Resistance is Futile…NOT!
(This is the first in a three-part series on recognizing and dealing with internal resistance.)
Recently, I have noticed a lot of people with a lot of resistance… not resistance to me but resistance to their
Now, the truth is, most people don't consciously recognize their own resistance. As a result, they don't
acknowledge that they have it. Thus, it becomes a silent saboteur to their success.
There is a lot we could say about resistance, but I am most interested in helping you recognize when you have it
and then how to deal with it.
The first thing to realize is that internal resistance is not, in and of itself, bad. It is usually
a part of the non-conscious mind doing its best to ensure your survival.
That is not to say that it is right… just that it thinks it is right.
I have a particular one come up periodically -- whenever I am about to tell one of my goals or dreams to someone
else. It is very hard for me to do because that part of my brain warns me that it is an unsafe
practice. This is because in my childhood and adolescence any articulation of dreams or goals was either
ridiculed as impractical or the enthusiasms of a fool. It didn't take long for my brain to learn that sharing
dreams and goals was not in my best interest.
...internal resistance is not, in and of itself,
If I was still in the same environment, it would be right. But I am not. And so, what was once a
useful survival skill (survival as in coping successfully with the environment) now is a misguided effort that
blocks achieving those goals.
Because I am aware of this issue, I can deal with it when it surfaces and make a rational choice about whether
or not it is useful in the specific situation.
So, how do you recognize if you have your own internal resistance to one of your goals?
The fastest way to recognize internal resistance (which leads to self-sabotaging behavior if ignored) is to
listen for the "yeah, buts". What are "yeah, buts"? When you say, "I intend to ____" do you hear a
little voice in your head that says, "Yeah, but…." and then has a reason why you shouldn't do [whatever it was you
intended to do]?
Sometimes it isn't so much the actual words, but is a feeling… maybe in your gut… maybe somewhere else.
Maybe a headache or a "pain in the neck" or a "pain in the a..".
In my own example above, it would be a serious feeling of vulnerability… like I was facing someone with a knife
pointed at me as I prepared to tell them my intended goal. There is no mistaking that my "survival system" is
(By the way, for some other situations, I hear a voice (my parents' voice or my own?) in my head actually saying
words… sometimes they may even start out saying, "yeah, but…".)
In part two of this series, I want to talk about how to deal with that internal resistance once you have
identified it. In the meantime, practice looking for it, recognizing it, and then identifying how it
manifests in your system. For "bonus points", identify where it has been holding you back in your
State a goal that you have (either just to yourself or to someone else) and then listen, look, and feel for
internal resistance to it.
Once you identify that you have resistance, explore further and discover how it manifests to you.
Need some help identifying your "yeah buts"? Or maybe you have them nailed but aren't sure how to turn
them into "yeah, let's go"?
If so, you may be a perfect candidate for Coaching For Success.
Because we all need a little help from time to time.