I had a wonderful session with a client recently, Mattie, whose biggest issue was generating income. She felt like she was “grabbing, grasping and desperate,” and feared both failure and success.
She is by no means the only client I’ve heard this from. In fact, it’s quite common.
This “energy muck” is so easy to fall into. A client leaves, a launch doesn’t work out as expected, or that fabulous prospect never gets back to you, and suddenly you feel like nothing’s working.
Part of the gunk is what comes next – thoughts like:
- I don’t know what I’m doing.
- I’m stuck.
- I’ll never get this turned around.
- What if I never make enough money at this?
- What if I make too much and can’t handle it?
That’s when it can feel like you’re going down a drain. Or when you reach for the chocolate, Facebook or your workout clothes just to get away from the thoughts and feelings.
The Seduction of Safety
There’s a quote from Anais Nin that says, “There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
The thing is, that bud, that safe place can feel really good for a really long time. And the fear of blooming, of the unknown, can be really big.
For many of us, fitting in has been a safety mechanism. This is especially true for women, people of color, LGBTQ – anyone who differs from the majority or the norm. There’s a lot of pressure to conform, and this isn’t new.
In some cultures, it’s called the Tall Poppy – the tall poppy sticks out and is therefore the one that gets cut down.
In times when villages fought each other and survival was much more precarious than it is in most parts of our current society, it was important to stick together. Conforming was key for this. It kept groups cohesive and made it clear who was “us” and who was “them.”
Much of this thinking lingers, both overtly and very subtly.
It’s behind bullying, including comments by internet trolls. It’s why anyone who’s “different” can be seen as a target.
And the fear of it keeps the vast majority of people “playing small,” “playing it safe,” and, in truth, not being themselves. Or at least, not the full expression of themselves.
Another Way of Seeing It
The world is moving in a different direction.
As the world becomes more of a global community, we realize that we all rise – and fall – together. It’s not “us vs. them,” but “us.”
Mystics, saints and teachers from every spiritual tradition have talked about our “being one.” They’ve taught that what we do to others, we do to ourselves, and that the path of enlightenment/salvation is the path of love.
Scientific studies have also shown that when I’m angry at you, my body suffers; when I hold loving thoughts towards you, my body and mind benefit.
While we may know these things mentally and nod in agreement, our brains can work against us.
Our brains evolved to look for differences, to look for trouble, to keep us safe in a world where the major threats were literally hiding in the bushes.
Our early experiences in our families reinforced this. Parents and families pass down fears, either intentionally to “prepare the kids for the ‘real’ world,” or unintentionally, simply by showing their own fears.
Why It’s Important to Do It Differently
The real problem with all of this, aside from the physical toll that living in fear and worry takes, is that playing small doesn’t work in today’s business environment.
The fact that you’re reading this tells me that you care and you want to make a difference. You’re not out simply to make money. You have a higher purpose.
If your potential clients can’t see you, they can’t find you and you can’t live your purpose. If you’re not sharing your voice, your ideas, yourself, you’ll have limited success and limited enjoyment of your business and your life.
The thing is, with all the gunk inside and all the thoughts racing around in your head, it can be hard to connect with the authentic you. Your own, true voice can get lost in all the shouting.
It’s important to create time to be still, to reconnect with yourself. It’ll be uncomfortable, even scary, because the muck is the first thing you’ll encounter. This is why support and simple tools can make such a difference.
But what you get to after the muck will be beautiful and deeply powerful. It can also be life-changing.
You might be like Mattie, the client I told you about above. At the end of our call, she said, “Who do I think I am to NOT deserve, serve, enjoy, and fly?” I wish you could’ve heard the change in her voice when she said that. She was feeling it in her bones.
The strength and authenticity of it brought tears to my eyes, and I knew she was on a different path than she’d been an hour earlier.