September 24, 2017

“What’s interesting is that most of us intuitively already know what we should let go of.  The challenge is to take action to end negative patterns, habits, or relationships that are getting in our way.” – found in the book Keep It Simple by Joe Calloway

A surprising number of my coaching clients confess to holding the Limiting Belief “I am not worthy” or “I don’t deserve” success.  I’m not a trained therapist so I don’t know exactly where this belief stems from in each of their pasts, but I have come to believe it’s related to a type of guilt that many people share.

If you have any degree of financial security, good health, loved ones, reliable food and shelter – in short, a good life — the tragic circumstances so many others are suffering under today can make you feel some degree of guilt that you have been spared. When you recognize how much good you have been blessed with, it’s easy to think “Why me?” and feel undeserving.

My job as a Personal Success Coach is pretty straightforward: to help my clients achieve their Big Goals with maximum speed and ease.  That would seem to require just making a good action plan and sticking to it until the race is won. Ah, but there is so much going on between their ears that gets in the way!  What has been coming up lately for some is akin to “Survivor’s Guilt.”

Survivor’s Guilt is a very real, crippling psychological condition that arises in some people who have somehow survived a traumatic incident in which others perished, such as a plane or car crash or war.  Intellectually, survivors recognize that they didn’t cause the horrible circumstance that killed their comrades, and there was nothing they could have done to save them, but they still hold deep guilt about the unanswerable question “Why me? Why did I survive?” It can paralyze them emotionally and ruin the rest of their lives if they cannot get past it.

Given that the daily news feed is filled with non-stop natural disasters and man-made atrocities, I see more clients than ever who are suffering from a lesser but still paralyzing condition I call “Striver’s Guilt.” They feel guilty for pursuing their personal dreams while others are suffering.  Or they feel guilty if they are making faster progress in creating a successful business than other seemingly nice, deserving people who are not having the same degree of success for their efforts. “Why me?” they wonder.

I recently talked with someone during a free coaching session who was suffering from “Striver’s Guilt” that had kept her from taking action on her Big Goals for her network marketing business for several weeks.   She said it felt selfish and petty to call potential customers about buying her company’s products or joining her in the business amidst all the terrible news of people losing everything to hurricanes or earthquakes.

I told her that I completely understand that feeling.  I, too, have been feeling helpless and sad and frustrated lately because it is very hard to see people suffer and not be able to help them, aside from donating to relief organizations.

But I also offered her a chance to view the situation from a different perspective than the Limiting Belief she was holding that “If others are suffering, it’s wrong to pursue my own success and happiness.” 

First and foremost, foregoing pursuing her own personal goals will not help even one other person who is suffering.  If you have personally done something that hurt someone else — intentionally or unintentionally — you should, of course, sincerely apologize and do everything in your power to make it right.

But if you are simply feeling guilty because you cannot do anything directly to rectify their situation, your guilt is not going to alleviate their suffering.  (It’s as illogical as when your parents used to tell you to clean your plate because there are starving children in other countries!)

And if you are succeeding in your business and someone else is falling short in theirs, feeling guilty about your own success is not going to make them successful. You can offer your suggestions and support, but ultimately, it’s up to them to succeed with the same tools you have been given.

When tragedies or social ills are widespread, it can make us feel helpless.  The solution is not guilt, which is a truly useless emotion because it never spurs you to take effective action. Quite the opposite: Guilt paralyzes your creative brain by making you feel hopeless and depressed, which makes you truly useless to help others.

Instead, we can recognize that, even if we can only do a little by ourselves – like donating or volunteering to a cause – that action sets up the right energy to draw others to the cause. And many people united CAN create big results. So, instead of giving off guilty energy, making you and others feel lethargic and hopeless, you can choose to embody “I will do what I can” energy that makes you and everyone who comes in contact with you feel uplifted, hopeful and motivated to create change.

Finally, it is important to know that feelings of guilt or unworthiness are a tool the “Inner Protector” part of your Ego uses to protect you from taking any “risks” it fears will threaten your mental, emotional or physical well-being.  Guilt provides a plausible “reason” for you to stay stuck on the sofa, which your Inner Protector thinks is the safest place for you, rather than out in the world pursuing your goals.

My intelligent free session client quickly grasped that her feelings of guilt that were threatening to derail her Big Goals could not provide one iota of help to any of the earthquake or flood or hurricane victims, but they did risk turning her into a kind of victim too.  Because our beliefs, thoughts and emotions either move us in the direction of our dreams, or hold us back, guilt is NOT going to put the Law of Attraction (which says that “energy attracts like energy”) to work for you, attracting the people, resources and opportunities you need to succeed.

She brightened up considerably when I pointed out that the increased financial abundance that would come from creating a successful business would allow her to contribute MORE to the causes she cares about. And that will make a difference for others, while crying on the sofa and avoiding picking up the phone won’t.

So, the next time you are tempted to ask the heavens the unanswerable question “Why me?” I hope you will instead ask yourself, “Why NOT me?” and “What can I do right NOW to make a difference for myself and others?”  Now, that is a question worth asking!

PLEASE NOTE: The blog is taking next weekend off. Look for a brand new Cup of Caroll on Sunday October 8.

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

****************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.