“The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery.” ~ Steven Pressfield
We all have a natural tendency to look outside of ourselves when it comes to matters of creating lasting change — whether that change is within our business or organization, or if it is within our community, state, or nation. We can default to thinking “somebody should do something” and wonder why employees, team members, or those in power aren’t addressing matters that we deem essential to be “fixed.”
And in doing so, we overlook our own vast potential to lead and to create, beginning with leading and mastering our own lives.
Of course, looking outward versus inward is much easier, as we don’t have to do the messy, hard slog of working on ourselves and/or doing The Work we are being called to do. Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, calls this avoidance Resistance.
Resistance shows up in many forms and can be enormously painful, slippery, and toxic. It fosters a dulling of the senses and a feeling of powerlessness that exponentially increases the further away we travel from our doing The Work. The more we avoid The Work, the worse we feel. The worse we feel, the more Resistance takes hold.
I have had my own time in the ring with Resistance, especially when it came to matters of creativity and letting myself be vulnerable with what I create and share with the world. When I learned from Pressfield that the more Resistance you experience, the more important the uncreated project/business/art/cause is to you, I stopped running and avoiding, took a deep breath, rolled up my sleeves, and decided to dive in.
I wish I could offer a magic panacea for Resistance. The solution is different for each of us and needs to be custom designed around the needs of our tender hearts. Happily though, I can say that infusing your life with a great deal more play is a wonderful first step toward winning the battle over Resistance.
Again, speaking from my own personal experience, when I became intentional about ensuring a better balance of play and work in my life, I noticed that not only did I experience a great deal more ideas flowing to me, I began to muster more courage to actually execute on them. Hiding and talking myself out of trying more daring work and adventures began to fade, and Resistance got the memo that there was a new sheriff in town.
I also found that I began to treat my creative work with the same level of professional attention and behavior as I did my other businesses, something Pressfield calls “turning pro.” I established routine times to create and stayed the course even when the work was not going well or was akin to walking in cement.
Where are you hiding, and where is Resistance showing up for you in your life? What is calling to your heart to be created, or what lasting change (whether in the world or within yourself) do you desire to be realized?
Stop running and decide The Work is worth it. Reconnect with fun, play, and the wonderment you had as a child. Look inward, take on the mantle of Pro, and keep going, even when the path is murky and scary.
I cannot wait to see what you create.