thinking???”
As for me, I believed I mostly dealt with it in my past and now we’re sort of ok..ish. But… Deep breath in, deep exhale… we have work to do.
So yesterday was clear to me that BEFORE I ADVANCE in my pursuits, I have to work with myself. The effects can be felt immediately, if the exercise is very effective and you are in a receptive state and the issue is not very deep. (Notice how many conditions). But if you have beliefs and experiences that are really deep, it can take months and years of self work, meditations, therapy with a licensed professional and barely then feel that you have gotten over it. Like a scar after a serious injury: it takes time to heal. It’s not like you don’t feel the pain in a day or two after. It takes a lot of time and patience to return to normal, full functionality.
I don’t know how much this stage will take. Thinking on where could I find some powerful tools and suddenly I remembered the NLP exercises from the Practitioner formation. I pulled the NLP deck of notes from the library and opened it randomly. No wonder it opened exactly at the page relevant for me! I opened at the process called “Six steps reframing”. This is a tool that allows you to talk with those parts of yourself that are causing the limiting beliefs. Super powerful!
I made the exercise today, after a whole night sleep. Somehow, I wanted to be refreshed (although the real reason is I procrastinated). I thought that what will be revealed to my conscious side is something I already knew, maybe a cliche. But when it came out, I was surprised that there was MORE.
So what I called the “cliche” (notice the self-deprecation) was the following: The part of me that is a teenager (sort of the inner child turned 16 or so) doesn’t want me to pursue certain activities and be successful, for fear of being ridiculed. She (that part of me, the 16 year old) wants me to play it safe. To not try to go out of my shell. To only do what is mainstream and “normal” (normal = what the vast majority does; and normality isn’t necessarily the average American/Western teenage life. In Sweden normality is different from Russia and in both is different from, say… Saudi Arabia – you get what I mean).
The positive aspect of this is the fact that she is trying to protect me from suffering. From those feelings that hurt very much: being rejected by the “normal”/popular, being an outcast, the weirdo, the nerd, the one her parents never allowed her to go out. The one who is ashamed for not “fitting in”. Boy, and me who I thought I had gotten over high school issues…
While I understood why this part of me was trying to protect me, I didn’t see the gift it was giving me all this time. In turn, while not allowing me to put myself out there so many times, she was keeping me focused on something else, in a productive, positive way for me. She kept me focused on studying during my teenage years and beyond. Why? Because her way of “fixing” the fact that I was “uncool”, and thus, not qualifying for spotlight – was to prepare me. To make me work on growing myself into something that is worth attention. Becoming something that is so well and thoroughly prepared and built, that for sure there will be no room for being made fun of, or not being appreciated.
So, she gave me motivation and discipline to constantly improve myself. To outgrow the nerd to someone who can be of service to others: by constant focus on doing the work. Steady. Constantly. Accepting the hard way, for day after day, year after year. This is what allowed me became a successful marketing professional relatively young, and then a sales professional in a big corporation.
To this day, I didn’t realise this gift that this part of me has been giving me. I only felt the frustration of when I didn’t allow myself to take risks and jump into new situations. I always had to prepare a lot in order to feel remotely comfortable with taking action.
So I understood, finally, the gift: the motivation and discipline of working on self improvement, while she was holding me back from doing things that might have exposed me (with positive and not so positive attention drawn to it).
Now, this was just the beginning. I’m going to start researching what tools are out there that work for me. The starting point is the following:
- Of course, going through Debbie Ford’s “Dark side of the light chasers”, I wrote about it here.
- I tried something from a source I haven’t tried before, and I liked it, it’s free on Youtube.
- Also, the resources that I’m planning to try are:
The marketing book I mentioned in the beginning is Hypnotic Marketing by Joe Vitale. (This is an author that writes really hypnotic so if you want to know more about it, you should check any of his books).
I will come back and edit with what I’ve found really helpful from the two books mentioned above.
What about you? Have you “talked” with your shadow so far? What was the gift it gave you (because I’m sure you’re really aware of how particularly it is holding you back!) Tell me if you need me to post a one page guidance exercise to help you work with yourself, at your own pace.
All the best!