Recently, I was working with a client who felt that she was being held back.
On the surface this is not someone who would appear to be stuck or held back in any way. I know her to be successful in her work, happy in her relationship, with a reliable circle of friends.
Intuitively, I asked what it was like for her growing up in her home. She shared that her childhood was a blur because it was chaotic, her father was unpredictably volatile, she felt misunderstood.
When I asked her to describe how she navigated her childhood, she paused and said she just bided her time. She explained that she studied to make sure she got good grades and stayed focused on life after high school.
She held this image of carrying a heavy old college catalog around as a reminder that there was life after leaving her family home.
There was a pause and then she had a big AHA moment: more than 30 years later, she was still biding her time.
Despite all her accomplishments and the wonderful life she had created, she felt there was so much more she could be doing and experiencing.
That feeling of biding her time had been practiced diligently for so many years, it had become an integral part of her being. It was affecting her internal chemistry, as if she were still taking medicine she had stopped needing many years ago.
At this point, I was having a WOW moment, too. I thought back to that part of my Tame Your Inner Critic program where we identify the negative loop as a habit – a habit that we create as young children to help us cope with everyday challenges/traumas. This voice is originally created with good intentions – to protect us, to guide us. At the same time, it does outlive its service as we develop into adults with new experiences, new relationships and our circumstances change.
Back to my client. Awareness is the first step and we were both feeling like we had found a needle in the haystack that we hadn’t consciously been seeking.
With this awareness identified, we could now work on addressing the unwanted habit through a variety of strategies to change her neuropathic channels.
As a coach, I work in partnership with clients. After checking in about the emotions this brought up and how my client felt in their body, they asked if we could do some brainstorming of possible actions to move forward.
Together, we came up with more than 20 options and for homework, my client chose two options to explore.
Several months later my client shared that she felt as though we were organizing her life a la “Marie Kondo!” By eliminating this “baggage” that did not spark joy and was holding her back, she was feeling lighter, freer and filled with a sense of excitement and curiosity.
If this story resonates with you, I invite you to comment below, and/or schedule a complimentary strategy session.