S1.Ep17: “I’m self sabotaging my massive success”

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When you’re at your highest moments, have you ever noticed a sense of dread creeping in, seemingly out of nowhere? Do you acknowledge these anxious thoughts, or do you let them take over and start sabotaging your progress? Whether you experience this sabotage in your business, your health, or your relationships, today’s episode is for you.

At the end of 2022, Sydney was making tons of money as a coach and her dreams were coming true. But as the months passed, the growth stopped and she feels like her life has fallen apart over the course of 2023. Sydney has the recurring thought that she’s a “f*ck up with money…” so, she called The Life Coach Hotline for some help getting herself back on track. 

Tune in this week to discover what keeps us stuck in the muck as entrepreneurs. Sydney is sharing how she went from an amazing 2022 to a profoundly difficult 2023, and we’re working through her thoughts and feelings about all of it so you can see how our brains get stuck, and how to get out of this self-sabotaging cycle.

If you want to call in to The Life Coach Hotline, go to lindseymango coaching.com/lifecoachhotline.

What You'll Learn on this Episode

  • Why 2023 has felt like a year of nothing working for Sydney.
  • The impact that a slowing business has had on Sydney’s health, self-care, and marriage.
  • Why your brain keeps you stuck in the muck.
  • How you might be using coaching against yourself when things get tough in your life.
  • A new perspective on your challenges to take into next year.

Featured on the Show


Click to Read Episode Transcript

Lindsey: Hi, welcome to The Life Coach Hotline. This is Lindsey Mango, your life coach. How can I help you?

Sydney: Hi Lindsey, this is Sydney and I’m calling today because I could really use some help on, well, I’m just going to say it. I feel like my life has fallen apart this year and I could use some help with getting myself back on track in all of the ways. So can I give you a little bit of a background?

Lindsey: Of course. Absolutely.

Sydney: Okay. So, in 2020 I was laid off from my corporate job and had to go on unemployment. And at time I saw the opportunity to pursue my dream. I thought I wanted to be an author and a speaker, but I found coaching and I got coached and loved it so much. And I was like, I really think this is for me. It felt aligned and I started my own online coaching business then, in 2020.

And it was amazing. It was everything and it took off. And I’ve been able to do it full-time since then. And for those first couple of years, starting in the second half of 2020 and then ‘21, it was kind of feast or famine but I was able to sustain our lifestyle and support my family, we’ve always been a two income family. And then in ‘22, last year, at the last half of the year things just really started to take off for me in my business. And my life felt like, wow, this is the life that I have always dreamed of.

I made over six figures, which was more money than I had ever made in corporate with my master’s degree. I felt so aligned and so in purpose with what I was doing. My heart was on fire, I was helping all of these soul-aligned clients and I felt amazing. My relationship was the best it’s ever been. It was just everything was working so wonderfully.

And in the beginning of this year I booked a dream vacation for my family, which we had not been able to do in a while and was able to pay cash for it, it was amazing. And we’re on that trip and I had just paid for what we were going to do, the excursions for the day. And I went back to the hotel room to get ready and I sat on the bed to write about this experience. I literally felt on cloud nine and I felt this sense of dread wash over me in that moment.

I call it the creep. It was like this horrible sensation just washed over me of yuck. And I think in that moment I had the thought that this is too good to be true. How am I going to sustain this? Is this real life? And I quickly dismissed those thoughts and resisted the heck out of them, but they were there.

And what has happened since then is that everything that was on the trajectory, you know, what I would have told you in the beginning of this year, before that moment that this was going to be you know, my multi six figure, that I was going to just be on the up and up has felt like it has crashed and burned.

And I have sabotaged myself. At this point, I’ve made less profit in the business than I have in any of the years that I’ve been in business. And now the financial strain has really caused a strain on my marriage. And so I am also navigating that. And then just how I’m showing up for my kids and my family, it’s not who I want to be.

