As a solo-preneur, I am the only one available to do everything needed for my business. I am quite good at facilitation and public speaking, but notably less good at putting systems in place, making follow-up phone calls, everything having to do with PR, bookkeeping, etc. The things that I am not good at, I tend to resist doing.
Resistance is an interesting beast. I have a tendency to fall into a pattern of being both villain Snidely Whiplash and the Damsel In Distress: “You must pick up the phone.” “I can’t pick up the phone.” “You must pick up the phone!” “I can’t pick up the phone!” Sadly, there is no handsome stranger coming up and saying “I’ll pick up the phone for you!”
Or maybe, not so sadly. There would be no growth for me if someone else stepped in. No one else can represent me the way I can. And with the kind of work that I do, people will work with me directly and somewhat intimately. If they don’t like me, that’s a problem. So I need to be the one talking to them.
I’m going to digress a bit here, but I promise I’ll get back on point. Many years ago, I viewed exercise as punishment for being overweight. I didn’t understand why thin people exercised – they were already thin, and there was no other possible reason someone would go running. Several things had to shift in order to change this outlook. One, I had to start loving myself at the weight I was. I couldn’t wait to love myself until I got down to goal weight. I need and deserve love and respect at every size, weight, mood, and possible configuration of myself. Two, I had to start to find other benefits to exercise. I had to discover the feelings of enjoyment in movement, enjoyment in being outside to walk, in feeling my heart and lungs work, in feeling stronger each time I went up that darn hill.
I have lost some weight since I did these two things, but that doesn’t matter very much. What matters is that I no longer see losing weight as the only thing I can do that has any value. I see radical self-care as a rebellious act, and rejoice in seeing the strength and tenderness in myself as perfect right now. I am SO MUCH HAPPIER now that I’m not always feeling unworthy and inadequate based solely on the size of my hips. (Sometimes I feel uncomfortably close to the people in the seats next to me, but it’s still only one aspect of who I am, not the only metric that matters.)
Resistance to exercise has gone way down. Now I look forward to my dawn walks, and feel the lack when I don’t have them. I don’t always eat healthy food, but I enjoy the feelings of health and strength in my body when I do. I seem to have slipped the leash of Snidely Whiplash by focusing on all that is good and lovely in myself, regardless of size or reaching a goal weight.
So, to get back to my work discussion above, I found a way last week to slip the leash of resistance around making phone calls. I feel a lot of anxiety about making calls. I’m afraid I won’t get the right person on the phone. I’m worried the other person doesn’t want to hear from me, and that I’m being pushy and rude. I’m anxious I’ll feel stupid and inarticulate and let myself down by doing a bad job of talking on the phone. But I managed to look at all these stories I was telling myself, and to realize that they were only stories, not the truth. That other stories could be true, that people want to hear from me, they’re just too busy to call me, that I’ll look professional and capable if I pick up the phone and call them. That in fact I AM professional and capable, regardless of what other people may think. And, most importantly, that I have something to offer that can make their lives better. I don’t want to push it on people for whom it is a bad match, but I do want to offer it to people for whom it is a good match.
I had the good luck to get a person who was happy to hear from me on my first call. That helped fuel more calls after that. And it helped reinforce the stories that are more positive and helpful. I feel my resistance to making calls today is lower than it was last week because of this experience. It’s like martial arts, meeting force with love rather than more force.
It’s so interesting to see how these stories play out in my life, because I also help people in the work world change the stories they tell. I know how easy it is to believe that someone who isn’t there, who did something I didn’t like, is out to get me. And I know that there are a million other stories which are just as likely to be true. There is no reason I need to get trapped in a story that doesn’t serve me, and I can help you get out of your traps too. Teams often team with mistaken stories that go unchallenged for years. (See what I did there? Team as noun and verb? Makes the English Major in me proud.)
What are you resisting? Resistance may be futile – but you need not be assimilated.