photo by mjzitek
Why do I always make it so hard for myself to change? I know there is an easier way, but I always choose the hard way. Why am I doing that?
That is a direct quote from one of my clients this week. (Did you know you can work with Gene too?)
In my experience, there are two main reasons why my clients make things harder for themselves: value and worth.
Making Our Work Valuable
As a culture we attribute value to hard work to the point of making it a virtue. Whenever we talk about someone who is hard worker it is almost always a compliment.
“He is someone you want on your team. He is such a hard worker.”
“Wow! That was so well done. You must have worked really hard at it.”
There is nothing wrong with hard work. Working hard is a good thing, but it is easy for us to turn working hard into an end in itself. When this happens it becomes distorted from, “It is good to work hard,” into “It is only good if I work hard.”
When this happens we will intentionally choose the harder path because there is a part of us that now believes that only hard work is valuable. To address this we can tap to something like this:
I want to be a hard worker…I want to pull my own weight…I want to make sure I am contributing…But the best way to contribute is to add something that is valuable…Value is calculated by what I add…Or by what I receive…My value is not in how hard I work…There is an easier way…I am allowed to choose the easier way…Even when I do things the easy way…I am contributing…And my work has value…When I do things the easy way it takes less time…And that makes it possible for me to do more…When I have more time I can contribute in more ways…I can add more to my life…And I can take time to enjoy my success…It doesn’t have to be hard to be good…It doesn’t have to be hard to be valuable…
Making Myself Worthy
In addition to making our work feel more valuable we can also make ourselves feel more valuable by doing something that is hard.
We might think on a subconscious level, “Look at how worthy I am! I am struggling therefore I deserve to be here and to be noticed.”
If we think the only way we are worthy is if we work hard, then we will make sure that our work is hard in order to feel more valuable. When this happens we can tap to something like this:
I want to be seen as valuable…I want to be seen as worthy…There is a part of me that believes that if I am working hard…I have a reason to be here…I have a reason to be seen…I have value…There is a part of me that thinks…”Look at me…I am working so hard…I am struggling…Therefore I am carrying my weight…And I am valuable…I am worthy”…I am glad there is a part of me that wants to be seen as valuable and worthy…But I don’t have to work hard…To be valuable…Or to be worthy…I don’t have to work hard…I don’t have to struggle…I can be good and do things the easy way…I am not cheating by doing them the easy way…I am not a cheater by doing it the easy way…I am making the best choice for me…
We don’t have to make it harder than it need be. When we are able to transform the thought that things have to be hard then we can start to make it easier for ourselves. This will allow us to move forward more quickly and with less effort.
A final note: Often the idea that we have to work hard is given to us by other people, such as our parents and teachers. When working with this issue you might also want to look at how to let go the beliefs we have picked up from loved ones. These can be particularly hard to change because it might feel like we are disrespecting or letting our loved ones go when we let go their beliefs. Here is a simple process to release beliefs given to us by others.