We spend a lot of time looking back with our nigh-obsessive self-examination, self-affirmation and self-actualization. Was it Freud who started us on this bottomless quest for our truth in the well of our childhoods? Who now has us digging around for every last transgression & trauma that has molded us into the person we are today?
The point of all that exploration, affirmation and actualization is so that we become a better version of ourselves, isn’t it? Yet, time & again, we end up staying stuck in the fallout of our pasts and use it as an excuse for not moving forward.
I was at a workshop about strategic planning the other night. As we got into it, the fears that hold us back reared their inevitable heads. A bunch of the women got caught up in a whirlwind of “It’s hard for us because of the men,…because we’ve had to look after the houses & the kids,…because our mothers taught us to submit….” These mantras were their reasons for playing small, for not making decent money, for not being more successful, and they were holding tightly to those facts – seemed almost proud of them, or at least proud of their resentment of them.
Change is hard.
The transition you must go through to get you from where you are now to where you want to be can be pretty muddy. Like the transition between the 1st and 2nd stages of labour, it’s unbearably uncomfortable, it’s raw with emotion, and it’s freaking scary.
Most of the fear stems from the fact that you’re facing a big unknown. Even if the outcome will be good – better health, new opportunities – you’re still headed somewhere you’ve never been. Even if you’ve had a baby before, you’ve never gone through this labour, or you’ll now have two children at home: life as you know it will never be the same.
It’s terrifying to be headed into unfamiliar territory, especially when there’s an inevitability to the situation that you can’t escape. There’s been no turning back since the moment that embryo nestled into your womb, nor since you made the commitment to your dreams.
So, you resist.
You stem the flow of the process only to be met with pain, with inner struggle, with “I can’t do this” and “I don’t know how to do this.”
You drum up all those old stories from the past that have allowed you stay stuck exactly where you are. The pattern plays out over and over: discomfort – change & grow OR resist & stagnate.
I’ve observed that cycle in myself when I moved to a new city last year, and I remember it from when I divorced and became a single mom. I see it in clients who need to make serious changes to their eating habits, things like giving up sugar or dairy or red wine. I notice it when a business coach suggests an entrepreneur pick a specific niche or make cold calls.
By deciding to offer your gifts and step out to the world in a bigger way, by choosing to delve into the realities of being a mompreneur, you are setting yourself up for the same roller coaster. Life will never be the same; even if it’s a part you know you are best to leave behind, you’re stepping out of your comfort zone.
The wisest choice a laboring woman makes at this unendurable point of childbirth is to surrender to what’s happening. All she can do now is trust.
She does well to listen to her body and trust it knows what to do.
She trusts that everything she learned until this point – in life as much as in prenatal class – and every step she took in caring for herself through the pregnancy are exactly what she needs to get to the other side of this hurdle.
She has to trust her midwife or doctor to keep her and her baby safe.
Trust is the piece that allows us to make the leap into the successful and fulfilled life we crave.
Listen to your body to understand how your patterns & your fears show up there, as long as you explore with the intention of learning how to face them and use them to your advantage.
Trust that what happened before will provide you with the tools you need to move forward with your dreams and goals.
Your body will also tell you what kind of care it needs to support you through the birth of your vision. Trust when it asks for more sleep or a better breakfast, when you have the energy to focus and when you need to take a walk or a nap.
By all means, look back with curiosity. Get clear about what excites you and what fills you with dread; bring awareness to how you tick, so you can leverage it be more effective in your work.
When you ask for help, trust what shows up.
Trusting others holds true when working with a business coach or a health coach, a web designer or a marketing maven. It holds when praying to a higher power.
If you decide to hire an expert or use her tools, trust that she holds a vision of what’s possible for you, even if you can’t see it yet. Trust her experience and expertise to get you through this leg of the journey.
Then trust yourself to do the work.
Latest posts by Cathy Cochrane (see all)
- Getting Unstuck: How To Move Your Vision Forward - July 25, 2017
- Better Health Without Adding a Thing to your To-Do List - October 28, 2015
- The Meal that Changed my Business - July 24, 2015