There are few things more soul-sucking than missing out on the job you wanted, hitting the wall in your career, or failing to make money in the business you’ve worked so hard for.
After working with many clients in these situations (and experiencing them myself), I’ve learned that these challenges don’t always occur because it ‘wasn’t meant to be’. If you’re willing to look closely and do the self-inquiry you’ll usually find that there are energetic blocks at play.
Our energy vibration is key to our success, not because like attracts like according to the law of attraction. It’s much more complex than that. We carry wounds from the past that affect us in the present and they’re not always career-related. They can stem from childhood imprints regarding money, as much as from past relationship wounds that never healed.
1. Lack of Direction
This is one of the most common blocks that I see as a career coach. It makes sense that the clearer we are about our goals the more focused we are and therefore likely to be successful. However if your energy is out of alignment, it makes it extremely difficult to focus. Through my experiences of confusion and overwhelm (common shadows for a highly sensitive person), I came to see that my fears of being seen, of not being enough, were really at the root of the problem.
When you take risks in your career, go after a job you’re not sure you’re ready for, your insecurities will show up. The limbic system will go into meltdown if you put yourself out there when you harbour a fear of being seen, for example. As a result, you contract and retreat, when what you really need to do is move towards the experience and allow those emotions to surface. By bringing awareness and love to your experience and the old stories that get retold in your mind, you can start to let them drop away. When I work with clients they often land the job they want pretty quickly, not just because they’re clear about what they want but because they finally get that they’re allowed to have it.
2. Working too hard
This one is huge. It can be a challenging one to work with because our culture reinforces it so much, particularly in the world of entrepreneurship. Have you ever heard anyone saying that starting their own business was easy and they didn’t have to work that hard?
Often the examples we see in the business world espouse masculine values of hard work and long hours, but thankfully this is changing. Many of us were raised to believe in the value of hard work which on the surface appears to be a positive thing. It can even work in our favour when we work hard at the right things, but it’s not necessary or even helpful.
As many highly sensitive people will know, it can lead to burnout, often many times over, as we try to conform to a way of being that was never meant for us.
In terms of energetic blocks, working hard can make you feel as though you’re achieving something, that you’re being useful. The reality is you can be busy spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.
If overwork is a pattern for you, the most helpful practice that I’ve found is to work with the phases of the moon. Anyone who’s been to my classes will know how much I love this work. A great book to start with is Ezzie Spencer’s Lunar Abundance. This practice helped me to let go of overworking by balancing out my masculine and feminine. During the yin phases of the moon you pull back and do less, which then helps you to take more enlightened and focused action during the yang (masculine) phases. Now I always remember, keep it simple. Less is more.
3. Doing work you don’t love
Many people become stuck doing jobs they don’t enjoy because they don’t know where they fit in or how to be of service. Often they’re scared to move in the direction of what they love because they’re afraid they can’t make a living from it.
I’ve spent years in jobs that I disliked. Others I thought I liked until I realised how drained I was at the end of the day. It wasn’t until I understood that creating, coaching and writing are the things that restore me and give me energy, that I understood why those other career paths were never going to work out for me.
Understanding yourself is key, and the way to I work on this with clients is through embodiment – having a practice of awareness of what’s going on in the body, mentally, energetically, physically and emotionally. This is how you notice whether you are drained, excited or fearful. Or that you feel a sense of dread every time you step into the office or have to deal with a certain person. Bringing your awareness to your body will give you the insights you need to make decisions that are right for you.
4. Poor marketing
This doesn’t apply only to business owners. I see many clients who have a block on selling their talents or talking about their achievements. This manifests itself in poorly written resumes that focus on the technical aspects of the job, rather than on what they have to offer. It’s also why women don’t ask for pay rises or document their achievements regularly enough to build a case for a pay rise or a promotion. Often these same women are high achievers who are excellent team builders and leaders.
So why can’t they market themselves? Many of the reasons lie in our ancestry and history. Women are still not the dominant force on this planet. We deal with gender bias (some of it unconscious even to us because we’ve internalised so much), abusive comments, glass ceilings, being ignored, being passed over for promotion.
In the past, we didn’t get a seat at the table. Even though things have improved in our lifetime, we still carry the pain and fear of our ancestors in our DNA and energy systems. This is why fears of making more money, being successful, being visible will surface and cause us to dim our light. By transcending this block you can move into your power. This will have an impact not only on your life, but also on others who need you to speak up and share your point of view.
Understanding your personal history and reframing those stories can be a really positive step in dealing with this block. When I began this work there were many experiences from my past that I needed to reflect on and integrate so that I could start dialling up my light instead of dimming it. The change allowed me to see myself more clearly and to appreciate myself more. This meant that I could articulate my strengths and what I had to offer, making it easier for me to put myself out there without the fear.
5. Being too hard on yourself
I’ve taught inner critic work at leadership conferences where the women there told me they didn’t want to let go of their negative self-talk because it motivated them. This may sound like a sad state of affairs but it’s a universal truth. I totally remember feeling this way too.
It was parenting that taught me to show up for myself with compassion, because I experienced the pain of being hard on myself for parental shortcomings and realised it was not going to make me a better mother. Self-compassion is a practice. If you can’t treat yourself with love, it’s going to be difficult to go after your dreams. Self-love is easy when things are going well for you. It’s when things turn pear-shaped, you do or say the wrong thing, you crash, you burn, you get rejected. Those are the times we need to treat ourselves with all the compassion and tenderness we would our own child.
If you struggle with this, try visualising yourself as a child and see if you can give the child in you what she needs in the moment, whether it be reassurance, compassion or love. Inner child work can create immediate shifts in your energy, helping you to integrate experiences that caused you to abandon yourself in the past.
As Matt Licata says: You are not a project to be solved and you were never unhealed. With eyes wide open, see that you could never lose the way. The unfolding of the heart is the work of a lifetime and there is no urgency on the path of love.”