I’ve really let go of my self-care and my health and it’s almost like I’ve been spiraling in and out of this. I mean, I don’t think depression is the word, but it’s really low. And I’ve been trying to figure out what the heck happened. And I know what I’m capable of and I know what’s possible for me because I literally just showed myself that over the last several, like last year.

And I’m a coach so I, from theory, kind of understand maybe I upper limited or something like that. But it’s like I’ll go through these phases where I’m like, okay, I’m okay. I’m back on track. I’m aligned. I’m managing my mind and doing all of the things like that. And I’ll get back to work, put my head down, be consistent, and yet it doesn’t seem to be flowing. So I’ll kind of sink back down.

And that’s been this entire year of ‘23. And I’m ready to not be in this place anymore. I don’t want to lose my dream, which is imminent if things don’t turn around. I don’t want to lose my marriage. I mean, it feels very hard right now.

Lindsey: I just want to send you so much love and just compassion. And that’s tough.

Sydney: Thanks. Yeah, it feels tough.

Lindsey: So here’s the thing, I feel like you, and we’ll talk about this, but I feel like you do know what happened. What do you think happened?

Sydney: I think that I have a big money story, first of all, that I never felt like I could handle money. There’s a big backstory to that. I just have never been good with money. Like my MO with money before I knew about coaching was just like – Am I allowed to cuss?

Lindsey: Yeah, of course.

Sydney: It’s like, I’m just a giant fuck up with money. Like I can’t manage it. I had done a lot of work around that story, I really had. But in my jobs before I made okay money. Enough to live comfortably. But I think I upper limited. I think making that six-figure, especially in the coaching industry, was such a carrot around that time that people were dangling that you had really made it if you got to that number, which is so silly now. But I bought into that hook, line and sinker.

And so I do, I think I upper limited in the amount of money that I made and just really believing that I was worthy of holding it, like deep down. I wasn’t thinking that on the surface, but subconsciously.

But how to get myself out of that has been the real challenge for me. It’s almost like I feel like from theory I can understand what happened, but day in and day out, when I feel that I’m really in it I am just feeling like I’m walking along this road filled with tar. And it’s like every time I can lift my foot high enough off the ground with the gunk on the bottom, the next step is just right back in it. And so it feels very sticky.

Lindsey: Yeah. Okay, great awareness. I absolutely think that was probably, like that’s what I would say is the cause. And the thing is, what I’ll offer – And then I think there’s another piece that I want to start with.

Sydney: Okay.

Lindsey: But really quick, what I want to offer is that your brain right now is only seeing evidence of being stuck in the muck. And that can be really hard, especially when you feel like you’re in the thick of it, right?

It’s like your brain right now is only scanning, even when it gets that little like, okay, we’re coming out, we’re doing it. It’s like whatever happens, whatever “lack” of results or whatever result you get, your brain is likely just seeing it as evidence to support the story that you’re stuck, that this isn’t going to happen, that your business is dwindling, all of these things.

Does that feel true?

Sydney: Yes, it does.

Lindsey: Instead of choosing to see it from a totally different angle. Like only setting your mind to pay attention to how literally anything and everything that happens is evidence proving true that you’re making your comeback.

Sydney: Yeah. Yeah, I feel that I’m a coach, like from theory –

Lindsey: Yeah, cognitively you know it.

Sydney: Yeah. And that’s why I think I feel so stuck, is because then I’m almost weaponizing that knowledge against myself. Like, you’re a coach, you know what’s going on here. Why can’t you get out of it? And one of the problems is, I think, it’s very helpful to have a mentor that can pull you out of these things and show you when you can’t see the forest for the trees. And because of my financial situation, [8:39]I haven’t had the support that I had in the past and so I really feel like I’m navigating it on my own.

And those days when it does feel so true that everything is falling apart, it feels like it takes me a while to see the perspective.

Lindsey: Well, I think that’s the other thing. This is the hard part, right? Especially when things get scary, everything in us wants to contract.

Sydney: Yes.

