“We make self-doubt mean something negative about our talent, our ideas,
our creativity. What we’re capable of. Not true. In order for us to achieve our goals,
we have to peel off all the stuff that is not us first. The discord of the sticky expectations
of others and the fear of judgment is where self-doubt starts. Where things are
out of whack. We’re off our game because we are out of alignment with our true nature,
what we really crave. What brings us alive.” ~ Susie deVille
“I’m so frustrated!” a prospective client, Sarah, wailed. “This is taking forever! Am I ever going to get to where I want to be? I’ve got this huge launch scheduled for the end of this year, and I’m totally procrastinating. I have hardly done any work at all to build out the infrastructure for it. That’s not like me! And to top everything off, my weight loss progress has totally stalled out. I just want to be done already and hit my goals! Can you help me?”
After speaking with Sarah for over an hour, it was clear the main issues she was grappling with were the following:
1) Her marketing coach had recommended that she approach building her platform in a way that felt wholly incongruent to her. In response, rather than questioning if the marketing process was right/a fit for her, Sarah tried to force herself to do the work her coach recommended and was getting nowhere.
2) Sarah was, in fact, making lots of progress on her weight loss goals and had lost more than 40 pounds over the course of a year. Healthy, steady progress. It was true, though, that over the last month or two she hadn’t been releasing weight at the same pace.
The Cloak of Self-Doubt
The real culprit in #1 and #2 was not Sarah’s procrastination, nor her ability to do the work to achieve any of her business and personal goals.
The real culprit was the icky, sticky goo of self-doubt.
When she even thought about building her social media platforms in the way her coach prescribed, Sarah took on a cloak of self-doubt about her overall ability to lay the groundwork for her launch. Because doing the work felt so out of sync and inauthentic to her, her brain shut down and resisted.
There was no ease, joy, or flow when she attempted to force herself into moving forward. And the few times she actually did appear live on social media, her energy was wonky and nothing she did connected with her desired audience.
The typically bubbly, bright, and fun woman had faded, and a stiff cardboard cut-out stood in her place.
When self-doubt over her ability to successfully market her new offering landed and stung, she started to slack off on her healthy habits and rituals. She started to revert to eating junk food and staying up later than she had in months. Her once-daily workout got pushed back to once a week.
The slow slide down the slippery slope had begun. Self-doubt can erode our footing that fast.
What is Out of Alignment?
When we are stuck like Sarah in our quest to achieve our goals, our first job is to look for anything that has adhered to us that is not us—not in alignment with our true nature. In Sarah’s case, it was a course of action steps that did not lean into her natural strengths, and, in fact, fought against them.
For you, it may be a loved one’s expectations or society’s idea of how you should act or be. For others, it could be the prevailing wisdom in the culture as to what comprises the ideal business or life.
Being stuck is our first clue that we are carrying something that does not belong to us.
As unpleasant as it is, it gives us a wonderful opportunity to scout around like a detective in our business and life and search for clues.
Begin to study the way you are going about achieving your goals. Ask yourself the following questions:
1) Is the transformation I desire truly something I want, or am I trying to create change to please someone else?
2) When I think about doing the work required, which aspect of the process feels like being trapped? Which parts, if any, feel like freedom?
3) When I engage in doing the work required, what is happening inside my body? Do I feel tightness in my shoulders/neck/chest, or a tinge of nausea? Or, do I feel open, light, expansive?
Jot down all your answers in your journal over the course of a week or so. Study your notes and see what is revealed to you. Refuse to believe that something is wrong with you and begin to believe that something is simply off track with your approach.
Here. There. Nowhere.
Next, think back to all the times you felt at home, profoundly centered and in your confidence when in pursuit of transformation. Where were you? What were you doing? Were you working alone or with others? What routines did you follow? What did you tell yourself? What felt natural, doable?
In other words, what soil were you in? What conditions and mindset were present that enhanced your ability to bloom?
The gorgeous and dainty wild iris grows along the sides of small creeks on the edges of trails in the Appalachian Mountains. It pushes up through cold, damp soil during the early days of spring and stands in its color amongst all the brown remnants of winter. It flourishes near water and in full sunlight.
The Key to Transformation
Think of yourself as a wild iris. What soil and growing conditions do you need? What is it you are craving more than anything else? What opens you, the true you, and fills you with happiness?
What is it you need to weed out of how you work or how you are chasing transformation?
Of course, like Sarah, we want to arrive and be done already. Cross the Finish Line. Move on. Be past it, whatever it is. We no longer want to be where we currently are. And painfully, we are not “there” yet. The transformation process puts us squarely in “nowhere.” In the space of becoming.
But if we can peel away the expectations of others, find the conditions that best support us, and embrace the knowing that transformation takes time, we can enjoy the netherworld of becoming.
The wild iris prepares quietly for months before it makes its grand debut. If we stay in the daily wins without hurry, we pull what it is we want right toward us.