Making friends not enemies - a different approach to mindset and emotions
I want to pick up on something that I talked about in my previous blog post, which is that there are no quick fixes when it comes to emotional healing, particularly when it comes to childhood issues. I was suggesting that adopting a more gentle, kind and holistic approach to the healing process would benefit people struggling with the aftermath of developmental trauma.
One of the other areas in which I see there is a real opportunity for us to do this in is in the work that I do with entrepreneurs. As a business owner and entrepreneur myself, I have had the opportunity to observe up close the highs and lows of running your own business. I have worked with lots of clients who are themselves small business owners and entrepreneurs. Some are business owners on a large scale who have created multi million-pound businesses and others are on the opposite end of the scale where they are actually struggling to make their business or self-employment financially viable. Interestingly, whether you are hugely successful or financially struggling, the issues that come up are the same.
When you run your own business, it is very challenging on many levels. It can be particularly challenging emotionally as it brings to the surface all of our personal insecurities and doubts. Entrepreneurs seek my help because they are struggling with low confidence, they lack self-belief, they are being held back by limiting beliefs, blocks around income and money, they self-sabotage and push themselves at the expense of their health and relationships. The most common way that issues like these are expressed, is through that inner critical voice. Sometimes it is just one inner critic. For most of us, it is several different voices. It is a kind of internal dialogue that happens and most of the time it is not at all helpful. Our inner critics are constantly in conversation, berating us, reinforcing negative beliefs and generally giving us a hard time. It can be loud and clear or just a background hum, either way it has a huge effect on our business and personal life.
Over the last few years I have been spending an increasing amount of time in the online business world, hanging out in virtual communities of entrepreneurs who themselves are working mostly online. In this online world, the personal challenges are even greater because you are exposed to a vast number of people that you can compare yourself to and judge yourself against. You would never meet that volume of people in real life! There is also a lot of smoke and mirrors, things appearing slick and perfect and the messy reality of the human psyche obscured by carefully curated social media posts and YouTube videos. It magnifies and brings to the surface even more of our issues and insecurities.
In that world, what I have observed is that there is a lot of help on offer, but it is very much based around mindset. A lot of it is what I think of as the cognitive-based stuff such as NLP, CBT, positive affirmations, suggestions, or changing your thought patterns. All of which is really helpful but there seems to be less availability of deeper emotional work or what I think of as working with the limbic system and limbic brain.
Very soon, I will be launching a new programme specifically for entrepreneurs that deals with this very issue of the inner critical voice and all of the stuff that comes with it. The visibility fears, the blocks around money, all of the self-sabotaging and self-punishing behaviours and limiting beliefs, comparing yourself to others, but coming at it from this much deeper, limbic brain perspective. What I have noticed is that the language that gets used when we are talking about resolving these issues is very aggressive. It uses metaphors such as battles or fights - these critical voices are something that you have to banish or defeat and there can only be one winner. That kind of thinking or approach is very deeply entrenched in us. We live in a society and world that has been structured around this hierarchy where there can only be one person at the top: the winner.
The methodology that I have developed over the years that I have been in practice is based on a much more feminine approach. The feminine is about working collaboratively, collectively and supportively. It represents a more fluid, less structured and non-linear thinking. It is a shift in attitude that is happening in the world in lots of different areas. I am lucky to be a part of different communities that are really embracing this shift towards a more feminine way of working where we understand that when we collaborate we are all stronger. We can collectively raise ourselves up higher and achieve more together rather than as individuals. We can help each other to reach our goals and achieve our dreams by working together. This approach is not limited to the external world, it is an approach that you can apply to your own internal world.
The programme that I have put together for entrepreneurs is based on this philosophy. It is about working with rather than against the inner critical voices. Instead of seeing it as the enemy, we move towards seeing it as something that you can befriend, enter into a dialogue with, and engage with. The focus is around communicating and negotiating and understanding as opposed to banishing, defeating or overpowering. We need to understand that whatever our mind is doing, even those critical voices, it is your mind protecting you. It was developed at some point in your life as a defensive, protective mechanism. We can acknowledge that and thank that part of us for doing its best and trying to look after us.
Next time you are struggling with your confidence try to notice what is happening with your inner critic - what is the dialogue? Notice what it is saying, if it is telling you not so nice things. See if you can step back from it, really observe and then engage with that voice as if you were talking to a friend who was feeling really angry or upset. You can either be reactive so maybe feeling really angry or victimised or you can choose to be observant, to see beyond that top layer of emotion and become aware of what it is really going on. Quite often, when you talk to angry people you find that what is underneath is a whole load of fear and pain that is expressed through this anger. So, try next time. Have a little listen. Get curious. Have a conversation and see what comes out.
Working in this way offers us a far more enriching experience. You gain so much more by engaging with yourself in that way. When we are in a battle, fight-mode we are really limiting what we can experience and learn about ourselves. Whereas, when you engage in this collaborative way, you are really opening yourself up to profound insights and longer-term gains.
If you have any questions, if this has brought anything up then please do get in touch. You can book a FREE consultation here. You can also find lots of information on the website www.kirstywick.co.uk.
Want to learn more? Check out my weekly Facebook live #thursdaytherapy every Thursday at 1pm here on the Kirsty Wick Analytical Hypnotherapy page. Each week I chat about therapy, without the jargon, and look at different techniques, tools, share information and look at specific issues such as anxiety, relationships, self-esteem and confidence. Get in touch with any question you would like answered or an issue you are struggling with.