Lindsey: And that is what keeps us there.

Sydney: Right.

Lindsey: So your brain wants to be like, hold on to money, don’t invest because we’re not going anywhere, rather than taking those steps and giving yourself the support you need. Because you know that if your brain stays stuck in this cycle, you’re only going to create more of the same.

Sydney: Right. And I’ve seen that. I mean month after month I’ve seen it this year. And just to your point of the contraction, I think also it’s contracting from showing up consistently. Like to lick my wounds, I’ve got to have a couple days to put my best face forward again, and then I’ll show up. And then that’s not working.

Lindsey: Yeah, totally. Okay, so I really want to make sure we hone in on the other piece of this.

Sydney: Okay.

Lindsey: And this isn’t the point of this call, but have you thought about joining the life membership?

Sydney: Yes, I’ve thought about it.

Lindsey: Because it’s $97 a month or the VIP, I’m actually going to add in a business-specific extra Zoom. But I’m like, this is what this is for. [10:04] It’s an investment, but it’s meant to be able to give you access to that. So I would definitely start there. This is what this is for.

Sydney: Okay. I’m going to say something too here, and this is just really transparent, but there’s like this level of secret shame because I’ve been able to invest at high levels. I’ve been able to be in this –

Lindsey: Yeah. You’re like, I’m going to stretch myself and make these giant –

Sydney: I know. And it’s like, in my brain I had reached the players club, even though it’s not. It wasn’t. 100k is not the players club, but to me it was, right? I had put so much in that number. And so there’s almost like this secret shame like, if I can’t have a one-on -one coach, then I’ll just wait until I can. There’s like some real –

Lindsey: Oh, yes. And I bet all your people might be thinking that too, right?

Sydney: Yeah. Yeah, so it’s almost like some pride in there too, you know?

Lindsey: Well, I think this is all the perfect segue. Great awareness in just bringing that to the surface. And as you know as a coach, usually the thing that is the most uncomfortable, which it sounds like this actually is, like stepping into a different type of container, giving yourself the support where you are at, with what you have, it stretches you in a different way.

And I think so often we think “stretching” always means these big, giant things. And it can be, but sometimes it’s sitting with, well, what’s actually the most uncomfortable thing?

Sydney: Yeah. Yeah. No, I mean, I’ve never thought about it from that perspective, that it’s uncomfortable for me to do that. Because I’m just looking at it as that’s a, not a setback because I don’t by any means think that.

Lindsey: Yes. No, no, no, I never take any of this personally, by the way.

Sydney: It’s like the price point, which is so funny to me now that I’m saying it. Saying like, well, a $97 price point investment makes me feel like I’m not an established coach. Which is just, I don’t know. There’s so much here that I actually hadn’t drilled into because I’m thinking that’s, of course, not true. But it is uncomfortable. That’s the thought.

Lindsey: Yes, and it’s keeping you from getting support.

Sydney: It’s keeping me from getting support, yeah.

Lindsey: That could help you with all of this and not feel so alone and trapped and all of those things.

Sydney: Yeah.

Lindsey: Okay, so here’s the other piece of this that I think is really important. And we might not get all the way through it, but I think the biggest thing is the little cocktail, I’ll call it, of shame and all the real human emotions you have and your resistance to them.

To me, yes, the money was the upper limit. And that is kind of one of the dominoes, but I think the lead domino is the resistance that you’ve been having to your very human and very real fears and emotions. And what’s so crazy is because, you said it right there, I wrote it down. You were like, I saw this stuff happen, my brain was like this is too good to be true, this is all of these things. And then immediately you were met with resistance.

And resistance, for anyone if you’re listening, obviously you are, but it’s like shoving those emotions down and keeping them there. And what happens is they actually get stronger. So it feels very counterintuitive and I think this is sometimes where coaching gets a bad rap, where it’s like toxic positivity or whatever, where we use coaching against ourselves by being like, we’re supposed to be like yippity-skippity and super excited and coach ourselves into feeling great all the time. When in reality, a huge part of the work is accepting the humaneness.

