You know what the most interesting thing about being a life purpose and career coach is? Watching the many ways people create to run away from their passions. It's absolutely fascinating. I once had a client who planned a very cool home staging business. We created her website, came up with her target market, how she planned to help them, had her branding done, did all of the research to choose appropriate pricing and services... and then she never launched.
At the time, she was working in a job she hated in a dark basement. She knew she needed to get out of there, but something was holding her back.
Was the Twin Cities home staging industry already too saturated? No, we researched that.
Did she lack the time or resources to start the business? No, she had a flexible schedule and didn't need a lot of money for start-up capital.
So what gives? I'll tell you. She got eaten by the What If Monster.
You know the one. This monster that randomly shows up and starts eating your rational mind. The one that quietly asks “What if no one hires you?” and then sends you into a panic. Yeah, that one. She got eaten by the What If Monster and never finished her coaching package.
Now, I have many tools to deal with the What If Monster, but she left before we could use them. This is highly unusual, but her Monster was unusually strong.
I guarantee you that right now, somewhere in your brain, there is a teeny, tiny What If Monster lurking in the shadows. The more you feed him, the bigger he'll be. He has many names: Self-Sabotage, Negative Nancy, Indecision, Analysis Paralysis, etc. Your particular brand of What If Monster will have its own name.
I have another client who likes to think of the worst-case scenario a lot, because he feels like he's prepared for anything that way. He wants to change careers, and is worried that no one will hire him and he'll end up destitute in the street. This is a guy who is normally very confident, skilled, and has a fabulous resume as well as personality. In reality, he has nothing to worry about. But his What If Monster tells him he has a LOT to be worried about, and if he doesn't worry, that means he doesn't care. Tricky! Now he can't stop worrying, or else that would mean he's stopped caring!
Worry does not equal caring. But many of us tell ourselves that.
Worry does not mean failure is certain. But again, many of us hear those concerns and then act on them instead of seeing them for what they are: garden-variety self-sabotage.
Self-sabotage isn't actually something to be concerned about. It's extremely normal. But it needs babysitting. Yes, your mind is a five year old who, like every five year old, cannot be left alone.
Believing in your fears more than you believe in yourself is equivalent to leaving a five year old in the house alone all day. He has now destroyed the house.
The negative, self-doubting, sabotaging thoughts truly aren't you. If you allow yourself to identify with them, they have won. Staying positive and rational in the face of doubts, doing research on your goal, having support, and all the other smart things we do every day to keep our homes and families safe is the equivalent to hiring a babysitter for your mind.
The What If Monster will show up without you asking. It doesn't take any effort on your part to summon him. But you do have to be intentional about summoning the thoughts that keep him away. We all have to find what works for us- be it affirmations posted around the house, finding an accountability partner, taking baby steps towards your goal to make it less scary, etc.
The things you think that get you excited and happy- that's you. The things you think in response to it that make you sad, scared, or indecisive- that's not you. You owe those thoughts nothing. Well, perhaps a 'thanks for trying to protect me, but no thanks.'
You have the power, and the right, to reverse your thoughts in any moment. You are stronger and much, much more important than your What If Monster. He's not even paying rent to live in your head! The audacity! Kick him out, little by little, every day. At the very least-- hire a babysitter.
Life Purpose and Career Coach
Career Clarity Now