Identify your Point of Greatest Opportunity
The door to achievement never opens kindly. It swings on reluctant hinges called resistance.
Failure to push through resistance explains why you’re stuck. You came to a doorway and sat down. You started asking:
- What will people think of me?
- What if I flop?
- What if results don’t match aspirations?
“Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.” Steven Pressfield
Surrender to resistance establishes height of reach.
The point of resistance is the point of greatest opportunity.
The feel of resistance signals the need to push.
Resistance asks all the wrong questions. Shine a light on resistance by asking questions like:
- What do I think of me?
- What if I don’t?
- Who might help?
- What’s blocking courage?
I used to believe resistance from others was the main reason I ended up stuck. After all, leaders always encounter external resistance. Frankly, the ability to transform resistance to support is an essential leadership quality.
But, internal, not external resistance, is the culprit who most often brings us to our knees. It’s not them. It’s us. Resistance asks:
- Do you have what it takes?
- Does what matters to you, really matter to others?
- Are you big enough?
The last question chills me. “Are you big enough?”
Death by how:
How’s kill what’s. Once you know the difference you want to make – your What – resistance asks, “How can you possibly do that?” How’s terrify and drain.
Answer fear by staying focused on the benefit you long to bring, the big What. Figure out how as you go.
Resistance wears the noble mask of perfection. Face resistance by embracing imperfect solutions. Do something that feels not good enough but steps toward your dream.
What does resistance feel like to you?
How can leaders face resistance?
Check out the great list of leadership R’s on the Leadership Freak Facebook Page. While you’re there, add leadership S’s for tomorrow’s post.
Resource: The best book I’ve read on resistance is, “The War of Art,” by Steven Pressfield.
Hows kill whats. That’s what resonates for me.
Asking for help is the next big step. Hows are limited only by our imagination, not by the volume and variety of ingenuity out there.
In the above, I took fear / courage out of the equation and substituted it with imagination. Sometimes, re-framinglike this gets me going.
Thanks for the re-framing… What blocks imagination has a completely different feel from What blocks courage. Powerful
Thought stimulating today, thank you!
What does resistance feel like to me?
The vision usually comes easy, the execution steps seem to be a mine-field.
I totally agree Ken. Execution is the sticking point and as I indicated above, perfectionism is my main block to execution.
As I continued to think this through (second cup of coffee!) it seems to me that “encouragers” -people who help us see from a different perspective and nudge us forward by recognizing and reminding us of our strengths, play a big role in these “through the door” moments…
I’m coming to appreciate more and more the role of others in our forward movement. If we can find some folks who help propel us forward we are most fortunate.
What evocative imagery! A door with rusty, resistant hinges, yet a door none the less. Yes, it’s often the internal resistance that is the hardest to pry open so we can step through to a new opportunity.
Thanks for another great post in the ABC series.
I did an ABC series a couple year ago…I haven’t look back at it much. But, yesterday I chose my word..”Resistance” and then looked at the previous ABC series. I’d chosen resistance two years ago… go figure.
Resistance is futile….on many levels… 😉
The borg are awesome… 🙂
Taking engaged and aligned to a whole nother level…
Excellent. Taking a mini-course on this stuff (10 minutes a day) from Lucy Freedman right now and getting into some of these same issues. Long ago, I jumped a 130 meter bungie; standing there looking down and making a choice to Just Do It serves as one of my anchor points for addressing those issues.
Having that “positive resource state” that we can access when we need it, constructed with a few powerful supportive memories is a really good tool to have in one’s toolkit.
So is “stepping back from the wagon” and taking a different viewpoint on the situation and the issues and opportunities, a dissociated position like watching a video of yourself. That helps to remove some of the emotions.
We all make choices; having “requisite variety in opportunities” is a positive thing.
Love your suggestions of supportive memories and taking a different perspective… great add for pushing through resistance. Much appreciated.
A very good post about resistance. It really defines the person. Surging ahead resistance is challenge but those who overcome it, win. I love to surpass when I encounter with resistance. And when I work against resistance, I really enjoy. I feel that I am doing something better than many people. Why I enjoy because of my willpower. I evaluate the power of resistance with my will power. And many times, I find that my will power is much more powerful than resistance.
I also believe that resistance is friend to ambitious people. Those who do not want to change, or see change as threat feel resistance as enemy. Leaders develop resistance at point where they need comfort and become complacent. Additionally, when someone takes life and time granted face resistance later on. So, one should prepare oneself to face resistance whether it is internal or external.
