For many people, freelancing is all about pushing boundaries and exploring amazing new opportunities, professionally and personally. With all that excitement, you’d think it’d be easy to get to work. A snap to make things happen. Effortless to focus your freelance business on maximum growth and happiness.
But, if you’re anything like most of us, you’re not finding that to be the case.
Unfortunately, your brain does not care one iota if you’re happy. It’s true! The oldest part of your brain, the “lizard brain,” is completely dedicated to ensuring your safety. And that’s why it is so incredibly difficult to push through the boundary of your comfort zone.
Your lizard brain works to keep you safe in all areas of life. If your conscious brain is ready to lose weight, your lizard brain gets nervous since it equates change with danger. So it’ll whisper sweet, comforting things like, “The gym is probably way too busy right now. Wait til tomorrow!”
Steven Pressfield wrote a book called The War of Art (which we highly recommend!), in which he calls that lizard voice Resistance. It’s the part of you that actively resists any actions that take you away from the familiar and into growth.
So, even though you’re incredibly excited to move into a new career, Resistance will work super hard to keep you in your comfort zone. When you hear that voice “encouraging” you to take a day off or “protecting” you from sending a pitch, that’s when you know you’re on the right track. Do not take the advice of your lizard brain!
What Does Resistance Sound Like?
It’s very persuasive and sneaky, the voice of Resistance. And there are many ways to identify it and overcome it. The big tactic we’ll focus on today is to eliminate one simple phrase.
“You can’t…” or “I can’t…”
It’s a phrase that closes doors. Stops momentum in its tracks. Redirects your focus to other, “safer” endeavors. And if you listen to it, that phrase will derail your freelance business.
Here’s the truth: When you focus your freelance business on your big goals, “You can’t” is almost NEVER true. Think about the last time that voice told you you couldn’t do something. Was it literally true?
Our lizard brains are so convincing that, when they whisper, “You can’t do that,” we become just as disempowered and trapped as if the statement was true.
Why do we allow one small part of our brain to trap us like this? Giving in to Resistance is essentially a one-way ticket to regret.
The 1 Question to Focus Your Freelance Business Despite Resistance
The first thing to do is stop saying, “I can’t.” Don’t even think it! If it’s a habit you’ve developed, then you’ll have to work hard to catch it.
Next, reframe the statement into a productive question. “How can I…?”
- “I can’t lose weight!” becomes, “How can I lose weight?”
- “I can’t afford that!” becomes, “How can I afford it?”
- “I can’t get to work on time!” becomes, “How can I get to work on time?”
Do you feel the difference? It’s striking! Asking this question empowers you to figure it out. You become a problem-solver, rather than a victim of circumstance.
And as much as your lizard brain likes keeping you safe, the rest of your brain loves a good puzzle!
When you ask yourself to solve a problem, you’ll discover the answers you need. You’ll move forward. And you’ll naturally overcome Resistance.
Yes, Resistance will come back the next time you try something new. But if you practice awareness and reframing, you won’t be surprised when it rears its ugly head. And you’ll be that much more prepared to overcome it.
Your turn! Are you willing to commit to never saying, “I can’t” again? And, even better, replacing it with “How can I?” Truly, it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Let me know in the comments below!
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Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Kaitlyn Spinney