How did you overcome resistance?

September 11, 2014

Not too long ago I asked in the Facebook group what you’d like me to blog about and I received a handful of great questions and will be answering them here on the Behind the Scenes blog.

Today’s behind the scenes question:

How in your transition from your previous life to your current life, did you overcome resistance and allow all the good stuff in?

Juicy question. Resistance is the worst, and is a prevalent issue for creatives, entrepreneurs, and anyone working towards anything meaningful in their lives. Resistance shows up in many forms for me… “productive” procrastination, fear, hesitation, hiding out, getting into a negative mind cycle, etc. Resistance shows up when even more frequently when we’re on the verge of something amazing, which is super unfortunate because many of us fall victim to resistance.

1) I changed my ecology.

This is something I learned at my very first entrepreneurial event in 2010. One of the speakers was Bryan Johnson and he talked about the “ecology of change” and how there’s a rubber band effect. For example, if I decide one day to deepen my spirituality, yet I don’t change a thing around me, I’m not likely going to be able to make that shift in the way I desire. I will feel resistance because I’ve stretched outside my current ecology and will likely snap back (crash, burnout, fall apart, mess up, etc) like a rubber band when I’ve stretched too far.

I had to start looking at changing my life like nurturing a plant. You can’t take something that’s planted in Hawaii and move it to the bitter cold winters of the midwest overnight and expect it to thrive. You have to move slowly and deliberately, making ecological adjustments as you go. You’d slowly adjust it to less sunshine all the time, maybe bring in some additional forms of nourishment and food, and you’d probably want to slowly change it’s soil. Honestly, I don’t have a green thumb so I don’t really know why I’m using a plant analogy that I don’t really understand, but I think you get the picture. 🙂

When I realized I wanted to make certain changes, I changed my ecology slowly and deliberately. I’d start making new like-minded friends rather than expecting my current friends to understand (or just dropping them all at once – cold turkey is hard in pretty much all instances). I’d start reading an introductory book and maybe take a yoga class. I’d stop gossiping or watching a show that lowered my vibration. I’d change how I said certain things and how I mentally approached life. Slow and deliberate changes eliminate that rubber band effect.

2) I understood the biology of change.

Something I learned from Todd Herman at the same event was the biology of change. He talks specially about the biological experience of making changes and how when we feel resistance to change, it’s just a physical sensation while our body and minds literally rewire themselves. If we can just push through that, we can experience the changes we want to see. His recommendation is that when you start to feel that physical reaction as resistance you simply tell yourself out loud, “I’m changing.” It roots you back into your experience and reminds you that this is simply a physical symptom of the changes you want to make, not a signifier that you should stop or retreat. You’re changing, that’s all… carry on!

3) I took action anyways.

I’m an amazing “productive procrastinator”. While I may not be doing what I need to do because of resistance, you’d better believe I’m checking off 15 other things from my list that are smaller, easier, and less important! When I’m feeling resistance around writing, running, having a tough conversation, or anything else, I start anyways. I make a crappy first design, string together mindless nonsense on the page, or I start fumbling through the conversation until I find the words. The action creates momentum and I always find my footing or groove along the way.

I know it seems hard to take action when resistance rears it’s ugly head, but you can do it. Sometimes I take really fussy, whiny, practically three year old tantrum style action steps until I get through that giant wall of resistance. If you have to make a sloppy first mark on your canvas while you literally roll around the floor and whine about it, do it. You will work through that and then you’ll start working on your masterpiece.

4) I read these awesome books.

Both by Steven Pressfield, both quick and easy reads, and both amazing:

5) I stayed in the present moment.

Always a challenge and something I had to learn with constant practice. I talk about this a lot. 🙂 If you’re feeling resistance, you’re probably in your head overthinking, stressing out, future tripping, or obsessing over the past rather than just being present. Take a deep breath, come back to your body, and fully engage in this moment and experience while you take action. Don’t worry about five or even ten steps from now, just take that first action step and focus fully on what you’re doing or who you’re engaged with. Presence is powerful and can eliminate resistance immediately!

What about you?

Do you have any experience with resistance? What’s work for you?

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