I’ve been failing in my business for the last three years.
Failing my way to success.
It’s felt like two steps forward and three steps back.
I’ve often felt like giving up.
I still have those days.
Wondering if I should just go and get a “proper job”.
Those are the days when my Inner Saboteur is in charge.
You know, that voice in your head.
The one who says in the most condescending, you-are-a-piece-of-shit, dismissive shrill:
“It’s never going to work, you’ll never be able to make a proper living just doing what you love – get real!”
“Who did you thinking you were kidding anyway!”
“Face it. You just don’t have what it takes. You’re not good enough and never will be. Get over it!”
When the Saboteur is in charge, those thoughts feel like the truth.
Until I remember.
That those thoughts are just a story.
A story I made up. To keep me safe.
Because if my story is true. Then it’s okay to give up when the going gets tough. Sensible even.
Then I can stop putting my self-worth on the line.
I can fail small.
Not too many people will know. I can get over it and go back to my safe place.
My comfort zone.
But if I carry on.
If I “act as if” none of those thoughts are true.
If I choose to believe those thoughts are not who I am.
If I choose to believe I have everything I need inside of me to create exactly what I want in my life.
If I go for it in a big way.
There’s a risk.
I still might fail.
Then I will fail big.
And then everyone will know.
That all of those thoughts are the truth.
And they will all point. And laugh. And say: “I told you so.”
And I might not recover.
From the shame.
My identity will become: “Failed Coach and Business Woman.”
Failure. With a capital F.
That is how the world will see me.
How my kids, my family, my friends, my clients, everyone I love, will see me.
That is how I will see me.
I’m Not the Only One
I see this fear in my clients.
It may not be a fear of failing in business.
It may be fear of failing in their marriages. Or failing to go for and achieve their dreams.
Failing to live their best lives.
I see how it holds them back from becoming the person they know they are meant to be.
I see how it paralyses them.
And I feel so much compassion.
Because I can see how amazing they are.
I can see what’s possible for them beyond the fear and the self-doubt.
I get how desperately they want to break free and break through.
And yet they are afraid.
To risk walking through the fear.
To get to the happy, fulfilling, purposeful lives and marriages they so desperately yearn for. And deserve.
The Shift We All Must Make
We are worthy already.
Me. You. All of us.
We don’t have to succeed, or fail, at anything, in order to prove or disprove our worth.
Our successes and our failures are not who we are.
We are enough. Right now.
When we learn to love ourselves enough to truly believe this, we can redefine “failure”.
We can understand that just because we really, really want something – that doesn’t mean it’s going to come easy.
In fact, we’re probably going to be challenged over and over again and tested to see just how much we really want it.
We may have to “fail”. A lot. Before we get there.
And we won’t make it mean “we” are a failure.
We will make it mean that we need to adjust course, try something else, take more action, get feedback. Maybe even start over.
We will walk through the fear.
We will see it for what it is. An opportunity to learn something more about ourselves and our lives.
An opportunity to tap into our resilience.
An opportunity to reconfirm our commitment to ourselves and to living our best lives.
We will be willing to be vulnerable.
To put ourselves out there.
To know that we may be ridiculed, or criticised, or shot down in flames.
And we will carry on regardless.
Because we will know we have nothing to prove.
We’ll be willing to fail our way to success.
In our marriages. In our relationships. In our businesses. In our lives.
Because doing what it takes to live our best life is worth the risk.
Because that’s who we are.
But What About When the Saboteur Voice Takes Over?
The Saboteur is never going away completely. Sorry to break it to you. 🙂
So you might as well get used to him/her residing in your head.
In fact, the more you stretch and grow out of your comfort zone, the more threatened your Saboteur will feel.
And the more he/she will turn up the volume and urge you to retreat to the safety of your comfort zone.
Here are Three Steps to Dealing with the Inner Saboteur:
(1) Acknowledge the thoughts. Stay with them. Have compassion for the part of your mind that just wants to keep you safe. Write them down in your journal and let your worst fears spew out onto the page. Feel the feelings your negative thoughts bring up. Don’t rush this part, stay with it until you are ready to move on.
(2) Question the thoughts. Look at what you’ve written. Are those thoughts really the truth? How much of it is factual? Would these “facts” stand up in court? How much is your “story”?
What is choosing to believe these thoughts costing you? What will it cost you in the future? How are you using these thoughts to sabotage yourself and take you off of your path? What is the pay-off (benefit) of you holding on to these thoughts?
(3) Change the thoughts. When you’re ready, ask yourself what else you can believe about this situation that also feels true, but positive. What do you need to think and believe in order to get the result or outcome you want? What new thought is going to give you the feeling you want (excited/energised/calm/confident) that will have you wanting to get into action and moving forward?
Rinse and repeat as necessary.
What About You?
Now I’d love to hear from you! What is your biggest fear and how does it hold you back? What strategies do you use to get past your Inner Saboteur that work for you? Please share in the comments below.
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