Remember reading Gulliver’s Travels in school? In Gulliver’s first voyage, after a shipwreck he floats ashore in a strange land. He awoke to find himself tied to the ground by Lilliputians who used tiny threads. None of these individual threads were strong enough to hold him. But the sheer accumulation of weak threads was sufficient to keep him from rising and moving ahead.
I saw the constraints of many little threads this week. I met a bright, professionally accomplished woman held fast by a sticky web of her own assumptions about why she isn’t succeeding (and can’t). I sensed a deep emotional investment in the reasons why the deck is stacked against her success. It’s an understandable protective mechanism. A year of not finding a job or satisfying consulting gigs can do a number on your confidence.
It’s easy for any of us to hinder our own progress with little tie-downs of our own imagination—even when we are moving forward toward realizing our goals.
The Little Threads of Head Trash
“It’s not so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble.
“It’s the things we know that ain’t so.”
“Head trash” is stuff that we believe, that isn’t true. We’ve all got some. And if we’re vested in beliefs and assumptions that don’t hold water, those beliefs stand just as firmly in the way of success as actual marketplace challenges.
How do you figure out what’s real and what’s just Head Trash? Byron Katie’s “The Work” framework is as good a tool for sorting that out as any I’ve ever found. (We apply some of the same principles in Rainwerks’ Pricing to Prosper program.)
The Little Threads of Resistance
Paul B. Evans, who helps professionals build their businesses through public speaking, wrote recently that internal Resistance is the biggest barrier to realizing our goals:
“Resistance – it’s the thing that keeps you from ever getting in the boat. It keeps you on shore. It convinces you that safe comfort is far better than adventure and risk.
“Resistance whispers, “Tomorrow.”
“Resistance convinces you that the dream was more like a joke.
“Resistance provides the reason why you shouldn’t, at least for now, take the helm when you could lay on the beach with a nice cocoa butter sheen.
“Resistance keeps the boat in the harbor, the canvas blank, the book pageless, the gym unused, the running shoes in the closet, the resume on the hard drive, and the dream in the heart and out of the hands.
“The goal of Resistance is to prevent achievement in any form. To inhibit a single step.
“Sometimes Resistance comes with power. It’s a battle.
“Sometimes it comes with a subtle whisper. It’s a warm bath….”
Without a plan for overcoming Resistance, we won’t get where we want to. Evans offers some thoughts on Conquering Resistance Conquer Resistance.
What’s your plan for overcoming Head Trash and Resistance?