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The Biggest Obstacle to Doing What You Were Born to Do

by bevbarnes on September 13, 2012

traffic-sign-108779_1280I’ve come to believe that resistance is the biggest obstacle to doing what you were born to do. Resistance is the fear of moving forward with something that your heart is calling you to do.

Resistance looks like procrastination, lack of focus, lack of concentration, forgetting your goal, not being able to make a decision or creating constantly and never showing anyone your creations.

You try to solve the procrastination, lack of focus or whatever else appears to be in your way, but all that is just an illusion.

What is really going on is resistance.  The oldest most instinctual part of your brain tries to “protect” you from danger and it is stopping you from moving towards your heart’s desire in any way it can.

Resistance feels like a heavy weight, molasses, inertia, the inability to move forward – and with it comes toxic thinking that leads directly to the biggest fear of mankind (narcissists and sociopaths excluded) “I’m not good enough.”

If you are a solo-entrepreneur who is pursuing your heart’s desire and building an on-line presence resistance is HUGE.  Your heart is calling you to do this thing that isn’t totally clear yet and you are having trouble getting going or completing your project.

Your big challenge is to recognize that inertia is resistance, and not an inner message that you are on the wrong path.

This is an example of how resistance looks, sounds and feels for many solo entrepreneurs (including moi) creating something new.  Even if you aren’t a solo-entrepreneur you’ve probably experienced the same feelings if you’ve ever been deeply called to create something or change something in your life.

Doubts and fears:

I’m terrified.

Suppose it doesn’t work and people think it’s dumb.

What will my _________  think?  Insert anyone who you gain social approval from in the blank.

Suppose people think I’m stupid?  I’m going to be so embarrassed and ashamed.

Suppose it’s not original?  Suppose someone else has done this already and it’s better than my thing?

Suppose only 3 people sign up?

Comparing Mind:

Why can’t I get hundreds of people interested in my programs like some people can?

Maybe I’m just not good enough.

Maybe my idea isn’t good enough.

Deciding to change directions/Can’t make a decision:

Maybe I should just rethink it.

Maybe I should work some more on that other idea I had.

Maybe I should finish working through that marketing program I took so that I know how to launch things better.

Avoiding:

Maybe I should take a(nother) class to learn some more tools to be more prepared.

I need a snack.

I’ll connect on Facebook and get some new ideas.

I feel like going shopping.

Maybe I’ll go on Amazon and find those books I’ve wanted to read.

Note:  these activities might all be fun diversions but you’ll know if they are avoidance by how you feel afterwards – drained and somewhat strung out and/or panicked about your project and your self.

Justifying not going forward:

I’m probably not ready to do this.

I wouldn’t feel so anxious and nervous and uncertain if I was going in the right direction.

Maybe I should figure out what I really want before I do anything.

 

By now the energy to create your new thing has scattered.  You tell yourself you’ll make your project even better and get ready to launch it at a later date.  You feel calm and relieved.  You take a big sigh.

But you are lying to yourself. 

You’ve shelved this project and it will end up going nowhere along with a long list of defunct never realized dreams.

Six months later:

You look back at your ideas notebook.  You see the program that you didn’t launch and wanted to improve.  You haven’t worked on it at all.   It looks pretty damn good.  You wonder why you didn’t go anywhere with it.

Figuring out what you were born to do is child’s play (literally) compared to actually doing it. 

That’s because doing what you were born to do, means you have to be who you were born to be.  You stop pretending to be what you’re not. You start being the true, authentic, unflinchingly honest, YOU.

Out there.

Exposed.

Vulnerable.

When people who I haven’t seen for a long time see my website they say things like “You are really deep Bev.”  They look at me quizzically.  “You sound kinda spiritual.”

Me:  Ah… yeah.

Sharing that part of me in a way that feels authentic has been my journey.  I’ve always been deep and spiritual, but I kept it to myself.  Now I don’t.  I don’t shout it from the rooftops either, but I don’t hide that it is the most important part of who I am.

That is so freeing.   Not because fear ends – it doesn’t, but because I get to be who I really am and that is so much easier that trying to be someone else.