New ideas or need to change face resistance. When people are accustomed to particular environment that they take granted, their output start declining. And when leaders initiate change for betterment, people start creating resistance. Thus, I believe that resistance is the state of mind where willingness plays major role.
Thanks Ajay…your comment got me thinking about leaders as those who facilitate or create willingness… thanks for that thought… cheers
Personally I like the “what’s” AND the “how’s”. The how of something is what interests me and making the plan is one of the most fun things I can do (I’m an engineer, so I guess it makes sense). I have always found the whys to be the trick, even when fighting my own resistance. You mentioned asking the question “what if I don’t” and to me that sounds like a why or why not question. I have always found answering “why” to be the biggest hurdle. That often puts priorities in place, but I can answer why either way, to move forward or not. Finding reasons on why I should do something takes the right frame of mind, and that is always the biggest challenge for me.
Thanks for another thought provoking post.
Thanks Anthony. I’m thankful I have people in my life who love how’s. Lets face it a what without a how is a limp fish.
So glad you brought your what AND howing self to the conversation….
GREAT STUFF DAN!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love what you created today!
Resistence, to me feels, smells like VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Why oh WHY????
I am a Paradigm Shifter, aka, Shifterp, my calling and I know I am DEAD on when at first no one listens, but there is rock solid proof elsewhere. Check!
HORRAY when no one listens when there are dead solid facts, elsewhere! Horray!
The LAST ones to get with the program are those most invested and getting the most NOW out of the obsolete stuff.
Can you imagine if I presented to a group of college freshman standard Leadership stuff in American Business fail 70% of the employees and People Centric Leadership practiced at Barry Wehmiller directly opposite results at 72% to the good?
Seen with no bias, NO CONTEST! With bias, won’t even investigate it? Amazing stuff ain’t it? Goodness human beings are such interesting creatures! Wow what they will do to stick with their Paradigms! WOW!
There was once a little dude in Switzerland, working for the biggest watch manufacturer. He discovered quartz technology. He TRIED to share with all THE GENIUS Leaders who scoffed at him, ridiculed him, laughed at him, IGNORED HIM!!!!!!!!!!! LOL. They told him that was stupid, you are stupid, give it to the Japanese.
He did 10 years later all the Geniuses/Leaders were unemployed and wondering what the heck just happened!!!! Who is laughing now? hehe The little Dude! Then again maybe not. He probably cared about those Geniuses even though they thought so little of him not to listen to his ALERT! Silly Geniuses!
True story FACTS!
Leadership Paradigm shifting now, already early adapters producing prodigious results. What we been adoing 70% failure with the folks, People Centric Leadership DIRECT opposite and then a little 72% SUCCESS!
How cool is DAT? Depends on where you are with your Leadership Paradigm. I guess it does?
There are 3 possibilities
1. Making things happen
2. Watching what happens
3. Wondering what happened!
Now if you were a Doctor and even though you were sincere but the result of what you were doing killed 7 out of 10 of your patients, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Try harder with this procedure?????? Now remember you got a SUCCESSFUL MONETARY practice. You got two kids in college and a wife you got to keep a standard of living you got her used to.
Change everything, you are kinda screwed, I get it.
Then there is a new procedure that cures 72% of the patients. All your equipment, all your learning, all your everything committed to 70% failure rate. What you gonna do? Goodness!
Yeah I can see how it is tough for the ole doc to do some changing.
Big enough, not sure exactly what you mean Dan, that does not chill me. Although I do think I know what you were, are getting at.Think you were inferring humble enough? Right?
For me the questions sound like this…..Am I honest enough, Am I willing enough, am I trusting enough to lay it all on the line?
To FULLY accept the Paradigm shifted already and NOW I can choose to be like the Genius/Leaders, the Swiss Watch Dudes Or…………………..
My R words are REVIEW, am I willing to review what this guy is talking about or am I gonna stick my head in the sand and wonder what happened?
Do I think Scott is a “ragabash” means an idle, worthless fellow”!
Hey just my opinion, man! I could be wrong, ABSOLUTELY!
Ok so what if I am, what does that cost me? Nuttin! If I am right, what does it cost you if you don’t REVIEW fully with an open mind what the Rock is cooking?
Have a great day Dan, thanks my friend! Great Great Stuff today!
