Being organized has never been my strength.  Creativity is.  Quickly getting to the core issue with clients and overcoming their obstacles and creating possibilities is. I’ve just made a major commitment to growing my business which requires being organized.  I’m excited about the possibilities.  The first few days were awesome, and I made great strides.  I woke eager and was excited as I completed each task.

Then resistance showed up. I’m great at keeping commitments to others, but not so great at keeping the commitments I make to myself.  I found myself cleaning closets, then organizing files and even napping instead of completing tasks. Now, even more, frustrated than before, I declared that the new marketing efforts wouldn’t work. Amazing what happens when we make a big commitment, our old friend resistance shows up.

What Happened?

What is it about making a major commitment that brings up resistance?  When we’re committed, we are willing to do whatever it takes.  We make a plan, mark it on a calendar and feel certain that we can carry it out.  Then just like clockwork, our resistance shows up.

Our ego’s job is to keep us safe and safe means playing small, not sticking our neck out, not rocking the boat and certainly not stepping outside our comfort zone. After we make a big commitment our ego shows up and bullies us into backing down, what at one time may have been loving protection in keeping us small and safe now prevents us from playing big.  As adults, we no longer need to play small and stay safe only the message has not gotten through to our ego.

How does resistance show up?

Moving through resistance is like sloshing through knee-deep mud, messy and slow going. 

Resistance is whatever keeps us from keeping our commitments.

We may find ourselves:

  • Easily distracted,
  • Desiring to constantly switch to next greatest idea,
  • Eager to get busy on a non-urgent project such as weeding the garden or cleaning the closet, or
  • Having difficulty focusing.

The bottom line is we come up with all sorts of reasons why we cannot do what we have just committed to.  We avoid what most needs to get done. Our bodies tense and the inner voice in the back of our head tells us all those reasons why we can’t succeed.

Underneath the resistance is a fear of change. Either a fear of what would happen if success were possible or if failure were inevitable.

Resistance or Commitment

You have to choose whether you let the resistance control you or whether you control the resistance.

Option 1 Resistance is in control

You’ve identified your resistance and you feel totally derailed. Take the easy way.  Sure you want to keep your commitment but not now. The easiest option is to let the resistance control you.  Take a nap.  Wash the dishes.  Play on Facebook.  Do that urgent but unimportant task that is currently occupying your mind.  Resistance can feel so overpowering that when we try to focus on what we have committed to our minds go blank and we find it impossible to stay on task. Resistance is now in full control.

Option 2 You are in control

Moving through resistance is slow going like sloshing through knee-deep mud. (After umpteen days of rain here it’s hard not to think of water and mud metaphors.) It’s like working out and building muscle.  I could say yes to another game of solitaire or even cleaning out file drawer but that would not move me closer to my goal. When we are committed we are persistent.

Make peace with your resistance.

Take a few deep breaths.  Notice your resistance.  Notice there is a part of you being resistant part of you that wants to keep your commitment and another part of you that is noticing the part of you that is resistant and the part of you that wants to keep your commitment.  Yes, you have all those parts inside of you and many, many more.  Trying to delete or push down or even pretend a part of us does not exist never works.  Have a conversation with your resistance, thank it for protecting you in the past.  Thank your resistance for showing up, but don’t let it run the show.

Make peace with your resistance.  When you make a big commitment, resistance is guaranteed to show up.  You have a choice.  The easy choice is to let resistance run the show.  The harder but more useful choice is for you to be in charge of your resistance and keep your commitments anyway. Sometimes the hardest part of making peace with resistance is believing in yourself.

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