Making friends with resistance

Why I resisted writing this article!

Resistance – we’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives and we’re most often aware of it when we are stepping out of our comfort zones, trying something new or making big changes in some area of our lives. Equally resistance can strike unexpectedly for things we do regularly.

I’ve been blogging, article and copy writing regularly for some years now and couldn’t understand why in the last few months I have found it so hard to write an article for the fabulous Women-Unlimited. Reading something in a personal development book recently prompted me to delve further and find a new way to overcome my resistance.

What is resistance?

In simple terms you could say that resistance is an internal battle going on between two conflicting parts, often with different values. One part (the proponent if you like) has a goal or an idea, something it wants to do, and the other part (the antagonist) isn’t so keen and is putting up a bit of fight, creating an internal tug of war.

If you imagine that these ‘parts’ are like members of a project team with different values, motivators and character traits and that if they don’t learn to understand each other and communicate effectively then it can have a big impact on achieving the ultimate goal.

I’m sure you know the scenario from office meetings – different personalities with different values and objectives all fighting to be heard. Well in order to make friends with your resistance you are going to imagine that these internal parts are characters in a meeting that you running!

Meet your resistance

Just who are the main characters in your drama?

I recommend you have a little fun with this and give these characters names and descriptions and really understand their values and character traits as well as their positive purpose.

In my own little drama I had two main characters:

Jenny Rebel – I started with the character that I considered the antagonist in this conflict and the image that appeared was that of the sulky rebel!

I immediately named her ‘Jenny Rebel’ as she reminded me of myself in my teenage years. She was sitting with arms folded, stamping her feet and with a very stubborn look on her face!

Jenny Rebel’s values are Independence, Freedom, Creative expression and determining her own path. She is also stubborn, hates asking for help, hates admitting defeat and afraid of not being good enough. Her highest purpose is freedom.

Proactive Polly – The second character in this drama; she’s the voice of inspiration, creativity and motivation and the one that gets things done!

Proactive Polly values courage, inspiring people, learning, Play & fun. She is also a bit flighty, a starter not a finisher and can be impatient to get things done.

Her highest purpose is inspiring confidence and courage in others.

This process may sound strange and a little elaborate, but often just by turning these conflicting parts into characters (and adding some humour), we can often detach ourselves from the emotional tug of war involved in resistance and take a fresh and objective view of what’s really going on.

What’s your purpose?

Often getting in touch with the highest purpose of your goal or task can in itself act as a motivator. For me, creating articles isn’t about the act of writing it’s about inspiring and educating other people and helping them to think and act differently in order to achieve their own goals.

It’s good to talk!

Now you know the characters in your drama it’s time for some productive dialogue and positive action

Bearing in mind what you already know about these characters and what’s important to them, your job is to mediate a constructive dialogue to get to the heart of the problem and find the best way forward. Whether you do this all in your head, write it down or get a friend to help, is up to you.

In my dialogue it transpired that Jenny Rebel was feeling a little insecure and that the old ‘it’s not good enough, people will hate it’ chatter was kicking in. Fortunately Proactive Polly is a great motivator and confidence builder and was able to find a way for them to achieve their goal. And here is the result!!


In case you got lost in my earlier ramblings, here’s a brief summary of how make friends with your resistance.

1. Identify the characters in your resistance drama – the Proponent, the one who has the goal or idea and the antagonist who has not yet embraced this idea and creating the resistance.

2. Understand these characters – their values, traits and highest purpose

3. Identify the highest purpose of the overall goal. This in itself can be a real motivator as it sets your mind on the ultimate result and its values.

4. Start a dialogue between the parts with you acting as mediator. How can the ultimate goal be reached with both parts being satisfied?

5. Baby Steps – often the antagonist can resist because the task seems too big and insurmountable, so it helps to break the goal down into small chunks and start with one or two baby steps. This means that the antagonist can see progress rather than fear or danger.

For me the first step was to mind-map my article subject which helped me structure all the information in my head. Then I moved my mind-map to the computer so that I could easily expand and re-structure it. Then I started making notes against each mind map heading and before I knew it I had the first (relatively) painless draft of my article.

Then I had a celebratory cuppa before going back to edit the draft.

Resistance – I love it!!

About Jenny

Jenny is passionate about giving small business owners the confidence and knowledge to market their businesses with courage, flair and creativity. As both a business coach and marketer, Jenny loves helping people to do the things they previously thought were too complex, scary or totally out of their comfort zones.

Jenny Littlejohn
Jenny Littlejohn

Jenny specialises in helping small business owners (especially service professionals) who are stuck, confused and frustrated with their marketing and business development efforts. Jenny helps her clients to define precisely who their clients are and how they buy in order to develop and implement an individually tailored marketing program that makes them stand out from the crowd and attract their ideal clients.I love blogging and writing articles as a way of sharing valuable knowledge and inspiring women to try think in new ways and try a different approach.

Be the change that you want to see. Step into your leadership.




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