For me, the opposite of resistance is two things:  freedom and ease.

Those feelings are delicious.

For many of my clients, resistance is trying to protect them from the danger of “not fitting in”.  Your resistance shows up to protect you from what you think that other people think about you.  Get your head around that one.

Resistance is protecting you from the feelings you will feel if other people don’t like you. 

Hurt.

Sadness.

Shame.

Loneliness.

Those feelings can’t kill you.  In fact if you actually feel them for the 90 seconds it’s reported to take for any feeling to pass through your body, the feeling goes away.

Resistance however, allows you to spend hours, days, months or years avoiding bad feelings by feeling anxious instead (which feels worse by the way), or shoving the feelings down further by over eating, over shopping, over drinking, over reading, over anything.

What would you rather do?  Spend 90 seconds every hour feeling your painful feelings and getting on with your life’s work, or years trying to avoid those feelings?

Because you can’t avoid those feelings if you are creating your life’s work.

Everybody who is following their true calling experiences resistance.

Even those people who create amazing and original works continuously and constantly experience resistance.  They have just learned to bypass their fears and do it anyway.

They have learned that action trumps fear. 

They have learned that if they listen to their fear and take the counsel of their resistance that they will never ever create anything that is sweet and honest and worthwhile.

They have learned that resistance and fear go hand in hand with creation and so they are willing to go through it, rather than fight it.

Getting past resistance IS the hero’s journey.

Getting through that thing that you totally feared.  Ending that relationship.  Becoming self-employed.  Changing your relationship with food.  Making any significant change in your life will bring up your resistance.

The hero’s journey means shifting your sense of self – your identity, so that you are no longer pretending to be the tiny personality that we are all taught to be, but to recognize that you are so, so, much bigger and better, that you are a brilliant, shining, light.

Jill Bolte Taylor says this best in her book “A Stroke of Insight”.  She describes what it felt like when she had a stroke which destroyed the left hemisphere of her brain and her perception of herself was no longer limited to her body’s physical boundaries.  She says:

“The energy of my spirit seemed to flow like a great whale gliding through a sea of silent euphoria.   Finer than the finest of pleasures we can experience as physical beings, this absence of physical boundary was one of glorious bliss.  As my consciousness dwelled in a flow of sweet tranquility, it was obvious to me that I would never be able to squeeze the enormousness of my spirit back inside this tiny cellular matrix.”

We are all that big.  Including you.  Are you going to let resistance stop you?

So what do you do?  How do you get through resistance?

Step one is recognizing your resistance.

Recognize that it exists.  Notice how your resistance shows up.

You can’t fix anything that you don’t acknowledge exists.

My resistance shows up by not being able to make a decision or by constantly changing my direction or focus.  When that happens I need to ask:  “What are you resisting?”

How does your resistance show up?

This week on the blog I’d like you to share how your resistance shows up.  What is your signal that you are resisting something?

I LOVE hearing from you!  Share your comments on the blog below!

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison Elissa Horner September 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm

“Figuring out what you were born to do is child’s play (literally) compared to actually doing it.” So with you on this one. Really well done article Bev!

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Bev Barnes September 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Glad you got that one Alison. What feels like play is what you were born to do, then you have to convince yourself that you have a right to do it. That’s the hard part. Nice hearing from you Alison!

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Lynne September 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm

WOW! Bev,

This post is absolutely, completely, & incredibly RESONATING with my situation!!! I have been suffering from resistance since the beginning of 2012 (almost 9 months now ?!). I am EXHAUSTED (I can 100% affirm that -without the trace of a doubt!).

I have been constantly ‘avoiding’ (eg. eating and gaining weight) & ‘changing my focus’ (eg. coming up with new plans every other week) instead of pursuing my path. It has been EXTEMELY dizzying & painful :-(.

