We all know that getting to the destination of our dreams requires taking consistent action steps and continually pushing forward. So why don't we "just do it?" Why do we procrastinate, remain complacent, become paralyzed, or shrink in fear? Why, even when we know what we should be doing or the steps that we need to be taking, do we get easily sidetracked, go unconscious, or function on automatic pilot?
Your shadow is the part of you that determines how much success you will achieve. It impacts your thoughts, behaviors, actions, inactions, choices, and non-choices, basically dictating your life. When you deny your shadow and hide the parts of yourself that you do not like or want to be, you whittle away at your full self-expression. And since your outer world is a direct reflection of your inner world, when you lose access to all of who you are on the inside, you automatically limit what you can create and manifest in your external world.
This is one of the many reasons I always get so excited about The Shadow Process Workshop. I know that each one I lead will be the catalyst for me to have a huge breakthrough and propel me into another reality in terms of what I will be able to realize in my life.
Every time I prepare to lead The Shadow Process, I start thinking about and asking to be shown what shadow I most need to integrate in order to have a radical shift in my life.
A few years ago, my goal was to write a book. I spent months caught up in the cycle of starting, stopping, promising myself I would start again, preparing to start, finding an excuse to postpone starting, feeling guilty about not starting, starting, and then stopping again. I came up with very justified reasons for my postponements and delays but underneath them all was fear -- the fear I could not do it. At that point, I wasn't even worried about whether the book would be "good" or not. I just feared that I would never have the wherewithal to complete a book and that would mean I was unsuccessful, an obvious shadow -- a characteristic I did not want to be.
So at The Shadow Process, I worked on the shadow I had around being "unsuccessful." I realized the gift of "unsuccessful" is that it allowed me to let go of situations that no longer served me like my marriage or an unfulfilling business. In working with "unsuccessful," I also realized that I never owned the "successful" part of myself either. Although on a cognitive level, I knew that I had achieved a lot of accomplishments and had the degrees and accolades to affirm that, I never really saw myself as "successful" because there was always that next thing I told myself I needed to accomplish before I truly would be "successful" -- just like my father! When I made peace with and owned that I was both "unsuccessful" and "successful," I went home, sat on my living room couch every weekend, and finished my book within a few months.
My next issue came as a result of a bit of a surprise. Not only had I finished my book but I actually really liked it. It felt like the book wanted to be something more than a manuscript I completed and would just email to my family , close friends, and clients if they expressed interest in reading it. I needed to establish a plan to "get it out there." But to do this, it would require me to take a risk, step outside of my comfort zone, and let my work be seen. Luckily for me, just as I was hitting this quandary, there was an upcoming Shadow Process! Once again I asked to be shown what shadow and parts of myself I needed to integrate in order to take that next evolutionary leap in my life. Always thinking I had a good relationship with being both "visible" and "invisible," I was shocked that these were the two words that came up for me to work through during that weekend workshop. Although I knew I had fear about not making a mark in the world, not being special, and being invisible, I did not realize how much fear I had about being visible and how unsafe that felt to me on a cellular level. As a result of my work that weekend, I was able shift my beliefs about being "visible." I now truly believe that it is safe for me to be visible and I know that if and when I don't feel safe being visible, I have the power to cloak myself with my cape of invisibility since they both serve and protect me.
I am happy to report that since then I have gone on to find a publisher (Sounds True) and today, just hours ago, I finished my last round of copy edits! My book The Integrity Advantage: Step into Your Truth, Love Your Life, and Claim Your Magnificence is being published in November, 2017. Although I am taking this process of writing a book and becoming an author one step at a time, and I'm not exactly sure what will come next, I do know that issues and insecurities will arise. I am grateful to have the work that I teach as the tool I turn to for the insight I need to fuel my next evolutionary leap! I am excited that our next Shadow Process Workshop is right around the corner -- April 7th to April 9th. I invite you to join me if you too are looking for that insight that will be the catalyst for your evolutionary leap.
Transformational Action Steps
1. Think about a goal you want to accomplish.
2. Ask to be shown or identify a characteristic, quality, or part of yourself that you need to integrate in order to achieve that goal.
3. In order to really cultivate that characteristic, ask yourself every morning for two to four weeks, "What action can I do today that will support me in really being that characteristic or owning that characteristic inside of me?"
4. Take those actions!
Kelley Kosow is a Master Integrative Life Coach, CEO & Program Leader of The Ford Institute. She is a leader and teacher of emotional education, shadow work, and personal mastery.
In 2007, Kelley joined The Ford Institute staff. She was hand-picked and personally trained by the late Debbie Ford to lead her programs and continue the legacy of her life-changing work. Known as a “coach’s coach,” Kelley works with individuals, groups and corporations world-wide.
Kelley is a graduate of Brown University and University of Miami Law School. Kelley has been featured in local and national media. Oprah Magazine named Kelley as someone who could “Dream it, Do it.” She has been featured in In Style, People, NY and LA Times, and Conde Nast Traveler.
Kelley's book The Integrity Advantage will be published by Sounds True in November, 2017.