As a coach who’s had a lot of coaching, I am well aware of the terrain of change. I’m committed to my process and most of the time that takes me to unimaginable levels of productivity … but not all the time. Occasionally, it leads me to the edge of my fears, halting my momentum like the emergency break on an Amtrak train. The piercing screech of metal on metal makes me want to bury my head and pretend as though I heard nothing at all.
From there, I start to enter a land of familiar habits: sleeping late, checking email as soon as I wake up, skipping workouts, over-indulging in caffeine, and whatever else that temporarily numbs me out.
When I’m in a fit of resistance, guilt, fear and self-loathing dominate my mental stage like Larry, Moe & Curly in a Three Stooges skit. I’ll admit that it’s tempting to let them lead me down that well-worn path. Thankfully, I’ve learned that it’s way more productive to choose the loving approach instead.
Resistance, through the right lens, is actually a cause for celebration.
As super ambitious women, we constantly are pushing the boundaries, rewriting childhood scripts that taught us who we ought to be in the world, or what we are capable of. We set audacious goals that challenge us to become super courageous as we triumph into uncharted waters. Resistance arrives for a reason; it’s a by-product of our hard work. You see, had we not moved at full speed in the direction of our bigger goals and dreams, we wouldn’t be brushing against our own edges. The fact that resistance popped on the scene means that we have finally arrived at the precipice of our next major growth spurt.
Resistance is totally normal – along with the scenes we act out as a result. When you handle your resistance (and resistance behaviors) with loving kindness, it can be an important part of your growth process. But here’s the deal. You have to be vigilant about naming it … and getting to the core of why it showed up. Otherwise you can lose days, weeks or even months to a backwards slide of self-loathing and projection.
I once had a coach tell me that if she were in my shoes, she’d just be sitting around eating cereal and watching TV (her go-to for coping with unwanted shit). It was a watershed moment for me. “You mean you’re not super-human?” In an instant I understood. It’s okay to retreat into our most tried and true methods for loving our selves, even if they are the very behaviors we’ve worked so hard to change. It’s one way we nurture ourselves when we are on the edge of our comfort zone
Remember: resistance is actually a sign of your courage. When you recognize that you are merely taking care of yourself through old behaviors, you can reframe the experience and turn your resistance into gold.
The next time you recognize that you’re in resistance, try taking these 5 steps to lean into the edge so you can keep moving to the next level:
- Call yourself out for your behavior. Recognize and name your specific resistance. Get clear on the symptomatic behaviors and identify where you are out of alignment.
- Rat yourself out to a confidant. Tell a trusted friend (or coach) what’s going on. Make sure this friend is not only vetted for compassion, but also has a low threshold for bullshit. (Friends who are capable of being both non-judgmental and able to see through our excuses are beyond valuable and should be treasured.) Be honest and confess what you’ve been doing. Explain what you think you’re resisting. This is where your friend’s ability to call bullshit on you is super important. Sometimes we think we’re afraid of one thing, but it’s totally different. The right confidant will help you see through the merry-go-round of surface issues you’ve developed, and challenge you confront the real stuff you are reluctant to face.
- Allow yourself to be human. Once you are clear on the real reason you are in resistance, grant yourself permission to own it. This means accepting exactly where you are right now without needing to fix it or change it in anyway. Slow down and be exactly where you are without making it wrong, or judging yourself, especially when processing emotional barriers.
- Let the behavior play out. Our minds have a low tolerance for incongruence and after of few days (or hours) of indulging resistance, it will naturally call you back into alignment with your key values.
- Rinse and repeat. Granted, it’s not always easy to take your guilt, fear and self-loathing and turn it into insightful growth and progress. Plus, as you continue your forward momentum, new plateaus will continually present themselves. Keep reaching out for support and try to remember that resistance can be a sign of great things to come.
As you move toward a better, more realized version of you, you are bound to encounter resistance from time to time. Of all the barriers you’ll encounter, resisting support from others is a surefire way to stay stuck. Additionally, waiting to admit that something is off is just asking the issue to escalate. Don’t be afraid to confront your own behavior and holler if you need someone to call you out on your bullshit. I’m here for you.
As always, I send you my love!