EVERY successful woman encounters resistance. Every. Single. Time.
For self-actualized women like you and me, resistance is sneaky. It shows up in subtle ways, sabotaging you before you know it. Resistance is deeply embedded in our DNA, and you can’t “overcome” it.
But you and I are no victims. Discover the 6 ways resistance is showing up, and how you can move through it to reach every single one of your dreams.
(Don’t believe me? Keep reading. You’ll be amazed).
Most ambitious and driven women do not understand the nature of resistance.
Even though you’ve done personal growth. Even though you’ve worked with coaches or therapists. Even though you know “magic happens outside your comfort zone,” I know that you’re still not grasping the gravity of what resistance is and why it occurs.
If you’re an empire-building woman with HUGE vision and HUGE dreams, resistance will try to block you minute-to-minute, day-to-day. And it’s not just women: EVERYONE has resistance.
What you need to understand is this: as you grow, make your next million, and begin to live with ease, flow, and joy, resistance will occur. Why? Because despite what YOU want, your system (your mind/body, AKA your nervous system) are committed to you NOT changing.
SEE ALSO: Understanding The Unseen Self
The conflict encoded in your DNA
It’s a mind-fuck, right? But this is why 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February — because of resistance. Resistance is not an if but a when. No matter what growth or expansion you’re seeking, you’re going to spend a lot of your time in the unknown and unfamiliar — because nothing changes until you do. So as you move into the unknown, your wiring (i.e. your mind and body) deems the unfamiliar a threat and unsafe (yes, even when you are CLEAR that you want it!). You’re the being who wants the next-level thing, and while YOU are upleveling and growing and dreaming and executing, your system is actively working against you. Why??
Resistance comes from our fear response, i.e. our old-timey survival instinct deeply encoded in our primitive brain. So although you’re reading this on your smartphone and it’s the 21st century, the part of your brain housing your fear response has not evolved since we were hunter-gatherers and prey of prehistoric animals. You’re working towards your dreams and moving into alignment, and your system goes, PUMP THE BREAKS! SHE’S GOING TO DIE, KEEP HER THE SAME, which triggers your fear response, which employs resistance to get you to BELIEVE the fear to make you halt, regress, or stay exactly where you are. You see it as your dreams. Your system sees it as a death-threat.
Resistance’s secret weapon: subtlety
The key to not letting resistance stop you is to recognize and understand how it shows up. Resistance comes in six subtle disguises, and I’m going to share them with you so you can disrupt resistance before it holds you back. In the beginning, resistance often appeared to me as Blank Brain and Confusion/Lack of Clarity. I’d sit at my desk and do this thing I called faking the funk: I’d reorganize my to-do list, work on tasks that didn’t move the needle, and respond to non-urgent emails. Faking the funk allowed me to feel like I was doing something… even though I wasn’t getting anywhere. Now, when I notice these subtle signs of resistance, I put my hand on my heart and remind myself: “You’re changing the world, Tracy. It’s not just you, it’s your whole team and your certified practitioners, and what do they need you to do? Sit your ass down and finish the task!”
How do you KNOW if it’s resistance?
Resistance works so well to hold us back because it seems so reasonable. It might even come in the guise of a “good thing,” and it takes deep awareness and love to recognize it for the resistance it is. You can bullshit yourself into believing any form of resistance is true and real and justified. You must be deeply aware of yourself to understand what’s REALLY at play. Take my example above. I responded to emails instead of doing big, important, game-changing work. Sounds like no big deal, right? Responding to emails is responsible and important! To see it for the resistance it is I have to be deeply honest about my priorities and the best use of my time and energy. I have to take radical personal responsibility for my big vision and dreams.
This is exactly why being deeply connected to your vision and the woman you’re becoming is essential. These are the moments where you have to ask yourself, is the choice I’m making bringing me closer to or taking me further from my vision? Am I embodying the version of me that’s already enjoying that wealth/relationship/bigger/keynote speaker status?
Resistance’s 6 favorite disguises:
Prepare to have your mind blown! The following six disguises for resistance are subtle and sneaky, validated by society at large, and super common. Remember, you’re an empire-building woman. She can learn to recognize these resistance patterns and rise above them:
1. Disempowering, low-level thinking. Thoughts like, I don’t know how, I’m not ready yet, this is too much, this is too hard, who am I to do this?? Another trend way to describe this? Imposter syndrome.
a. Imposter syndrome is, from my perspective, a series of thoughts that have become a construct — I don’t know enough, I’m a fraud, I’m not ready, they’re gonna find out. This is your mind being in fear and feeding you disempowering thinking. The brutally simple truth is that imposter syndrome is only real if you make it real. And if you choose not to subscribe to that low level thinking, then imposter syndrome can’t run rampant in your mind.
2. Confusion/Lack of Clarity. If you allow yourself to be clear, then you know how to move forward. So your brain is like, NOPE! You’re confused! You don’t have clarity. You don’t know how. You don’t understand enough to take action! Better to take a break or stop working early.
a. Remember my example above of handling my lack of clarity by being “productive” doing non-urgent tasks!
3. Overwhelm. Similar to confusion, if you’re overwhelmed you won’t move forward. Visualize overwhelm like a net that falls over you and drags you to the floor.
a. Women are very susceptible to overwhelm because of the way we’re socialized to people-please, overcommit ourselves, and “prove” our worth. The next thing you know, you’ve taken on so many responsibilities you have ZERO space to think and act for yourself. If you’re committed to everyone else, you can feel very justified in your belief that you’re too overwhelmed to do what you need to do.
4. Lack of motivation. I’m bored. I don’t feel like doing this. I’m not interested. This form of resistance is cute because it’ll make you think thoughts like, I’m too advanced/sophisticated for this strategy. Or, it probably won’t work so I won’t bother trying it. That’s resistance, keeping you doing the thing and pumping up your ego at the same time!
a. Recognize that if you’re losing interest in something that brings you closer to the beautiful vision you’re excited about… it’s resistance. It’s all about movement and alignment, and doing the things you need to do to become the version of you in the vision.
5. Distraction or shiny object syndrome. Resistance will say, go change the laundry before you start on that big project. Or, read that article first. So you bang out tasks that are so familiar you could do them in your sleep, you wash the dishes, check your emails, take the dog for a walk…. What’s so sneaky about this is, it’s not like you’re binge-watching Netflix. You’re doing practical tasks and chores! But ask yourself: are they the most valuable use of your time and energy right now?
6. Blank brain. I don’t know what to do/say/think/write. Also known as “writer’s block,” blank brain is so widely accepted. You say you have writer’s block and people nod sympathetically. But you’re a creative, passionate, experienced woman. How could you ever truly have a blank brain? Nope, this is resistance tricking you. If you breathe deeply, put your hand on your heart, and give yourself patience, grace and playfulness, your ideas will rush towards you like a river.
a. Here’s a bonus truth for you about writer’s block: you’re blocking yourself because you are judging your writing, your ideas, as you’re writing them. When you let go of judgment, the words and ideas simply flow.
Can you see how nuanced resistance is!?
Distraction doesn’t seem like a big deal, especially when you’re distracted by important, responsible tasks. Overwhelm might feel completely normal, a state you see reflected all around you online. Confusion? Easy to chalk up to your period or how well you slept or what’s going on in your personal life.
Resistance: the unasked-for green light
It’s imperative that empire-building women like you and me learn to recognize resistance for the fear it is. It’s imperative we create safety for ourselves so we can move through resistance and stay focused in pursuit of our vision and dreams.
If you feel resistance it’s because you’re changing and evolving — which is exactly what you must do to realize your vision. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true: resistance is therefore a green light, not a stop sign.