Resistance and the Starting Block
Striving for the best version of yourself isn’t easy… and it’s not the same as playing taskmaster with a thick binder of New Year’s Resolutions.
You know how that goes.
Mid-January finds most people right back where they started. Come Valentine’s Day, even more holdouts are hoping no one catches them on their midnight Taco Bell run.
There’s no pleasant way to say it―our nature and habits come riddled with resistance. As author Steven Pressifeld writes in Part One of The War of Art, Resistance is THE enemy.
Our worst one.
The invader who slips in unnoticed, seizes power, and then marches all over our dreams and goals.
But if fighting resistance off was easy… and if building the habits, stamina, and resilience to cross goals off our list and start some bad-ass endeavor were no sweat … would they even be worth it?
Like anything that’s masterful, life-giving, or in the end, inspiring, striving to be the best version of yourself starts with getting up off the couch… and bracing for that cosmic suckerpunch.
And for most of us, getting off the couch ain’t nothing.
We’re ahead of the pack when we recognize that it’s high time to shed some comfort and complacency. But while everyone feels that spark of courage now and then, gunning for change means taking stock of ourselves, our tendencies, and what reasonable, lasting results might look like.
If we’re dreaming big, all the better.
But there’s no room for self-delusion on the starting block.
And there’s no space for thinking that committing to the race won’t mean pushing past some pains in our flabby, out of shape-side―inertia, fear, doubt, and those nagging thoughts of ‘what will this cost,’ ‘what’s the catch,’ or ‘why the hell am I even going?’
But if we’ve come this far, then we know what to do when the starting gun fires.
And if we take those first few strides, then we’re off on the hero’s journey, the story within every story going back thousands of years.
We’re the hero. Whether we know it or not.
When the call to adventure comes in…
Our first thought is that it’s going to be unpleasant.
Like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, we cringe when we hear that there’s a spot for us on the cross-country treasure hunt… and it doesn’t help if we get the invitation from a dwarvish frat party, a singing, smoking, dish-juggling ensemble camped out in our dining room.
But whatever it sounds like, we know the call when we hear it.
And even if our first response is fear and uncertainty, we know in our gut that if it’s something we care about, something that will challenge us, stretch us, and ultimately help those around us… then it’s probably worth doing.
We might know we’re capable.
We might even know how much pain we can stomach.
But do we trust ourselves enough to push past what we imagine happening? Past the fear of what’s going to hurt, startle, and surprise the hell out of us?
It’s no surprise that our initial resistance comes down to a frequent flier, a part rational, part sniveling instinct that shows up right on cue.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear and resistance love to swarm
In a chapter called ‘Resistance’s Greatest Hits,’ Pressfield argues that inertia, resistance, and fear of the unknown like to swarm around certain activities.
Some gems from his list include:
- The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, or any creative art.
- The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise.
- Any diet or health regimen…. Or any program whose aim is tighter abdominals.
- Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit, (we’re looking at you, New Year’s Resolutions).
- Education of every kind.
- The taking of any principled stand in the face of adversity.
And so on.
We’d add ‘taking the starting block’ to that list.
Even if it’s not fear of the unknown, we know the culprits. Procrastination, avoidance, or clinging to old beliefs or mundane responsibilities.
We can save a lot of time by admitting that we’re afraid of getting started.
Even if we don’t know why.
And while we may not be some behavioral psychologist from Johns Hopkins, we’ll do better off the starting block by knowing and naming what we’re up against.
If you’ve been there and back again like we have, you probably know some of the tensions entrepreneurs feel when they’re just getting started.
You may be set on something.
You’re itching to do it and you have good reason… but that doesn’t mean you’ve sorted through every cost, hurdle and liability just yet.
Or perhaps you’ve got your ducks in a row… right in time for some supply chain chaos right out of the Twilight Zone.
On some level, uncertainty’s a constant. And while some occasions for starting out are more favorable than others, there’s some truth in the old retort ‘there’s never a good time.’
If not now, when?
Concerns over real, valid risk
In our industry and for entrepreneurs, this can turn into the grim reaper real quick.
And for good reason—you’ll get nowhere if you’re heads in the clouds. But while assessing valid risks is a constant necessity, it can be a paralyzing mindset if it overrides every reason for getting started.
While not everything’s a risk per se, everything comes with risk.
Fear of failure
There you go.
But having tagged it for what it is, what more can we say?
Sure, the stories of everyone who’s failed a thousand times and then hit it big can be inspiring… but that’s not how everyone’s cookie crumbles.
There’s no certainty you’ll succeed, or even make it past level one.
But to that, and in the face of the deepest, nastiest resistance out there, we say get up off the couch and do it anyway.
If you get started and if you play your cards right, we might even bet on it.
Why we Dare to give
So what do you do when you’re stuck on the starting block?
You’ve heard the call… and maybe you’ve let the dwarf party in… but you’re still looking at a winding path that curves right into a cave. One that’s probably a stomping ground for fear-smelling monsters.
We get that the struggles are real.
We know that entrepreneurs, businesses owners, and nearly every client we’ve had faces off with fear and uncertainty. We know that feeling inside out… and we know that just like hard lessons, the risks don’t stop coming.
So when we hear the call to step out on the ice, we go right back to our core value ‘Dare to Give’.
Having fears and seeing risks means you’re human.
While you can’t turn your instincts off, you can practice the discipline of feeling fear, and then trusting yourself as you move forward anyway.
We see that discipline in our clients, go-getters who count the cost and know what they might be giving up, but know it’s time to take their project or business to the next level…
And see where that path goes.
Where other banks see too much risk, or razor-thin margins, we see someone stepping out for the kind of journey that’s right up our alley.
And unlike big lenders, we Dare to Give.
Crack the whip and leave resistance in the dust
You may not be Bilbo Baggins.
And even if you suck at keeping your New Year’s Resolutions… you can still get started on that one thing that’s been calling your name for far too long.
If beating up resistance and getting up off the couch sounds like an awesome start to a journey into the unknown, then crack that whip and give us a call.
We might just be the guide you’re looking for.