In this post, I will share strategies to overcome resistance based on The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. As promised, this post is the continuation of my first blog where I talked about what triggers resistance in our lives. If you haven’t read it, I recommend you check it out here and then come back to this post.
The more you love your art/calling/enterprise, the more important its accomplishment is to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more resistance you will experience facing it.
Have you ever put something off for months? The War of Art has been on my reading list forever and I finally finished it yesterday. I think I procrastinated so long because I was slightly nervous to find out what Steven Pressfield had to say about overcoming resistance. It’s like the point of no return, right? When you find something out, you can’t unlearn it. Haha!
Well I finally overcame my own resistance to finishing the book and I’d love to share with you what I learned from it.
Win the Battle by Turning Pro
Steven Pressfield says we will overcome resistance when we turn pro.
The professional plays for keeps… To the pro, it’s his vocation.
Whatever your craft is, I think this is the turning point in your journey where you decide you’re all in. So how I interpret this is not necessarily quitting your full-time job (although it might be for you). I see this more as a mindset shift. To me, this is a lifestyle.
To share with you all, my craft is the integration of where I am at this moment: finance professional, yoga instructor, fitness enthusiast, and blogger. What is your craft? If you are currently reflecting on what makes you passionate in life, check out my post on discovering work that you love here.
Once you have found your craft, there’s a decision you have to make. That decision is, are you ready to go pro?
If you’re ready, Steven Pressfield talks about the principles a professional lives by. He says that these are principles we already practice at our “traditional” jobs. You and I will apply these in different ways but I think the ideas behind them are valuable. Here are a few:
1. Show Up Everyday
I think everyone has that innate sense that tells us we can’t miss work or show up too late. We don’t really give ourselves a choice.
2. Show Up No Matter What
This is similar to #1 but this hints at showing up even when we don’t feel like it. We have to listen to our body. But sometimes we have to take the split second to ask: do I genuinely not feel good and need to rest or am I facing resistance?
3. Commit for the Long Haul
Your journey, interests, and creative pursuits will change as the seasons pass. I love that life is a journey of learning to love ourselves, love others, and live well. Once you go all in, it becomes a lifestyle.
4. We Accept Remuneration for our Labor
We are here not only to have fun and contribute our gifts but to earn a living.
5. Resist Overidentifying with our Work
We must build our identity in something much deeper than our circumstances, resume qualities, where we live, the things we are surrounded by, and the list goes on. It is worth asking the question: What am I building my identity on and is it shifting sand?
6. Master the Technique of our Work
Practice, practice, practice. This is where time and discipline come in. Nothing comes overnight and many times you will work and no one will see anything for a while. But you know you’re working on your craft. We have to start somewhere and doing little by little every day counts.
7. Have a Sense of Humor about our Work
I think having a good time should be part of every moment. If anything, we should be professional fun-havers!
How Do you Know You’ve Turned Pro?
Steven Pressfield says you know you’ve turned pro when the following qualities become a part of you (just sharing a few here but they are all so good):
We live in such an instant gratification world. It’s so easy to want everything yesterday. Once you turn pro, you almost always live in a state of delayed gratification. But you can’t let it frustrate you. Trust the process. I wrote more on the timing of life here.
Acts in the Face of Fear
I think pros just do it. From what I’ve observed, the more a thing scares them, the more they do it. It’s almost like a compass. We can prepare to our best abilities but then at some point we just have to do it, even as we’re shaking inside.
In the War of Art, Steven Pressfield shared a long list of fears we face daily. But you know what he said our biggest fear is?
Fear that we will succeed. That we can access the powers we secretly know we possess. That we can become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are.
I was mindblown when I read that. I’ve always felt that fear deep within and it’s crazy seeing it articulated into words.
Asks for Help
Asking for help is something that comes from a place of humility. It’s letting go of pride and tapping into the wealth of knowledge and resources around you. It requires vulnerability.
Does not Take Failure or Success Personally
This one is so good. And really hard to do. It’s staying grounded and being one level detached from your work, so that if it is received well or poorly, your self-worth and identity won’t rise and fall with it.
This one is also one of my favorites. You have to cheer yourself on and I feel like you can’t live for the validation of other people. That’s our own job. It’s not about the number of followers, likes, or comments. It’s getting our validation from within and knowing your worth. This goes hand in hand with our identity.
When I first read these concepts, I had to take a few days to simply absorb it. It’s a lot. That’s a high bar. But I’ll end this blog post with an excerpt from The War of Art that serves as an amazing call to action.
Thank you for reading. I hope this connected with you somehow. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Until next time!