Whether you’re a budding solopreneur or a veteran with years of risk-taking under your belt, you’ve probably arrived at this visceral realization more times than you’d like to count: The journey of striking out on our own is one that is particularly brimming with challenges and headaches, and one of unending growth—in every way possible.
After all, we all know that the first period in this new, scary undertaking of ours is always the hardest. Procrastination arises, a platter of excuses suddenly unfolds, and we are quick to come up with every trick in the book to avoid taking action. And even when we do, we find that our performance feels rather… sluggish.
After that initial slog, however, as growth ensues, we find that stuff gets easier. Our work starts making more sense. We show up more consistently. We get more stuff done. Hell, even our excuses seem to work themselves out.
The paragon of growth
In one way of looking at it, the reason this happens is quite simple. And incredibly profound: By taking on new endeavors, we’re repeatedly crossing the threshold of our comfort zone and therefore expanding its boundaries. We’re taking the road less traveled. We’re going off-road, leaving the certainty and security of the asphalt in our wake.
And everyone knows how downright terrifying that can be. I mean, how safe can someone feel as they’re going into uncharted territory all by themselves?
Besides that, you may find yourself forced to climb the mountain of learning a new skill. You don’t need me to tell you how that can be a tremendous time-suck, and that’s next to running your business—which is not even considering your day job if you have one.
We humans inherently fear what we don’t know, and all growth is ultimately going into the unknown. That’s why most of us keep putting off our goals, and, dare I say it, never see them come to fruition.
We have an enemy inside us
In his best-seller titled The War of Art, Steven Pressfield talks about this concept called “Resistance.” At its most basic nature, Resistance is this invisible force that is actively working to keep us from the pursuit of any task intended to improve our lives. It is in direct opposition to our success, yet is paradoxically “self-generated and self-perpetuated.”
Think of it like a wild animal—or the Alien, as Pressfield himself would say. It’s not out to get you particularly, but if you happen to lie in its path, it will attack with the intent to kill.
Aside from this newfound awareness of what stops so many of us in our tracks, here’s a rule of thumb that I’ve personally taken away from this book: The more important an action is for improving your situation—for perpetuating your growth—the more Resistance you will feel toward it, and in turn the more fear (which is how Resistance manifests) you’ll experience.
The silver lining behind it all
I’m going to give it to you straight. Without all the hardships and challenges I just mentioned, you’re not going to be able to grow. Because growth is you literally putting yourself into uncomfortable situations enough times until they become comfortable. They become part of your new comfort zone.
And then you find new situations that make you uncomfortable, and then you repeat the process. Ad nauseum.
Now how you go about overcoming said Resistance i.e. fear really falls back to you. I’ve found mindfulness-based meditation to be especially useful in letting go of that anxiety-fueled charge I feel when it’s time to do the elbow grease, so I’d start there.
Key steps to overcome Resistance
If you take one thing from this, I’d rather that it be my recommendation to read The War of Art, no matter what kind of business you’re running. In fact, I’d argue that everyone—solopreneur or not—needs to read this book.
Beyond that, I’d urge you to start practicing more self-awareness. Audit your life: When are the times in which you find yourself waging that inner war, as though you were grappling with an unseen opponent?
I’m sure a few answers popped up in your mind—write them down right now. This way you’ll be prepared for your next encounter with that ancient foe, which is when you should excuse yourself from all distractions and start meditating.
I promise if you do this consistently and over a long period of time, you’ll be amazed at how things just start getting easier and more effortless. After all, hanging outside our comfort zone is the motherlode of all growth.
This was a guest post from Mohamad Osman, a hardened self-help writer who specializes in helping readers beat their anxiety, overcome self-sabotaging behavior, and cultivate earthquake-proof self-esteem. With the power of the written word, he spurs in his audience a desire to change their lives by practicing non-judgmental self-awareness in order to achieve true, personal transformation. You can find out more about Mohamad at http://www.mohamad-osman.com/