“I want to do the thing, I love to do the thing, or at least I think I do, and when it’s time to do the thing, my brain says ‘NOPE.’ What’s up with that?”
There could be two things going on:
1. You don’t love the thing as much as you say you do.
2. You do love the thing but are experiencing what I call “tiny resistance.”
I’ll unpack this for you:
You don’t love the thing as much as you say you do.
Does this feel like a “should?” Is it what everyone else is doing and you feel like a weirdo because you’re not, but everyone else seems happy/successful/perfect whilst doing the thing, so obviously there much be something wrong with you. Get to it! Crack the whip!
Example: Everyone is using Facebook to promote their businesses. But you freaking hate Facebook. You hate using it, you hate the algorithm, you hate that you can’t see stuff when you want to see it, you feel dread about using it even a year in of a good, solid try applying curiosity and experimenting. Maybe it’s time to delete your Facebook page. Find a medium that lights you up, that you look forward to using, that feels like “home.” There are people out there who don’t use social media at all, and are still successful in business. I know, right?
Another inquiry to try: Have you been at it a solid amount of time — several weeks (6-plus) or months rather than hours or days? This could be an adjustment phase issue. If you’ve honestly given it a go for a good amount of time and are still avoiding and dreading doing the thing, then it might be time to let it go, or to tweak it to better suit you.
Until you can connect to and summon that inner voice that tells you “This is all wrong for me,” and listen to it, you’ll end up doing stuff you hate, sometimes for years. Maybe it’s time to set yourself free and do things your way. Because only then will you be able to clearly hear the inner voice that says, “This is totally right for me, and it feels like coming home.”
Remember, just because something really isn’t your thing — and that includes your Great, Big, Shiny Idea That You Totally Thought Was “The One” — consider that you might need to tweak or adjust rather than abandon ship altogether. Look for: Ways to course correct. Like maybe hiring someone to run your Facebook page if you’re getting a decent response there. Or to do other shit you really hate doing, while keeping your bigger idea running with heart.
Or maybe it’s okay to let a big thing go, because that opens up space to explore something that might be a much better fit for you.
You do love the thing but are experiencing what I call “tiny resistance.”
You’ve put in the time, researched, asked all of the right questions, went through training/mentoring as needed, got super-freaking-crystal-clear about your desires and how to fulfill them. And yet, when it comes time to do your thing — the thing you most want, the thing you chose — you don’t wanna.
Here’s why: Newness sucks. You’re a caterpillar newly emerged from the cocoon, and it’s time to fly, and you spread your wings and oh man, this is thrilling, and scary, and it takes up a ton of energy, and you’re afraid of falling, and what if you poop mid-air, and you’re not sure if you’re doing it right, and holy balls, it is ever harder than you thought it was going to be. But afterward? You feel exhilarated! You’re doing the Kevin-McCallister-in-Home-Alone fist-pump and dancing around your office like Mick Jagger. Or Elaine from Seinfeld. Either way, it’s a happy dance.
Bottom line, key point: You feel dread before doing the thing, but you feel consistently awesome and empowered and on the right path both during and afterward. Doing your right thing isn’t effortless, but it flows, and it feels right.
Example: When I was in coaching training, I learned that it’s normal to feel a sense of dread and avoidance before coaching sessions. That this might prove true even in instances where we had a practice client we felt really great about working with, or even that shiny new very first ideal client who is paying you actual dollars and huzzah and confetti is dropping and still, you feel your pits sweating before each call, wondering whether you should postpone until you feel . . . safer, more competent, whatever.
I found this experience to be true: Even though I straight-up knew I was doing work I valued and loved, I felt dread before my client sessions in the early days. And I got over it. How? By doing lots and lots and lots of client sessions. And even now, after every client session, I’m doing a fist-pump and a victory lap around my office, because I just love this work, I’m good at it, and I get so much about connecting on such a deep level with a fellow human being.
Currently, I’m recording episodes for the Do What Lights You Up podcast, which will launch in November. When I’m about to record an episode, I feel that same sense of dread in the hours beforehand. My “How can I get out of this?” instinct darts out of the shadows, scurrying toward the nearest rock for shelter. “Eh,” I’ll think. “It’s just tiny resistance because you’re new at this. Just do the thing and the reluctance will abate over time.” And those thoughts are absolutely correct. I totally shake my booty after every recording, and love every moment while I’m having those lively and deep conversations with people.
Tiny Resistance doesn’t have the same level of dread as a Should; it’s lighter, more like stage fright than going through the motions. I realize that this is a rather fine distinction: Is it garden variety newness or is it a thing I shouldn’t be doing? But your heart knows. You always know the answer.
If you have any thoughts to share about this, I’d love to hear them. Hit ‘reply to this newsletter and get in touch. If not, please know that I’m grateful that you take the time to read these newsletters. Thank you.