And that doesn’t go away when you are a coach. That doesn’t go away no matter how high of a level you have in mindset tools and the work you do. Your brain is wired to be human and humaneness is allowing space for those emotions. And so I think that’s the biggest thing here, are you allowing yourself to have space for all of those fears? And what are you doing when they show up?

Sydney: I think it’s hit or miss. Some days I am very gentle with myself and compassionate and spacious. And then I think when you said that, like what came up was something that happened yesterday. We went to church as a family and I had this very big download in church of like a message, like a divine message to me about what I’m supposed to be doing. And it was just basically like, show up.

And it made me very uncomfortable because I felt that calling, like there’s something big you’re supposed to be doing. Don’t hoard it, don’t take it away from other people because of your own almost selfish reasons, right, like at the end of the day. And it made me really uncomfortable and instead of letting it be what it was, I was resisting it because I was like, no, I just decided this is my rebuild year. I’m going all in. I’m not going to have these moments where a message like that messes with me.

And then I picked an enormous fight with my husband, yelled at my children, then I woke up this morning in guilt about the way that I had treated my family. I was just like, what the hell? What did you just do? And I think in listening to you, I’m like there was resistance. I was resisting that when I felt that big message in my heart, that it was like I didn’t want to sit with that discomfort.

So instead, I did a bunch of things that, you know, like I slept and I did a bunch of laundry. I just kept myself busy. But all the while I think, like you said, that feeling of discomfort was kind of bubbling over. And then I just found a reason to sort of bring myself back down. Instead of seeing that as like, yeah, there is something big that I’m supposed to be sharing. And I do have this calling and I am special in this way. And instead, it made me really uncomfortable so I knocked myself back down to size through a fight with my family.

Lindsey: Yeah, great awareness. And I think the other thing is not just resisting that, but resisting the discomfort that you felt with following that, I think is like the bigger piece of that.

Sydney: What do you mean by that?

Lindsey: So I’m guessing, it sounds like you had this idea or this download. And then when you thought about actually doing it, there was a lot of discomfort. You were like, no.

Sydney: Yes.

Lindsey: You faced the discomfort kind of like, I joke it’s like a football coach. They’re like, get it together, this is our rebuild year.

Sydney: Yes.

Lindsey: Instead of being like, of course, you’re uncomfortable. It’s really scary to trust in these big messages and in the bigger picture, than grind it out day to try to get this income back to where it needs to be. And I think this is the magic that’s going to shift things for you, and it’s going to be uncomfortable. And I hope you join the life membership because I know I can help you in there with this. But it’s going to be every time – You said you have kids.

Sydney: Mm-hmm.

Lindsey: When they’re scared, when they’re going to do something scary, when they’re uncomfortable, what do you do for them?

Sydney: Yeah, I just hold space with them and allow them to be uncomfortable and let them know they’re safe in that discomfort and we talk through it.

Lindsey: Yes. How do you think things will be different if you give yourself that every time?

Sydney: Well, I think I’ll put myself out there in the big way that I feel that push to do. And I’ll lead myself that way, which in turn will help my clients more because I’m doing it for myself first. And that’s what a coach does, I guess.

Lindsey: Yeah. Well, I think that’s the other piece of this. And I think the big thing is that I’m sure you cognitively know this, but it feels very counterintuitive to “give in” to those fears and emotions and allow them, but in reality, what it does is it creates that safety. And when you have that safety, then you feel like you could do anything, right?

But the other piece that I see popping up here a lot is you tell yourself, well, I’m a coach. I should know this. I should know better, like that kind of flavor.

Sydney: Yeah.

Lindsey: Which that compounds the resistance and the push through and like, we’re okay. And I’m just curious, how could it be true that because you’re a coach, you have all these problems and fears and discomfort?

