Have you noticed that as a change agent your life has a certain amount of “the agony and the ecstasy” in it?
Self-transformation in service to humanity is rarely a path of continually increasing joy and flow. You may prefer to envision that life will always get easier, which helps to motivate the more reluctant parts of your psyche. You might want to present the public face of “It just keeps getting better” to your community. You may even promise your potential clients that “It will all be great” in order to avoid triggering the reluctant side of them that could get in the way of taking in the support they need.
But let’s be honest with ourselves. Committing to the path of ever increasing presence and impact in the world means that bigger challenges will keep arising to meet your larger capacity. At some point you’ll likely find yourself catching on to a recurring pattern of “Here I am again, feeling those feelings I thought I had outgrown by now. Drat, not done yet!”
One of my mentors said (and I paraphrase here): “Staying on a growth path means that you don’t get to rest in a comfortable place of expertise. You will regularly be thrown back into a place of inadequacy, fear, or doubt. Get used to it!”
How do you slice through this kind of recurring fog that regularly pulls you off course?
The way to begin is to surrender to the fact that you will continue to hit the next wave of your “signature slowdown.” Your personal version of this wave might look like fear, doubt, shame or some other favorite distraction from your most purposeful path. As long as you stay in denial about your “slowdown parts,” the longer this pattern will subconsciously sabotage your efforts. Once you recognize what’s going on under the hood, you can take steps to minimize its impact on you.
At the same time, it’s important to actually appreciate this aspect of yourself which is just trying to take care of you and protect you from the potential danger of getting more out there in the world. Forgive it and appreciate its efforts no matter how clumsy and misguided it seems at the moment. It does have your best interests at heart!
Here is a quick and simple strategy to move more gracefully through these foggy phases so that they become shorter over time.
- First, prepare to catch these reluctant parts of your psyche when they are in action. Make a list of these misaligned parts, their behavior and favorite sayings. For example, you might notice that you have an “Arrogance Monitor” part that scolds you “Who do you think you are, to imagine that you can step up to this much influence without becoming an egomaniac?”
- Then, for each misaligned part you discover in your psyche, find and list a counterbalancing part. For example, a counterbalance for an “Arrogance Monitor” could be either a compassionate and loving part of you, or a collaboration-loving voice in your psyche.
- Finally, put your list to good use by recognizing your misaligned parts when they have taken charge. Acknowledge their point of view with appreciation for their protective instincts, and then remember that they are not the only point of view available. Take the opportunity to invoke the counterbalancing voice to reactivate your full resourcefulness and variety of options.
Take a moment to reflect right now. Are there any reluctant parts of you causing fog between you and the True North of your most purposeful path forward? If so, what counterbalancing points of view would be helpful to remember?
Have fun with this and let me know how it goes!