The worst part is, I have recognized that I am resisting (over 4 months ago). Yet, I am still at war with myself… It seems that as soon as I identify 1 resistance mechanism (eg. avoidance), then another one subtly creeps up on me (eg. making a new plan, etc. ). And, so the inner war between my heart & ego goes on & on… For almost 9 months now?! Where is my inner harmony & synchronicity? Imagine what this kind of yo-yo state does to my manifestation process… not a pretty picture. Stagnation has been a no1 winner! (My heart wishes abundance!)

I have been sharing these resistance-feelings with friends, and describing it as being INTENSELY challenging. You are the only one who has worded it precisely. Thank YOU.

The consequences of this resistance have been chaotic in my life: I do not yet have a thriving business, my financial situation is way, way below 0, I have no love life (because of all the time & energy invested in developing my business planZ), I keep asking myself everyday if I will see the fruit of my ABUNDANCE desire…

Believe it or not, since last August (2011), I have been working on & wishing to create a-b-u-n-d-a-n-c-e (with Life Coaching & all)?! Well, it has been abundantly challenging! THAT I can say.

Where is all of the abundance hiding? Probably right next to my divine path (!).
How to move forward & overcome these mountainous resitances??
Lynne who is completely saturated with resistance 🙂

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Bev Barnes September 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Hi Lynne! First breathe. These feelings are absolutely normal. Nothing is wrong with you. Recognize that a part of you wants to stay put and another part of you wants to create the life of your desires. They are in battle. And it’s exhausting. You’ve started noticing what your resistance looks like. Congrats – just naming it is a huge step. I almost called the post “How starting a business can lead to weight gain” 🙂 You need support, from others in your same situation and/or a great coach. You also need to coach yourself – every single day – just like you would coach someone else.

You actually have to move through resistance, feel the feelings and start doing some tiny thing that leads you to heart’s desires. The new group I’m starting, The Coaching Cocoon is designed to do just that – help you move to action and move through your fears. Make sure you are on my email list so you can get the information about it when it is released. For the moment, be kind to yourself, and observe yourself from a different perspective like you would if you were your own client. What would you say to yourself? That’s where you start.

Thanks for sharing this Lynne.

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Vidica September 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Loved your article Bev! It is spot on and timely. I’m inspired into immediate action, a much welcomed change from the resistance I’ve been feeling lately 🙂

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Bev Barnes September 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Excellent Vidica! Take advantage of your inspiration. The thing that’s important to remember is not to wait until you feel good to get going because counter intuitively, once you get going you’ll feel good. xo

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Manal September 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Hi Bev,

I’m definitely dealing with the ‘confused’/change decisions/directions type of resistance.

I know what my ultimate vision is for my career, but i don’t know where to start now that will lead there eventually, and also don’t know how to get paid for it.

How do you decide where to start? I’m so genuinely confused. To add to the confusion, I’m wondering if I even want to do anything at all right now, besides raise my 4 kids. So, there’s a lot of back and forth going on in my head.

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Bev Barnes September 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Manal, my advise for the moment is to create space. That means doing nothing – allowing yourself to get outside, go for walks spend some time in nature. You will get clear on your biggest desire when you allow yourself the space to re-connect with yourself. You may find that focusing on your 4 kids IS what you are called to do right now. Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing where to start or when to start. One of my rules when re-creating your life and work is: Do before you know. If your heart’s desire is to move toward your career vision now then you don’t have to know the HOW before you begin. Start with tiny, tiny steps that you are inspired to take when you make space in your life. Thanks for commenting!

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Khurshida September 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Oh, I love this post! it describes exactly how I feel these days and it also explains why I could not move forward in a more efficient manner. You just named it – resistance, fear- and I already feel better. Right after finishing this comment, I am actually going to tackle a couple of tasks that I was avoiding for several weeks already. Thank you for this post!

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Bev Barnes September 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Yay Khurshida! Sometimes it feels like relief just to understand what is going on and recognize that despite those feelings you can do it anyway. You are sooo welcome!

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Carol September 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Thanks for addressing this Bev! I still feel so overwhelmed with so many things up in the air – moving? selling the house? my biz? cash flow? my direction/purpose? shoulds! I do “feel my feelings” and sometimes get relief and sometimes not. Any techniques you know of?
Any other thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you!

