It’s a personal development jungle out there. The ‘how-to’ trap is so seductive for a brain that loves certainty, structure and steps to self-worth. Because so often that is what we are striving for.
The problem was that all these well-meaning articles and newsletters were giving me the personal-development sweats. Having entered into this world by virtue of my job as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and coach, there was part of my brain that just compelled me to sign up to and read all this feel-good material written by people who had ‘made it’ so that I could benefit from their ‘big secret’ to success.
Unfortunately it wasn’t long before I found that all the advice, top tips and e-books that were flooding my inbox were slowly winding their way around my arms and feet and pinning me down to the personal development jungle floor. I would scan through ‘my big secret to attracting [confidence, money, celebrity clients, awesome hair]’, with a growing weight of anxiety in my stomach because I could not find any meaning in what was being said.
In fact much of what I was reading made me feel inadequate, which would just lead me to sign up to another video series presented by someone with great hair.
I knew this barrage of information was simply creating confusion and clouding my judgment about how I wanted to run the show. Yet the niggle remained and usually went along the lines of: ‘I know you think you are happy and have everything you need and business is going well, but that pretty person is telling you how to be EVEN BETTER and will give you EASY STEPS to do it, why wouldn’t you do it?’
Thankfully I have an excellent community of people around me. During a Skype call with a particularly wise mentor, I found myself babbling on about all the things I ‘should’ do. She just kept on asking me ‘why’ and I was at a loss. She helped me realise how far I had come and that the Sally way of doing business was serving me perfectly; it was the stress of the ‘shoulds’ that was distracting me from my instinct or intuition or whatever you want to call it. The Sally ideas and plans that I had devised enthused and energised me; knowing they had come from me made them so much more exciting and fulfilling. I promptly purged my inbox and did a victory dance, knowing I was back on track.
Of course I feel a little shame-faced sharing this, because most of what I do with clients is helping them realise that they already have everything they need. Turns out I just needed a reminder.
I have learned to treat the word ‘should’ with the suspicion it deserves. My clients work with me to learn that they can rely on their internal locus of control ‘ILOC’ rather than seeking out external factors for self-worth and validation. This realisation is often accompanied by a sense of liberation; a freedom to be themselves. Possibilities and opportunities often seem to flow from this new-found freedom.
Don’t get me wrong, I love useful advice, information and anecdotes on how we might improve our lives. I couldn’t do the job I do now without having acquired a great deal of useful information.
The difference is that I now trust that queasy feeling as a cue to switch off and make space for the wisdom, fun and excitement that is waiting for me. If I feel really lost? I go and see someone to help bring me back – because we all need a bit of extra help from time to time.
If you are interested in learning how I can help you live a life that serves you better through Coaching and Cognitive Hypnotherapy, feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation. You don’t need 10 steps for self-worth; you already have everything need.