Self-motivation and overcoming resistance [Tess, week four]

Written on July 20, 2011 by in Business savvy, Guest bloggers

Editor’s Note: Tess, our guest blogger, is back! Enjoy her latest post below.

Kate introduced the related topics of self-motivation and overcoming resistance this week.

Both are critical to the ability to take action. Big topics.

She said something that got my attention right away: In order to accomplish our goals, we need to believe what we want is possible, that what we believe is true—because we only take actions on what we believe. That beliefs are the deciding factor in what happens to us, what we choose—that in fact they have more of an impact on our success or failure than the situations or obstacles we face. That people who fail tend to focus on things that are outside of their control, rather than on the things they can actually do something about.

Stop a minute and think about this with me. The power is mine, yours, ours. We get so busy in life, in the day to day, so distracted, that we start to believe we don’t have time to think or time to act, and we merely react to whatever happens to be going on around us at any given moment in time. What is the result? All of the sudden we are powerless faceless creatures just reacting away our time, our days, our years. And it’s because we started to believe something without really thinking it through.  And that is pure nonsense really.  Change your mind; open it back up to possibility and action and choice. Take a look at where you are on automatic pilot in your life—and what you believed to get yourself there, what you were too busy to think about. Changing a belief can be as simple as becoming aware of it and deciding what you want to replace it with.

Photographic inspiration by Zack Dischner via Flickr

Next, we arrived at resistance, a word that always reminds me of the Borg. Kate introduced us to a technique that psychotherapist Eugene Gendlin calls focusing. According to Wikipedia, ‘focusing is used to refer to the simple matter of holding a kind of open, non-judging attention to something which is directly experienced but is not yet in words. Focusing can be used to get clear on what one feels or wants.’ She used simple sentences to open up our brains to two differing parts within us, and get the opinions each had out on paper. Deceptively simple. The two parts were the part that wants to take action, and the part that doesn’t want to take action, and the dialogue they shared was extraordinary and completely unexpected! These two parts are alive and well and quite strong, are at a very specific place in my body, and one of them truly despises the other.

I will confess right now: I am sort of a self-help junkie, and this was quite a shock. Ask anyone who knows me. I take making my mind better and understanding myself to a whole new place, which, yes, sometimes does indeed make my husband positively crazy. I thought I knew what was going on inside, for the most part. I thought I was (mostly) done. Well, the battle that is going on inside me—for truth and understanding! acceptance and love!—is far from over people.

Breaking it down, the first part was the part that wants to take action on a specific thing, and the second part was the part that doesn’t want to take action on that specific thing. The first was a bratty, condescending, judgmental, rude pill. The second part was quiet, calm, focused, matter of fact, and dare I say, rational? Now I rather pride myself on being courteous and kind and at the very least trying to be patient—and it’s quite unlike me to be aggressive or rude or flip someone off violently, yet this is how the first moving-ahead-now part was talking to the no, no, no, wait, wait, stop part. Surprised doesn’t really begin to describe it. By listening to the reasons of the resistant part of me, whose reasons, it turns out, were quite reasonable (say this ten times fast), I saw for the very first time the reason for my resistance and it was a good sound one!

This call was extraordinary. Asking each side to speak up and tell me what it was thinking and feeling while I wrote it down was quite illuminating. I no longer feel the pressure to listen to that pushy little beast.  I told her to shut up and hold on.  And to try using a little courtesy for a change. The controversy inside my gut has subsided into an easier and more workable relationship. The news that the resistant part inside of me has a great and valid point was unexpected and wonderful and a whole new perspective. The fact that I see the part that wants to move ahead at a breakneck speed as reckless and careless is new, too.  Two new views that lead to two new insights into myself and into my personality as a business owner and manager. I will be using Eugene Gendlin’s focusing technique again and again. Another quite useful tool in my toolkit.  Thanks Kate.

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