Why Your Mind and Will Power Are Not Enough to Be Successful
4 Embodiment tools that will help you achieve your goals and not lose your way on the way
We live in a world disconnected from our bodies. We rely mainly on our intelligent minds to solve most of our problems. Always looking for a quick fix.
Feeling tired? Take another coffee.
Feeling too excited? Take some valium.
Feeling sick? Take these meds.
Feeling sad? Watch some comedy on Netflix and make yourself feel better.
That’s why many of us who have been following our dreams at some stage get to a point of realization, that even though we might have achieved what we wanted, we actually don’t feel at all much happier for it.
So how do we break the vicious cycle?
Embodiment is key
If we want to achieve our goals but not sacrifice our happiness, well-being and relationships along the way we need to take all of ourselves with us, including our ‘body’.
Embodiment simply means being honest about how we feel.
But first, we have to become aware. We have to understand that it’s our emotional body, not the circumstances outside of ourselves that make us feel and consequently desire certain things!
Here are four examples of how to become more in touch with that dimension within yourself as well as how to engage your body in getting where you want to be.
1. Resonance: is what you want really what you need?
It’s important to ask ourselves why it is that we want what we want. So much of our so-called desires come from ideas that are not even ours! We see the successful influencer online and think, oh I want that too. Or we read about someone making thousands of dollars on Medium and we think, yes, that’s me, if I get there, I will be happy.
And we embark on a journey of pursuing the proverbial carrot on a stick without ever pausing to check-in with ourselves whether we even like carrots.
When I first started the online part of my business, I got caught up in the whole ‘if you want to be successful you need an Instagram account’- story.
I hated it.
I sat down and created a business plan for myself where I would post three times a week (or whatever the advised way of doing it was). Every time I was about to do it, my whole body became one big screaming knot of NO!
So, sometimes I would force myself through it, thinking THIS IS THE ONLY WAY and I just had some self-sabotaging blockages. But often the resistance was just too great and I gave up. However, only to berate myself and to end up feeling like a failure.
After a few weeks of that madness, I finally woke up from the trance and asked myself: What’s underneath it? What do I actually need?
On one hand, of course, I was just trying to build a business that would fulfill my needs for financial stability so I could relax more and be of better service. That’s a valid need.
But I didn’t take into account my greater need for integrity.
I work with embodiment; my whole business and ideology are based on honoring and listening to the body. And here I was trying to sell this image of myself to others without honoring the path.
So, once I understood that integrity goes hand in hand with what I was teaching, I couldn’t lie to myself any longer. I gave up all my desire for a ‘quick-fix’ and focused instead on what lit me up. What came easily to me, inspired me and what naturally moved me.
I found writing.
It ticked the box of creating content to establish more of my business online. But it also deeply resonated with who I was and who I needed to show up as. It reverberates through my body, a deep wave of pleasure and excitement each time I sit down to write. And I love that.
So ask yourself: What is the deeper need behind your goals and what can you do to honor those rather than just going for the end result?
2. Are you willing to face your resistance?
It’s one thing to have an intention in our head and another to really feel it in our bodies. Because inevitably there will be resistance. It’s normal. Humans are habitual creatures, following the path of least resistance and all that.
Every time we do something different we literally create new neural pathways in our brain that’s akin to machete-ing our way through a thick forest into unknown territories. And the truth is, we love being comfortable. So changing habits will bring up stagnant, blocked, lazy, self-sabotaging energies within us. Rather than expecting the fire from a new idea to last forever, know that there will be a moment that it’s almost out.
The easiest way to move through the thick forest of our unconscious is movement.
It’s not just ‘mind over matter’. It’s movement that has the power to change mind and matter.
On a bad day, when I lose my focus and don’t remember my drive, it’s much easier to access my breath and posture in the now, than try to master my mind. It’s much easier to get up and shake off (literally) feelings of resistance, doubt, and powerlessness than to figure it all out in my head alone.
In fact, having a practice of movement that helps me access my resources, is exactly what stokes that inner fire that I need to make my intentions come true. It brings me into the now, moment to moment to moment.
Practice: Take an intention and then feel into your body. How do you stand having accomplished what you wanted? How is your breath moving through you? How is your posture? Your belly and chest? How do your feet feel on the ground? What emotional energies can you access from here? How do you MOVE?
Make it a practice to access this state. Your body will be able to remember much easier than just your mind.
Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash
3. Do you have enough support?
Contrary to our individualistic culture (where most of us are conditioned to believe that we have to go it all alone and show how superhuman and strong and awesome we are, so others can look up to us and we get to feel invincible)
we need the support of others.
We need others to reflect back to us who we are. To reflect back to us our level of embodiment. Which is to say: our blind spots. Nothing can show us the parts we don’t want to see about ourselves as good as relationships.
We also need others to hold us in our worthiness, regardless of our achievements.
Because if we endeavor to achieve anything from a space of ‘I’m not good enough’ we just make it harder for ourselves to get there. We might still make it, but without feeling the sense of peace and wholeness at the end.
Those others, however, need to be safe. They need to be the people that can equally hold the understanding of our fuck-ups as well as the: ‘you can do better than this, just keep going’.
Move away from those that will give you comments like: I knew it (i.e. you can’t be trusted) or the famous raised eyebrow when you share your new dreams. Or those that try to disempower you in any number of ways. It’s like pouring acid on your new seedling. So be discerning.
In order to enlist the support of others in our intentions we actually need to speak them out loud. If you are serious about your intentions, make an effort to make them ‘public’.
Write them down, call your friends and let them know about it. Ask them for their support. And feel, in your body, how much scarier and powerful that is. Breathe through that influx of new energy and make an effort to enjoy it. This is what accountability feels like.
4. Will you be happy even if you fail?
There is a fine balance between going ahead wholeheartedly to achieve our dreams and getting all white-knuckled psycho about it. Ken Wilber’s wife called it ‘passionate equanimity’. (beautiful book, I highly recommend: Grace and Grit).
This giving your all and being completely unattached to the outcome is a skill that needs practice. It needs a deepening of your self-inquiry. Because ultimately we don’t have control over what happens. We can always only try our best. And that needs a constant checking-in with ourselves.
We need to learn to answer those questions for ourselves: how much is enough? When am I becoming rigid in my endeavor? When am I slacking off? What’s my sweet spot?
You can only answer these questions when you are connected to your body. Your body will let you know without fail if you are tensing up, getting too serious, and stopping the flow of your energy. It will also let you know when you are collapsing into laziness and stagnation.
It’s about balance. Your nervous system needs rest between activation. And your nervous system is connected to your whole body. In fact it is your body. So learn to work with it, not against it.
As soon as you think that you ‘have-to’ achieve what you set out to do, you will become tense. It will stop your enjoyment of achieving your goals. It will stop the flow of universal forces supporting you in your expansion. The best way is to stay relaxed but alert. Like a good martial artist or dancer.
Whatever your intentions and goals may be, I wish you more breath, more movement, more safety, and more pleasure in going for it. Take your body on the ride with you. I promise you it will be worth it. And remember to enjoy it all!
If you like what you read, you can now buy me a coffee! Thank you!