Is Worthiness Holding You Back?
Becoming Unstuck By Exploring Worthiness
Someone I coached was unemployed. They were stuck financially and at this familiar crossroads: they weren’t sure if they should go out and get a job or start their own company. They had a ton of doubts and were asking questions like, “What if I start my own company and it doesn’t work?” and “How will I satisfy my values of stability, reliability, and success?”
To me, those are worthiness questions. Even if it takes a long time for someone’s business to become successful, questions of worthiness become the primary issue because almost nobody starts a business that becomes immediately successful.
Success in business is a process of:
- Investing in yourself
- Believing in yourself
- Creating habits that will work for your future, and
- Sticking to that even when it doesn’t seem like it’s working.
The foundation that holds this process together is the belief that you are worth investing in.
Exploring Worthiness To Live A Life By Design
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” ~ Marianne Williamson
I have discovered that there are lots of people who choose not to explore worthiness and do the work that is required to live a life by design, not by default. One of the many reasons they do this is because they want to be left alone and live according to their current habits and patterns. Consciously or unconsciously, they ignore the consequences of doing that.
Personally, and as a coach, I am much more interested in the person who feels unworthy and has some awareness around it, rather than the person who is so deeply in denial that they have no awareness around it and therefore no felt need to address it.
A lot of coaches are not focussing on worthiness, but worthiness is a huge block to living your ideal life, if not THE block to people choosing to live the life that they want.
A Short Cut
When the people I coach see worthiness as something that is too difficult or even impossible for them, I like to discover with them, “How do we create worthiness and make it easy?” If people are willing to work with you and do the difficult and potentially painful work of worthiness, it actually turns into an incredible shortcut to get to where you want to go.
How Do We Overcome The Difficulties Of Doing Worthiness Work?
You have to look at your story of unworthiness – the things that you have allowed yourself to believe and what you have allowed yourself to feel towards your strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and roadblocks thus far. Get curious about the narrative you’ve been telling yourself by asking, “Why do I feel unlovable? Where did this story that I’ve been telling myself originate?” Spend some time in that place without numbing it or do whatever you do to distract yourself from doing this kind of work.
Another other thing that’s difficult to do is actually taking ownership. In order to do anything meaningful with worthiness, you need to be willing to let go of your excuses. You can no longer hide behind things like it’s the government’s fault, or corporations, or someone in your family. None of that stuff matters in the worthiness journey. As much as people will love you and support you on this journey, almost all of the difficult emotional heavy lifting is yours to do.
I listened to Brené Brown‘s podcast the other day and she was interviewing her guests about their experiences with childhood abuse and addiction. Her guests said that eighty percent of people who experience childhood trauma end up being addicts. Eighty percent! At the same time, they said that was the hand they were dealt, but the part after that, you are in charge of. All three of them said what they decided to do about it today was their business and their responsibility.
You can do something about the way you view your worthiness, and I would take it a step further and say, you are worth doing something about it; by facing the issue of worthiness and not ignoring it or numbing it in whatever way you choose to numb it, you are saying to yourself, I feel worthy, I am worthy of this deep self work.
Imagining A Better Life
In my early coaching years, I felt like the problem for a lot of people was that they couldn’t imagine a life that was better than the life that they have now. Then I found that for most of those people, unworthiness blocked their imagination. Once that block is replaced with worthiness, imagination can still be an obstacle.That’s where I can help; my imagination for others has all kinds of flexibility and creativity.
A Client’s Time At The Cabin
I worked with someone who hit the pause in their life and spent time in a log cabin to map out their ideal life and how to implement it. I coached them along the way and we discussed questions like:
- What is your ideal life?
- Something doesn’t feel right. What is it?
I treated that client as if their dream was within their grasp. After leaving the cabin in the woods we created really small steps to grow their new business. Eventually the business grew into several provinces and they became less stressed and they trusted their employees more.
Worthiness is The Groundwork
The groundwork for this client was worthiness, even though we didn’t necessarily use the word “worthiness” at the time. Worthiness work is foundational to the imaginative work. Once that’s done, the whole world is your sandbox.
How Do Habits Impact Worthiness?
Healthy and unhealthy habits Impact our worthiness indirectly; when you practice healthy habits, from prioritizing sleep to [insert 1-2 more examples], you are saying to yourself, “I am worthy of investing in.” Conversely, when you get into unhealthy habits you are making the opposite statement about investing in yourself.
What we put our energy into causes change and growth, and the habits we implement are how we leverage our energy; this past spring I found that I was consistently finding myself overwhelmed and unfocused, and so I introduced a regular practice of walking to the ocean near my house and office and meditating for twenty minutes. By investing my energy in a habit that helps me refocus my day and check in with what might be causing me stress, I am creating a daily structure that invests in my wellbeing. Habits are not specific to worthiness, but they work together with coaching and creating a life by design.
Worthiness Impacts All Aspects Of Our Lives
If you are holding on to difficult clients, that is absolutely a worthiness problem; whether you are conscious of it or not, holding on to difficult clients suggests that you don’t believe you’re worthy of attracting great clients, and it is what stands in the way of your life by design. I invite you to reflect and if you find you are clinging to difficult clients or bad business practices, ask yourself the question, “Why am I hanging on?”
There is no area of life that worthiness doesn’t touch; all of these worthiness reflections and practices can (and should!) be applied to your personal relationships as well. When you believe that you are worthy – of success in your business, of supportive, healthy relationships, of a life filled with intention and design – you are able to construct a life for yourself that is filled with purpose, vision, and intention.
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Terry Barkman is the founder of Sailboat Coaching International, and he is a seasoned and passionate one-on-one coach. He is currently available for a limited number of introductory coaching sessions. If you suspect that worthiness might be holding you back from living a life by design, contact Terry today!
Phone Number: (604) 835-5111 | Email: email@example.com
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Photo Credit: Unsplash