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Bev Barnes September 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Carol, coach yourself every single day. I know you are a Coach so you know what I’m telling you. What that means is identify your biggest source of dissatisfaction and write down every single story that you are telling yourself. Ask yourself if this story leads you towards your life’s work or away from it? Then write down a new truer story that leads you in the direction of your life’s work. Choose to attach to the beliefs that support you rather than those that don’t. Just because you have a thought, doesn’t mean it’s true. The other thing to do that I cannot emphasize enough is GET OUTSIDE. Get out of your head and do something physical. You will reconnect to your body, then listen for the message that you get about what to do next. Remember to be kind to yourself Carol. Take one tiny step at a time. Get coached if you need it. xo

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Carol September 14, 2012 at 4:45 am

I like the way you put that Bev. I went for an awesome rollerblade in a new area. I was thinking about what you wrote here and I got it in a big way – “I’m a child of the Universe so why am i telling this small story about myself?!” I am on the right track and doing fine! 🙂 Thanks! xo

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Bev Barnes September 14, 2012 at 11:00 am

Fabulous Carol. It’s important to get back into your body when you are all over the place with your thoughts. What a wonderful and compassionate and TRUE message you received!

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Jessica September 13, 2012 at 7:37 pm

My resistance always show up as “maybe that’s not what I really want?” When I second guess myself it “justifies” going off on a different tangent or idea so I don’t have to follow through with the one that’s staring me in the face scaring me.

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Bev Barnes September 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm

That’s one of my favourites too Jessica. Now that you’ve spotted it, remember that the next time this happens you are probably feeling resistance…and finish what you started 🙂

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April September 14, 2012 at 4:04 am

Wow! Bev, you nailed it. These are the exact things that the voice in my head says. Resistance is sneaky, I didn’t recognize it. When it creeps up on me, I clean my house. I do the laundry. I take care of other people. etc. etc. etc. And the timing of your post couldn’t be better – I have a project due in 2 days.
I now feel relieved. Refreshed. More confident.
Thank you so much. ♥

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Bev Barnes September 14, 2012 at 10:56 am

Great April. Now you know that the urge to clean means you are avoiding something.

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Pama September 17, 2012 at 7:42 am

Hi Bev,
I always look forward to receiving your news letters. I broke my resistance last month. Its something I have been trying to do in the last 2 years. Nothing feels as good as this.
I looked and prayed for clarity during this period and am so convinced I found it. This is the greatest motivation I have had in pursuing my life calling. Its Life Coaching. At the beginning it looked undaunting after going through the credentials of MB certified coaches of which I plan on becoming. One of the reasons was lack of experience in the field but I discovered that its a topic I can talk about all day animatedly. Second was distance because am in Africa, Nigeria and am not sure I can get a visa to enrol in the states because study visas are only given out for courses in conventional universities. ( I stand to be corrected). Driven by the passion I have for helping others to live fulfiled lives, I got a partner who has been a friend for 10 yrs and togethet we are starting off with an entreprenuerial class in the first and third weeks of October in 2 locations whhch will be facilitated by resource people we outsourced.
Flyers are already going round and we are scared of the many positive feedback we are receiving as this is our first time but our motto is always ‘ no going back’.
The whole idea is exhilarating because its something we have not been bold to do but we are tired of waiting for perfect conditions. Bye bye to resistance.

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Bev Barnes September 17, 2012 at 11:19 am

Congratulations Pama! I love what you said “we are tired of waiting for the perfect conditions.” That is your go-to thought that pushes you through resistance. By the way, one of Martha Beck’s Master Coaches in South Africa, Judy Kilpin trains MBI coaches there, and the MBI coach training is for the most part virtual so you don’t have to be in the US. (I’m in Canada.). Email me through the contact form if you want more information!

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becky June 30, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Oh my gosh, Bev. I TOTALLY needed to hear this today! I have been in this place for a while and I have been wondering why I seem to have no attention span and while I really want to, I am simply not taking steps towards moving forward. At the same time, my ideas are huge and flowing and feel so juicy. Thank you for this post!!

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