The 3 keys to overcoming the entrepreneurial or creative trap aka “resistance”

Resistance: The Entrepreneurial or Creative Trap
The 3 keys to help move forward no matter what!

How often do you “hit the wall”? (the wall of resistance that is)

I have been fascinated by reading the book from Steven Pressfield entitled The War of Art. Even though I have heard the concept of “resistance” more than once over the years (especially when I graduated from the Coaches Training Institute in 1998 as a Personal and Professional Coach), I have never found a book that calls it out so bluntly and clearly. Back then, we called those inner voices (or resistance) “Gremlins.” Gremlins are the voices that call you to go play outside when you are pushed for a work deadline or  “make you believe” that you don’t have what it takes to do _______ (fill in the gap). Over the past couple of years on the entrepreneurial path, I also heard it called “hitting the wall” (of resistance that is).

How often do you think you “hit the wall”?

Chances are, that if you are an artist or an entrepreneur, you “hit” the wall daily. Every time you begin a new project, are near completion to an existing one and can’t seem to finish, or decide to “step up” and expand your ambitions (your business, art project or health regiment), you will “hit the wall” sooner than later.

What does the “wall” look like?

Let’s say you have great ideas, but never seem to put them into action. Or you start too many things and never complete them because you get “distracted” by “more interesting” things. Or you are a perfectionist, and continue working on “it” until it “looks perfectly done,” but never take action until a long time (too long) has gone by. You may even get sick, get into small accidents, or find that “out of your control” events keep happening.

After a while, you begin questioning why you have started this business/project in the first place, because it is so challenging. You may start believing that It may not be “meant to be” and you are almost ready to give up.

Sounds familiar? Welcome to the world of long-term goals versus short-term rewards.

In his book entitled The War of Art, Steven Pressfield introduces the “art of resistance,” which pretty much applies to any action dedicated to expanding your life, health, career, business, relationship, or creativity. I was first introduced to this theory of “resistance” when I was first exposed to the practice of Kripalu yoga 25 years ago. This basic principle of overcoming resistance on the mat, was the theory underlying the “holding of postures,” which basically meant to watch the conversation in the mind as a variety of “sensations” emerged. You can only imagine what can show up in your mind if you hold any pose for more than 2 minutes.

“I don’t like this.”, “Why am I doing this?”, “This is crazy.”, “I am going to hurt myself.”, “Who came up with this anyway?”, “I need to be careful.”, etc…

All kinds of “good reasons” would emerge for getting away from this uncomfortable situation.

If you have committed yourself to do something meaningful to you, I am pretty sure that you know what I am talking about. When the time comes to practice yoga, write your book, go to a networking event, or do a speaking engagement, all of a sudden you don’t feel well. Or you are tired, confused, things are not organized “well enough”, and your partner, the kids, and the dog need you NOW! Then when you look at the clock, time has gone by, or the day is almost over. Tomorrow, you tell yourself,  tomorrow will be a better day. Start fresh and feel better. I have heard it all, because I have said almost all of these things too.

If you don’t know what resistance feels like, start or grow a business. It will challenge you in your bones. Everything from having to “believe in yourself,” to having to “sell” yourself, to managing time effectively, and having to learn new skills  (some that you could not care less about), will push the envelope much harder than anything you have ever done, I guarantee you.

So what is your next big project?

Have you decided to start or grow a business, or make money with your art? Are you in business for yourself and know that you “need” to take care of your health, because stress is taking the better of you?

If the answer is yes, here are the first 3 steps that I recommend to whoever is interested in “busting through” their wall of resistance.

1) Know what you want and especially “why” you want it.
The “why” is the fuel behind your action.  Once you know, write it somewhere visible, so you could read it over and over again, especially when the going gets tough. When you are clear-minded, and you know in your heart what matters to you and why, taking actions will become much easier.

2) Set up health and productivity strategies to help you overcome resistance.
One of my favorites is “time blocking.” Block out time in your calendar, let’s say one hour, and turn off both the email and the phone! Do not allow any distractions to deter you from your project. Give yourself a deadline: for example “write blog” within the time frame you allotted and get going without stopping until you are done!

3) Prioritize, focus, and commit until completion.
Once you decide on what you want, make it a priority in your life. Learn to say “NO” to whatever takes you away from your initial project. Focus and commit to getting it done until completion. For example, let’s say that one of your marketing strategy is to make sales calls, or engage people into “enrolling conversations.” Every Monday, review your list and set up times for you to get together with those people. If your project is to paint for an exhibit, determine how many paintings you want for the exhibit, and create a daily “block of time” where you paint until you have reached your goals. No excuses allowed.

If you are interested in joining me in implementing these steps, join me for a workshop “Woman Entrepeneurs on Fire”, March 24th at Healing Rhythms, or on the web/phone, Monday, March 17th

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2 thoughts on “The 3 keys to overcoming the entrepreneurial or creative trap aka “resistance”

  1. Chantal- It is so great to get some words of encouragement after hitting a wall. I feel like I hit a big wall about a month ago, and now that I've been more consistent and working through it, I'm finding some great success. Your insights and advice is perfect for me right now, thanks!  

  2. I love to teach my clients about time-blocking because it really works. I especially teach them the "flylady" trick of setting the timer for 15 or 20 minutes, because anybody can do that thing they resist for a short period of time.

    What I love about your post is you put the first item being to connect with your "why." What a great way to begin the process of overcoming resistance and procrastination. Often times I find myself doing the mundane actions that are part of a mile-long task list. However, if I connect with my "why," I immediately go to gratitude, because my why includes never working a job ever again in my life!  I can totally be grateful for doing boring mundane tasks in my own home office, looking out the window at the birds scoping out their next nesting box.


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