It is hard to go public with topics like this. I wasn’t sure if I should but I wanted to share my experience with the dark side with others. The best indicator it is something I needed to do is the very reason that I had resistance to write about it in the first place.
I am an entrepreneur who started a new business in the last months. Usually I could talk a lot about how much fun it is to help people, how much I love being an entrepreneurial psychologist and how easy everything is. But it wouldn’t be the whole truth — at least not all the time.
A few months ago I recorded a Facebook Live video within a closed Facebook group. It was within a 11 day live video challenge I was taking to get more comfortable with doing live videos. And I was in such a great mood afterwards that I decided to do a live video on my private profile. I wanted to teaser my next free training I was about to broadcast in my Facebook group that day.
Unfortunately the “dark side” of my mind jumped on me. One reason was that I saw that I “only” got 2 likes for my teaser video the day before. And 3 likes for the teaser post 2 days before. Both had no comments. This somehow irritated and frustrated me and triggered the already mentioned dark side.
Strange inner voices came up like “nobody likes you anymore, it was just the momentum in the first days but now it’s over” and similar garbage. And then I turned off the already started Facebook live session, my camera and the light (I wanted to facepalm right now as I write this). Then I tried to analyze what went wrong but got mixed insights since my “inner saboteur” was “holding me down”.
The inner saboteur is a word I came up with to describe the dark side that is the main block to any kind of success and happiness. But I realized there is a slight problem with calling it that — or calling it anything really. Because when I finally got real with myself I realized it has been no one else there to sabotage me but myself.
I let the dark side in. I focused on comparisons, I believed the voices in my head, and I continued to let myself be dragged down to the point of not fulfilling my purpose any more.
Of course, one can hardly do anything for having fear-based thoughts — those are thought patterns that have been imprinted over a lifetime. But I am the one who can choose to believe them or not. I am the one who can choose not to give them momentum. I am the one who can look fear in the eye and then go ahead with doing what I am supposed to be doing in spite of it.
The first step could have been as easy as asking myself what I would say to someone in the same situation. A lot of nicer and more useful things than what I had told myself that day, that is sure. But that little change in perspective could have been enough to free me from the shackles I put on my own hands.
The second step could have been to just stop thinking about myself. Get out of my own head and ask myself: Why am I doing what I am doing? Because it really is not about me, it is about the people I am helping. If I hold myself back I am also withholding help from those who can profit from it.
In other words, if I don’t promote a free training I am doing for my group, for the people who I am helping to become unstoppable, I am choosing not to help. I am choosing some random negative voices in my head, some automatic fear patterns, over my tribe. And I am choosing to do so by actually (oh the irony) stopping myself.
Once I realized this, I was free. I swore to myself never again to listen to my dark side. The thoughts will come and go, but we choose to believe them or not. I continue to train others in realizing that they can choose this too. We don’t have to believe everything in our heads. We don’t have to prolong the stay of the darkness — we can learn to lovingly let it go instead.
So yes, I am an entrepreneur and I can tell you a lot about how much fun it is to help people, how much I love being an entrepreneurial psychologist and how easy everything is. But the truth is — it is not always easy nor is everything I do fun. The dark side has a lot of opportunities to come knocking with unbidden thoughts, but now this is a blessing. Because every one of these times is an opportunity for me to rise above and overcome it. It is an opportunity to learn so I can then teach better.
Don’t see fear as an enemy. See it as your friend, as a sparring partner helping you to outgrow everything that is old and obsolete. It indicates you are on the right path and shows you exactly what you need to be doing. Embrace it lovingly and see how life starts flowing much more easily the way you want it.