Sydney: Oh my gosh, that’s one of those downloads that I get sometimes. This is for you. This is why you are good at what you do, because you can hold this, you can walk through this, and then you can teach it when it’s been processed.

Lindsey: Yes.

Sydney: And I think, again, from theory, I get that, but then it’s like – I mean, one of my lifelong patterns is perfectionism. So that perfectionism sneaks up on me a lot. Even though I’ve done a lot of work on it, it still rears its ugly head in that way of, “you’re supposed to be an authority and you’re not perfect at what you do.”

Lindsey: Well, I’ll point this out, too, because you said something interesting that you might not have picked up on. You said once I process it, then I can use it, which still is feeding the same story that you have to be “out of this humaneness” or have something valuable to say, instead of like all of it is the value.

Sydney: Yeah. Yeah, because I really have always had that rule for myself. Like I don’t share when the wound is open, I share when the wound is healing. And I always considered myself vulnerable because I’ll talk about anything, but I guess I’m actually not being vulnerable because I’m not sharing from a place of vulnerability. I’m sharing from a place of almost like just teaching the vulnerability.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Sydney: I’ve always thought that made me look really messy.

Lindsey: Yeah. What else, like what do you want to be true?

Sydney: Well, that’s what I’m holding space for and what I’m coaching my clients through. I coach my clients through that in a really deep way every single day. And I want to be in integrity, that is my number one value. And so if I’m telling them that they can show up in their lives as they are, then I have to show up in my life as I am. And my life looks like a public-facing life in a lot of ways.

Lindsey: Yeah, it’s uncomfortable.

Sydney: It’s uncomfortable. Yes, it is. And here come the tears, so I know that’s right. But it’s really interesting because I use that word a lot and I think I am an integrity because I do the work, but I’m doing it behind the scenes always and not necessarily being willing to talk about it because I think it devalues me if someone were to know about this.

Lindsey: Yes, instead of the opposite.

Sydney: Instead of the opposite, yeah.

Lindsey: And the last thing that I want to leave you with, and I think this is really an important message because I think sometimes in the coaching industry, it can feel very much like this is how it’s supposed to be, we have to be these examples. And like this is the point of coaching, it’s to feel good all the time or whatever. When in reality, the point of coaching is to help people be here fully for the human experience.

And a big portion of that is human emotions, like not just removing them completely. Have you seen the Barbie movie?

Sydney: Yeah.

Lindsey: Okay. So you know the part where she chooses to feel at the end? Like that’s it.

Sydney: Yeah.

Lindsey: That’s what we do as coaches. We are like, “Hey, you want to come over here and sign up for, yes, a mind blowing life that is so amazing it’s going to knock your socks off, but also playing so big with your heart and so fully that you care. I’m going to get teary eyed, like you care so much about life and you emotionally are totally there that sometimes it hurts and like having space for that.

Sydney: Yeah. So can I ask you one last question.

Lindsey: Of course.

Sydney: I’m having this thought that’s coming up right now, like how badly I wish I could rewind the clock to that moment on the bed when I was on vacation. How do I bring that forward to right now, instead of wishing away. Like I wish I could go back in time. But I can’t, I’m here.

Lindsey: Yeah.

Sydney: What’s the way to like, okay, but now you can, like from here forward?

Lindsey: Same thing though, this is your brain wanting to – It’s kind of another form of resistance. It’s like fix it instead of just having total compassion for it. Like love that this happened.

Sydney: Yeah. That’s tough.

Lindsey: Yeah, and think that this happened exactly the way that it was meant to.

Sydney: Yeah. Yeah, okay.

Lindsey: I love it. So good. Thank you so much for calling in, Sydney. I’m super excited to see you inside the membership, if you join, and just watch everything unfold.

Sydney: Thank you. Thanks, Lindsey, I appreciate your time.

Lindsey: Of course, I’ll talk to you soon.

If you want to call in to The Life Coach Hotline, go to https://lindseymango coaching.com/lifecoachhotline. Talk to you soon. Bye.

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