I Concur! Hey if I do not Concur with my own ideas who is gonna? LOL No one but the First Follower, then the early adapters, then everyone!!!!! hehe Amazing how that works!
Shifterp OUT Truly Human Leadership. It is a beautiful thing.
I’ve come to see that my personal point of resistance often boils down to the question, “Am I big enough.” I recently had to admit to myself that the reason I was pushing a specific opportunity back was that it felt bigger than me. It was hard to say, “I’m not big enough,” or to think, “That challenge is bigger than me.
Truth is it IS bigger than me. What I finally decided to do was take on a challenge that I felt bigger than… It’s a connected challenge that keeps me facing the big monster but in order to keep moving forward I had to tackle something I felt big enough to tackle.
I know some might say they are big enough to face any challenge. I think that’s fairy-tale talk.
At this stage I’m growing into bigger challenges by breaking them down into bite size pieces.
Hey Dan whatever you meant GREAT and thank you so much for taking the time and effort to thoughtfully respond.
The deal is no matter who you are, no matter what you are up to, no matter how you decide to eat the elephant…..none of that matters till you get your WHY big enough.
Why is the fuel for the engine.
Smarter dudes than me been saying that over and over and over and over and over and over.
Still people want to be obstinant and disagree with no biological or theoretical proof. And be darn sure of themselves with nothing to back their opinion up but they own ego! Ry quire amazing really.
Cause it is true yes that starting with why is how humans communicate witg themselves.Sometimes I am not really sure when we see a truth and for whatever reason we stuck our heads in the sand instead of using that information to better our effectiveness with ourselves and others.
It is like walking up steps!!!!!! Start with your feet not flailing your arms!!!! Gonna work out better for u if u do!!! Still got fks wanting to insist they are arm flailing type of folks!!! I seriously find that AMAZING !!!!!!!!!
Pride, ego, ignorance, apathy pick one, pick um all!!!!
Just not sure. I do know any student of achievement and the way the human brain works says the brain takes in info in the limbic brain and it interprets info based on why. It makes sense to the brain that way every person every way.
It is not opinion. It is biological
So why people hear that and boast. Oh I am a what person. Their brain biology says different.
So is arguing against biology a rebel kinda deal? Ego kind of deal? Ignorance kind of deal?
I can’t answer that for anyone but me and I am in constant search to find out why I work, how I work.
Understanding the brains biology and how we communicate FOR me just makes sense.
Not doing that just makes no sense to me.
We all breathe air, right see how silly a person is if they keep insisting they persist due to something besides oxygen?
Wow go against biology of u will just makes absolutely no sense to me.
In any case have a great weekend Dan.
Great comment. I read your comment with interest and curiosity. I found the whole comment very insightful. Particularly I found three leadership paradigm very interesting.
1. Making things happen
2. Watching what happens
3. Wondering what happened!
When I introspected myself as which category I belong to, I found that I come category 1 and 2. Sometimes, I make things happen and sometimes I watch what happened. Interestingly, my desire to make things happen become more powerful when I watch things happen. So, in that sense, I feel, category 1 and 2 are complementary.
A bright light clicked on about “how’s” when I read your post this morning! Thank you. Love the quote by Steven Pressfield.
Thanks Carissia. What I’ve found with how’s is they should be delayed until there’s a clear picture of the WHat… once we see and deeply believe in the what we’re willing to do what it takes to make it happen.
I have some great how people on my team.. .they aren’t the best dreamers so we’ve learned to have them hold back and let the dreamers dream… once a dream has legs, the how people can help make plans… success is a matter of timing, of bringing the right people to the table at the right time.
Love that. Face resistance by pushing. Push by doing little things courageously.
Thanks Justin…best to you
This is ‘so-o-o’ timely Dan. Theres times when we feel we just can not do enough to satisfy our selfish endeavors. Frustration begins to set in when things don’t happen as quickly as I’d like. “STOP”, step away, start looking for opportunities to help others, (with no alterior motive), other than to lend a helping hand. Focus comes back, things become clearer, new strategies now become clear. And the bonus, you begin to build a network of reliable contacts. Contacts that can turn to loyal relationships built on mutaul trust and the knowledge that no matter what the issue you both will be there for oneanother “even when you’d rather be doing something else.” Sometimes stepping away from the forest, helps you to better see the trees…
Absolutely love “look for opportunities to help others with no ulterior motive.” KaPow… When you don’t know what to do, go help someone else!
