To reach our goals, we must create momentum toward success, by naming and supporting ourselves through our fears and subconscious obstacles.
Action creates progress. Progress creates momentum.Shane Parrish
Momentum creates motivation.
Our Internal Narratives
Josh tapped his pen on the cover of his journal and rolled his chair forward to his desk. He moved a pile of files to the side, took a sip of coffee, and exhaled. When he finally looked up, I smiled and asked him how he was feeling.
“Oh, I don’t know…like a giant failure maybe?” he said. “I mean it’s not even mid-January, and I’m already off track. Totally blown it. Typical, right?” He raked his hand through his thick, dark hair and looked down.
“Josh,” I said, “I’m quite sure it is not as bad as all that. Take me through what has happened since we spoke before Christmas.”
Josh opened his journal. “It’s all right here,” he said. “The entire timeline of where I completely self-sabotaged. At least I’m good at chronicling my failures.”
As he and I spoke, it became clear that Josh had a subconscious fear of success. One that was so potent that each and every time he inched toward creating a breakthrough in his online enterprise, he took a weed wacker of behaviors and thoughts to the tender shoots of his forward progress.
“Can you describe what you fear will happen when you obtain the success you crave?” I asked.
Josh looked up and to the left as he searched his mind. I sat absolutely still so as to not distract him from his deep thinking. When I saw his shoulders drop, I knew he had landed on it. The look on his face was equal parts relief and profound sadness.
“I’m afraid I’m going to lose my family.”
“Josh, believe it or not, you are home free now that you’ve named it,” I said. “Let’s dig into how to address this step by step.”
Experts believe that approximately 90% – 97% of our subconscious mind controls what we do and how we show up. That it is a million times more powerful than the conscious mind. It is a reservoir of our thoughts, feelings, and memories that steers us in certain directions and influences our daily actions.
We must work with our subconscious minds when we want to change patterns of thought and behavior that are holding us back, to create momentum in the direction of our dreams.
Do you have a frustrating block or pattern of self-sabotage as you work toward your goals and dreams? Do you feel your life is a series of two steps forward and three steps back? Do you long to create momentum that slips through the bars of the prison of habits that do not serve you?
3 Steps to Create Momentum
1. Get clear on your resistance.
Grab your journal and a pen. Set a timer for 30 minutes and begin freewriting. Describe the blocks you are facing and all the details of where and how you are stuck. What happened right before you hit the impasse? Capture the specifics of any patterns you can spot.
2. Gentle inquiry: What is it you are afraid of? What might you lose?
Ask yourself what it is you are afraid will happen when you reach your goals. Be patient as sometimes these fears will only appear in our mind in quick flashes before they scurry off. Keep writing and probing around. Begin multiple sentences with “If I obtain the goals I desire, I am afraid that _.”
In Josh’s case, he feared that if he were to become successful, he wouldn’t be able to spend quality time with his wife and young son. That he would be too distracted and busy to be a good husband and father. He worried that his business would take over his mind and attention to such a degree that he would drive away the people he most cherished and loved.
3. Prevent + Pledge.
Determine how to prevent the loss and then pledge to your subconscious that you will address it in advance. Set a timer for another 30-minute sprint of freewriting. Begin brainstorming all the ways you could prevent the feared loss. Next, formulate a simple plan of action for how to implement your ideas. Finally, write a statement to your subconscious mind that is in the form of a pledge and provide it with ample evidence that its fears will not be realized.
Following Our Momentum
Josh recognized that he needed more support and that it was not feasible for him to try to handle every task his business required. He hired help for handling bookkeeping, website maintenance, marketing campaigns, and miscellaneous administrative tasks. He pledged to his subconscious mind that as his business grew, he would continue to properly expand and deepen his support staff.
It is not a coincidence that a few days ago, Josh attracted his biggest client to date. Rather than panicking and reverting to old habits of behavior, he onboarded the client successfully and executed a very lucrative contract.
Where do you crave to create momentum in your life and business? If you are finding yourself under siege by resistance and self-sabotaging behaviors, spend an hour or so with your journal and your subconscious mind. Consider your subconscious to be a well-intentioned, compassionate part of you that is simply trying to keep you safe. Gently work with it, and it will share its secret fears.
Once surfaced and addressed, those once-hidden fears will no longer have any power. You will be able to step out from behind imprisoning bars of thought and intentionally create success, unfettered and unstoppable.