I’ll be honest—the only way I could tempt myself to sit down and write this was by cuddling underneath a very fuzzy blanket with coffee.
When I wrote this article, I was staring outside my bay windows at the thick snow lined trees of Northwest DC. The city shut down until #snowzilla finished dumping over two feet of snow on us. These conditions felt right for getting things done. Even the week leading up to the snow, I’d been looking forward to what I could create with the stillness of being stuck inside.
Cooking and creating were the only things I could think about. When it came to the reality of quiet time, I suddenly felt that familiar feeling of mild panic. I woke up to a quiet home and I was pacing around staring outside. Here we go. I know this feeling all too well, I wanted to clean, organize the closet, and even bleach the kitchen!
My first reaction was the thought that these tasks seemed “easy enough” to finish before I sat down to write this. Just a couple of years ago I would find myself giving into the compulsion, and let my distraction carry me away from the project at hand.
This isn’t my first rodeo with this feeling—in fact, until I learned how to overcome it, I let distraction eat my creativity for nearly a decade.
Before beginning my self-development journey, my motivation was run strictly by resistance and fear. I couldn’t convince myself to sit down and complete the projects that I wanted for myself unless I was asked to by a boss. Things like starting a business, creating a retreat, and finding a new career were all things I kept putting on the back burner. Every time I sat down to start, the overwhelm crept right in and I was immediately off the chair cleaning or calling a friend to catch up. I had these big wild ideas, and it was like as soon as they come into my mind my resistance had already shown them the back door.
My resistance turned away so much that I began to lose sight of who I was. I became empty, going to work solely to please others, and trying desperately to fit in with everyone else. The people- pleasing worked for a little while, but when stress from my job became overwhelming, my whole body shut down.
My blood pressure rose, my temper shortened, and anytime I had a moment for myself I was drinking, going to the gym, or crying in my room. This person I became was wildly successful—and wildly miserable.
I hit bottom when I was talking to my father, who has continued with six day work weeks for almost his whole life. He believes in people and puts a lot of pressure on himself to get the project done. I’ve always admired his hard work and commitment.
When I admitted how unhappy I was, he said “I may be an old man, and complain about the hours I work, but this is the job and life I chose. No one forced me into this. Now go and make another choice for yourself.”
I was floored.
I finished the call and the relief and pain seemed to subside. I’ll never forget that the first thing I did was grab my journal and begin to write. It had been years since I had last written anything, and the sense of freedom I felt was unlike anything else I’d ever experienced. I wrote about my relationship, my pain, my health, my family, and all the love I felt on top of it all. My resistance was nowhere to be found, and in that moment I vowed that no matter how loud that voice was, I was going to choose my life.
This was my “aha” moment.
Resistance hits us all, and every now and then it can be good to let it take you somewhere else- away from work, life, and let time pass you by. There are a number of tricks I’ve picked up to arm myself against the strongest resistance voice I face.
Here are my top tips for facing your resistance with choice and not fear:
Create your grand vision, write this down somewhere, and no matter what it is that you’re trying to do, there is something inside there that will motivate you.
Take itty bitty steps: When I look back at my earlier years I was all over the place, and resistance was eager to chew me up because I had no idea what I was doing. Outline your dreams and goals into small steps—these add up a ton overtime, and even when you are dragging your feet, there is always one small item you can check off the list that will relieve the stress. The trick is knowing what that item is!
So here is a postable for your wall:
Action=Grand vision + itty bitty steps
I posted this on my wall, not only to help with my resistance, but to express gratitude for my journey to getting crystal clear on my mission and finally accepting that I have a fierce choice in how I want to express my gifts with the world.
Author: Lea Wink
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Frank Park / Unsplash