I woke up this morning pretty excited about getting a new course and workbook done and ready to launch. I got a great sleep, was in an amazing mood, and full of energy.
Then I got an email. From my lawyer about my mom’s estate. She was preparing a report about a notice in the paper to creditors.
I have no idea what this “report” means, but my body reacted as if seven armed gunmen had just stormed the house.
My first reaction was that I needed to fix the situation. Whatever it was. I couldn’t wait for that report – I needed to contact the lawyer NOW. Find out what new hell was about to unfold and do something about it.
My amazing mood? Gone. My motivation to work on my new course and workbook? Ha. My ability to focus on anything other than this “situation”? Not there.
This is a pattern I’ve repeated throughout my life. I thought it was normal until I suddenly wasn’t able to fly anymore, and found myself searching news sites for plane accidents whenever my family or friends travelled – just to make sure they got to their destinations safely.
You see, I grew up in a bit of an unstable household, at least on my mom’s side. And that unstable situation as child transformed into me trying to solve crisis after crisis for my mom as I got older.
It wasn’t until I went to a psychologist for fear of flying that I realized I was suffering from complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Yes, apparently you can get a version of PTSD from an ongoing pattern of neglect or abuse as a small child – Complex PTSD. To be clear, mine was on the neglect side. Not in terms of worldly items (I had the roof, bed, clothes and food), I just had a mom who stayed in bed all the time and was left to figure things out and deal with any fear or uncertainty on my own. Apparently that was enough!
To cope, my brain developed a weird type of OCD (and not the good kind where I like to clean everything – according to my hubby). Mine came in the form of an obsessive fixation on solving and fixing whenever a crisis came up. When it came to my mom, there were some pretty big crises. She nearly lost her house twice, and was in big trouble with the tax people. Fixer daughter to the rescue!
The problem? Small things that reminded me of the bigger crises started triggering the same reaction. So for example, any email or letter that could in any way be negative information about finances – boom – my brain goes into panic and fix-it mode. Even if it’s just a small issue or just a perceived (aka no) issue.
Just opening a letter from the government used to do this – which was super fun, especially because as a business owner you get one pretty much every three months.
I’ve done a LOT of work on myself in this area. So for example, I still get the initial trigger when a letter from the government arrives – but can work through it and continue on with my normal day.
However, the email I got today was about both finances AND my mom. Those two are a huge double whammy. And so I am doing the only thing I can. I am noticing what is happening. I am aware of what is happening. I am accepting it. And I am writing about it.
Every fiber of my being wants to email the lawyer and say – “What is in that report – how bad is it – tell me NOW!”. Instead, I am writing this blog post. My heart rate is up, I am on high alert, my pupils are dilated. And my course and workbook that seemed so important and exciting this morning now feel like they have the same significance as a piece of toilet paper.
So by now you might be wondering why I’m including this post on my Love What You Do Again blog? Well, I think it fits. Mainly because we all have personal stuff we bring to the table that can impact either the type of work or business we choose, or how we manage our businesses or careers.
For example, my fear of having to deal with my mom’s financial situations turned into a fear of any financial situation – which made me not trust money. And because I didn’t trust money, I needed a job or a business that was guaranteed to bring in a large and ongoing income – because what I had could be taken away at any time. It was weird – it wasn’t the accumulation of money that made me feel safe (for example – winning the lottery) – it was the ability to make MORE money that made me feel safe. Because after the money I had was taken away – I would know I could make more and replace it.
This fear caused me to stay in a field I didn’t love for a very long time. And, using today as an example, this fear is stopping me from moving my current business – a business that I love – forward.
This is why in my Love Your Business Again and Love Your Career Again programs, the first step is getting all of those fears and limiting beliefs that may be blocking you out on the table. Just even knowing and acknowledging that these fears and beliefs exist and can block your business or career is a huge first step.
The fear I’m writing about today falls into this category. But because I’ve acknowledged that it exists, and know how and why it can be triggered, I am able to feel my body’s reaction and also know that it will pass. I am not going to beat myself up or feel shame that I’m not working on my course or workbook.
Instead, I’m going to let these feelings sit until they pass through me, which I now know that they will. And I will do what I know always helps me in these situations – write about it, and do The Work on it.
So what fears or limiting beliefs do you have that block your business or career? Have you acknowledged them? Do you know how you react? Do you have a plan in place to deal with these feelings when they come up?
In the first chapter of my new eBook Love Your Business Again, I talk about how to identify your limiting beliefs and what’s blocking your business, and give you some clear action steps to take.