Perhaps you're valiantly trying to achieve your goals and dreams, but sometimes there's this little voice that says:
"No more for you – this is as far as you can get"
Or the doubt in your mind that an extraordinary life is too much to ask for. Perhaps you should be happy with what you've got.
The flip side to personal development is that when you start to put yourself out there, some incredibly ugly things can start to happen. This is the gross stuff that nobody talks about.
In fact, when you see someone who is living a successful, courageous or prosperous life, you just assume that they've got it all figured out perfectly. There must be a secret to it!
The bad news is that the gross feelings of unworthiness, shame and fear may still manifest themselves no matter how good life gets. At each level of success, you may have to face it and learn to move through it. I've heard incredibly successful women like Ali Brown or Marie Forleo talk about their fear as they do something new in their life or business.
When I heard that, I was like "Shit. Seriously? There's no magic pill?"
The great news is that you can learn to recognise some of this gross stuff and decide that you're only human and you can overcome it. Life can be infinitely sweeter when you shine a light on your darkest fears.
Let me tell you a story about my past.
When I was 12 I had this fabulous tie-dyed rainbow dress. I wore it to my Year 6 formal, but I wanted to wear it all the time in the way that 12 year olds do, even though it was getting way too short and tight.
This one time, I wore it to the supermarket. I was just running in to get something and I was looking really scruffy. I wasn't wearing any shoes and my curly hair was all over the place.
As I was walking through the aisles, I had this family stare at me in disgust. They obviously thought I was some feral kid and to the outside appearance, I probably looked really rough. I suddenly became aware of how I looked and became completely self-conscious.
I ran into the family again a couple of aisles down and their little daughter said "Look Daddy, there's that girl again". I felt so terrible inside and deeply ashamed. I already had a inferiority complex about being raised by a single parent and not having a lot of money, but now I had this feeling of "You are bad, you are dirty, you're a bad girl".
I was only a innocent child wearing an admittedly inappropriate dress, but for years I carried those words with me. No matter what successes I had in my life, inside I was still "that girl". This was only a snapshot in time, but it affected me as an adult. I made it mean that there was something wrong with me.
When something great happened – like a big project at work, or when a friend hugged me, those feelings of unworthiness would bubble up and ruin the moment. It was like I could only contain so many good feelings, until I felt it spill over and sour into something disgusting.
I started to realise that life was going to continue to be like that, unless I did something different. I had to release this young, ashamed girl who was running my life. Over the space of about four years, I changed my life. Here are some of the things I decided:
I changed my stressful job, downsized my life and stopped seeing some of my friends (especially the ones that made me feel negative)
I forgave myself and others, I set bad memories free
I began to set really authentic goals (not just what I thought I could have) and feel excited about them.
I poured time and money into self improvement – courses, books, seminars and personal coaching, so I felt like I had support and positivity in my life.
It wasn't a particularly fast process but little by little, I began to believe that I deserved a happier life. I could accept compliments, opportunities came up and I didn't feel bad about taking them, I could genuinely hug a friend without feeling unworthy…
But am I still scared? Yes, all the time. (Sorry!) But when those feelings come up, I'm better equipped to deal with them.
There are just five steps that can change the course of your life. Everything I've done to overcome difficulties lives in these five steps:
- Declutter your life (physically and emotionally)
- Decide what you want
- Surround yourself with positivity
- Take inspired action
- Allow and expand
It's not a one-time formula, it can be used again and again as you progress. Even now, when I feel some yuckiness or fear consuming me, I go straight back to the formula and work through it again, but in a new way.
Release your shame and forgive yourself for not being perfect. You are just as worthy as anyone to lead an extraordinary life.
Love and luck … in all ways