The human psyche tends to fear and resist the unknown. Using our imagination (in a positive way) to get a “preview of life’s coming attractions” allows the unknown to become more familiar. As we see ourselves succeeding at whatever is threatening us, the resistance will start losing its power. The imagination is a powerful, God-given, tool to help us go where we have never gone before … BEFORE we actually go there.
Thanks Tyler… you remind me of something I read that might apply. The most powerful use of imagination isn’t imagining what could be, although that’s important, it’s imagining the process of getting there. Now that makes the rubber hit the road.
In percolating on the resistance theme de jour, thought about substituting throughout the post and responses first person singular nouns with ‘the organization’ or ‘our culture’ or with first person plural. What will people think of the organization? What if our culture fails? Because ultimately, for successful organizations and cultures, it is really not about you.
Love Ajay’s ‘resistance is the friend to ambitious people’…might morph it to ‘resistance is the willing partner of imperfect solutions and that’s okay.’ Without the wind’s resistance, we would not tack to the new world. Also, props to Scott for his: make, watch or wonder, those be the choices. Powerful stuff so early in the morning!
Thanks Doc. Much appreciate and respect the extension of these ideas to a much broader context. YOu open doors. 🙂
Two caterpillars are chatting as they roll along and the one caterpillar says to the other, as a beautiful butterfly floats by: “You’ll never get ME up in one of THOSE things!
I always thought this was about that active resistance to change or about perceptions about the world. One of the punchlines to the joke is, “My mother was a moth.”
There are lots of issues and lots of perspectives and lots of innate things that we have to use as tools for doing things differently and acting on possibilities. Sometimes, it is NOT about choice, but mostly it is.
You can see more about this theme on a post I did a couple of weeks ago on “Teaching the Caterpillar to Fly.” Resistance. Choices. Perspective. Visions. And opportunities for improvement.
Thanks for extending the conversation.
We musn’t forget to ask “WHY?” in pursuit of “what”. It helps mitigate the “how’s” (aka, doubts/resistance/fears). I’m sure scott meant to say that somewhere in the above comments (yes, I read you and yes, I have listened to Bob Chapman, btw – his story is compelling even if his delivery falls a little flat – just my gut response).
Cool! Thanks and hope you check out his site truly human leadership and his companies site Barry Wehmiller!!!
Compelling!!!! That is SO GREAT hope others follow your lead and JUST WATCH!!!
Bet you will find Simon Sinek start with why compelling to!
Hope you check it out and share!
You are a rock star in my book for being open to investigate!
Thank You Cathy.
Hope you join me doing everything I can to change the world inspiring one mind at a time.
Just a tidbit! It is very unthanked work till more early adopters catch on.
But worth it, American employees need us to keep sharing cause the status quo is about profits not people and it does not work.
Thanks again Cathy!
Hope you are inspired by Simon. Youtube Understanding people and business.
“Hows” are indeed a killer! In my early business career, I killed myself daily with that one. It took a lot of self-examination to realize that “how?” needed to be asked long after the vision had been developed and solidified, and it needed to be asked not as “how?” but as “okay, what’s the first step?” and “What do WE need to do to move this forward?”
Resistance feels like doubt.
The secret is to doubt the doubt.
We can’t let doubt paralyze us. Too often it does.
Great blog! First time reading and it’s very engaging.
This is very inspiring to me as I just had a difficult week with a group of educators and had to work hard ( and then hold my breath) to turn a point of resistance into a point of opportunity. Though it worked, it was not clear whether it would until the last day. Truly, this is the first time in nearly 10 years of doing professional development work that I wanted to actually physically run away! But I couldn’t so “on the fly” I did what I could but wouldn’t it be great if I could have anticipated and planned for that moment?
So, it is interesting and helpful to read what you have written and have the experience re-framed for me (post trauma) from a non-education world perspective. Thank you!
As the BORG would say on Star Trek. “Resistance is futile” When you resist the resistance gathers traction and your feet gets stuck in the mud.
One other question I would like to add in the mix is, “What am I curious about?” Mmmmm; sometimes an answer shows right up other times it hides out and in the middle of the night you wake up and the answer is there.
This is a great article. Absolutely true. Listening to what we don’t want to do for any reason can teach us so much about where to head. Thankyou. Can I ask your permission to reblog this?