The extent to which we can overcome Resistance in our lives will determine the impact we have on the world.
Inspired by Stephen Pressfield’s classic book, The War of Art, in my last two posts, I shared some of the ways Resistance can compromise our life and our leadership. Today, I want to tackle the bigger question: How can I combat resistance?
This may be the biggest question I’ve attempted to address since I started this blog. The stakes are sky high. As leaders, we must be first into battle on this issue. Those we lead will follow our lead. If we are defeated by Resistance the odds are high they will be, too.
I’m personally challenged on this issue… Resistance is real in my life as much as it is yours. I battle it every day. My failure to overcome Resistance is the reason I’m out of shape and at least 10 lbs. overweight; it’s the reason my next book project is not further along; and it’s the root cause behind most of the things I struggle with in life. Acknowledging these shortcomings gives me all the more reason to continue to fight!
I don’t have a strategy per se, nor am I aware of a foolproof way to defeat this beast. What I do have are a few battle-tested strategies and tactics that may prove helpful…
Clarify your goal – Specifically, what do you want to accomplish? Are you called to lead? Are you on the earth to serve others? Are you supposed to write a novel or a book for children? Are you on the planet to create art? If you can gain clarity on this point and make it your North Star, Resistance will be weakened, but probably not defeated. [tweet_box design=”default”]Vagueness creates little defense against Resistance – be specific.[/tweet_box]
Create a plan – Once you know what you are trying to accomplish, a plan is a powerful weapon against Resistance. If you want to write your first book, identify the key milestones. When will you finish the outline? When will you complete the first chapter? The first draft? When will you send the manuscript to potential publishers? Put these dates on your calendar and protect them.
Engage daily – Pressfield talks about a strategy for defeating Resistance anchored in the idea of “Turning Pro.” This concept is grounded in the fact professionals show up every day; they don’t make an occasional appearance. This is the approach of the hobbyist. Nothing wrong with a hobby, but working on your goal daily can strengthen your resolve. Resistance hates resolve.
Take small steps – Small steps should never be confused with small dreams. If you down-size your dream, Resistance wins. In the example above about writing a book, notice I didn’t change the dream from write a book to create an outline. The outline is a step toward a larger goal. If Resistance is eating your lunch, break your goals down into the smallest possible steps and then take one bite at a time.
Don’t go it alone – Humans were not created to do life alone. Community is one of the deepest felt human needs we have. Resistance will attempt to isolate you and then it is much easier to defeat you. Share your dream and your plan with trusted friends, advisors and colleagues. [tweet_box design=”default”]Dream so big it would be impossible to accomplish your vision alone. And then rally others to help. There is strength in numbers.[/tweet_box]
Celebrate progress – Most dreams, visions and goals that Resistance will strive to impede are big. Okay, cutting the grass may not quality as big in the greater scheme of the universe, but real Resistance loves to block big ideas. One anecdote is to praise progress. Celebration creates its own energy and can serve as a force field against Resistance.
Remember past victories – When Resistance creates doubt about your future, past victories cannot be denied. When you sense Resistance at work, recount your past success. What have you accomplished? What steps have you already taken? The hard-won battles from your past can serve as fuel for your future.
Resistance can make cowards of us all. Don’t deny the fear. As Pressfield says, “There is no fearless warrior or dread-free artist.” Press on! Leaders must show up, face our fears and give the world our best. That’s what leaders we do.[GLS_Shield]