If I’m So Smart, Why Can’t I Make My Dreams Happen? You May Be Closer Than You Think!
Have you ever been on a big project, shooting for a major goal, or just about to step into that big dream career, and heard yourself saying:
“I’m not stuck – I know what I need to do, I am just not doing it.”
“I’m never going to make this happen – nothing is working!”
“I was on a roll until work just got in my way.”
It’s amazing. I’m coaching three different people who have said these comments to me this week!! OMG! These are all smart, bright, achievement-oriented people who usually make their dreams come true – but are getting caught in, what I call, “stuckness” rather than making it happen.
What they don’t know, and maybe you don’t either is: each of these statements is a sign of resistance. Yet, resistance is a great signal that change is possible, in the wings, and even happening.
Go towards your resistance!
What I told them, and I’m telling you, is go towards your resistance. Yep, I know sounds crazy, but it works!
It may sound strange but, really, when you are about to step out of your status quo and break free from well-held patterns and limiting beliefs – you resist. Everyone does, but not all the time. Yes, we are wired that way. What you may not know is:
The bigger the shift, the greater the resistance because uncertainty and novelty generate anxiety, and what we usually do with anxiety is stop breathing and start thinking – which usually leads to fear, doubt and STUCKNESS.
Let’s dive into those quotes from above and see how a little support, and a bit of going towards the resistance can actually lead to a breakthrough!
Ellen, one of my clients, is a high-level executive who’s wrestling with a significant career change. She knows she wants to make a shift, has even been offered some great opportunities that would launch her on her new path, yet she resists.
In our session, Ellen shared that she gets excited and is ready to make the big move, but then she scares herself into thinking that she may be making a financial mistake. Ellen worries that down the road she’ll won’t be able to take care of herself. She gets stuck in the limiting belief that, “I’ll never make as much in my new career as I do now.”
This is a super smart, responsible, accomplished woman. You’d think it would be obvious to her that she’s projecting a negative storyline – right?
Wrong! When I asked Ellen, “Is it possible you could make more money with one of these new opportunities?” She laughed and said, “Well, not in my head!”
There lies the problem – her super smart brain is wired to find the problems, therefore missing alternative options.
Don’t get me wrong – it is possible that either storyline could happen. The point here is that she was not fully aware of which story she was already living. Without testing, reflecting and considering the impact, she’d stay stuck.
I call this a major KINK.
A KINK is a belief or assumption that is so ingrained, like a track on an old vinyl record, that it keeps playing without your awareness or letting in any new options.
We all have KINKS and all too often we don’t even realize that the old record is playing and that new music is possible!
Here’s how Phyllis bumped into her KINK.
Phyllis took up running as part of a health improvement plan. As a very busy boutique clothing shop owner in a tourist town, she’d been struggling with weight gain and menopause issues. Phyllis had always enjoyed running when she was younger. So, she signed up to run a half-marathon and used the future date to get started on a new health kick.
All was going well until her business suddenly got some fabulous press and everything went wild. She was at work late every day, trying to keep up. Sounds like a good problem to have, right? Yes and no.
Her running project got benched and she was getting burned out.
I asked Phyllis about her running project and she blurted, “I was on a roll until work got in my way!”
I suggested she go back to the big picture tool I use with my clients—the Mandala, to help her connect to her vision. The Mandala helps you keep both the your action oriented items, as well as, your selfcare visible. She responded, “I forgot all about that!” When she finally found it, she could connect to her life and work more holistically through the Mandala.
As we explored the work challenges, I commented that the way she was handling work was a lot like her training for the half-marathon. “It seems like you’re running alone and also handling all this new work alone, too. Don’t you have a team?”
“I have to find a way not to carry the whole load at work. But what does that have to do with running?” she asked.
“Well, not a lot if you are looking at things separately – but when you can see that exercise and running are a big factor in your wellbeing – not just your physical health, but the business’ as well,” I said.
“Whoa, that is such a different point of view!” Phyllis exclaimed!
We talked about how she needed a team approach to her business. Being the creative, smart woman that she is, she pulled her team together. They created a collective goal that focused on a more collaborative working environment. One of the main parts was a community project around getting back in shape!
Did I mention that Phyllis’ shop focuses on women and outdoor wear?
Something that can seem totally separate simply needs to be woven into a bigger more holistic picture, then it all works together more effortlessly.
The Mandala is a big part of our Get Unstuck program. I love it and it always helps me and many others see and hold a bigger picture, melting away stuckness and impossibility!
Finally, that last quote and client, Claire – “I’m never going to make this happen – nothing is happening!” The double negatives in that statement tell me a lot!
Most clients I work with, like Claire, are pretty driven, high achievers. They come with a lot of drive and engine power. However, I have found these over-achieving types have one common problem—too often, the goal is BIG and anything less than 90% of the finish line can be considered a failure. They miss all the progress they’ve made!
Shane Anchor in his TEDx Talk: The Happy Secret to Better Work shares research that when we focus on the small moves forward, it opens our brain, increases our confidence, and creativity.
So, I helped Claire unpack this and actually identify all the progress she had made toward her goal. It is super critical to be able to measure the successes along the way – it’s how you build momentum.
I know someone is close to BIG shifts if they are telling me that NOTHING is happening. Usually, with just a little nudge, this KINK leads to discovering there’s actually a lot happening and maybe it’s time to chill and acknowledge what has been accomplished!
Claire felt great when she got off the call. Then she emailed me the next day and said she just got not just one client to sign up for her new program but three!
Each of these clients is doing awesome work. I love that I get to join in their journey and offer a little perspective if they start to stall, ruminate, or drain their energy over signs of resistance!
Resistance is a sure sign change is coming. Welcome it and turn towards it – check your stories, your beliefs, and celebrate the success of getting this far down the path!!
Want some coaching? I’ll be happy to coach you live on TODAY’s FREE training: It’s Your Time, Make Your Dreams Happen.
Want to take some big steps forward, sign up for Get Unstuck, starting August 21st.
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke
Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict
CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.
They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.
Check out their website: www.thriveinc.com. Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn. Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! Find your copy of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team's Competitive Advantage here.