Why bother? I am not going to get anywhere anyway! This, in my interpretation, is resignation; the mood of giving up.
In much the same way as the customs dogs at the airport can sniff out banned substances with apparent ease, resignation can sniff out the very slightest hint of possibility in any situation. Unlike the customs dogs, however, it won’t sit and wag its tail politely to let you know that the possibilty is there. Rather, it will take that possibility and bury it in the backyard without a single trace, allowing us to give up very easily, because what else is left to do if there is no possibility anyway?
This is exactly how my last week has felt. I have had so many ideas for blog posts, books, programs and other projects that would enable me to really get my new business up and running and I have made progress with precisely none of them. Like, actual zero.
I was telling myself stories at first:
- You’ve had a busy couple of weeks. Have a rest.
- Now isn’t quite the right time to take that step.
- You won’t have time to get all of this done until after the long weekend anyway.
- What’s the hurry with writing the self-confidence program you have been working on? You haven’t got a marketing plan anyway!
- Get the idea of a career change out of your head because it won’t happen anyway.
And then it occurred to me that it wasn’t me who was telling the stories. Rather, my trusty friend resignation was visiting me completely unannounced and creating the stories for me.
That’s the thing with moods. They predispose us to particular actions and can therefore underpin everything that we do or don’t do. Resignation’s strength is in helping us to form stories about why something should not happen. Give resignation a possibility, and it will completely close it down.
One interpretation of resignation is that it occurs when we have assessed that there are possibilities and we are opposing that assessment. So, there is a possibility that I could develop a coaching business that adds significant value to others and helps to make a difference. However, by opposing that possibility, resignation can be created, and so the possibility is shut down.
The opposite to opposing is accepting. If we choose to accept the possibility, we can create a mood of ambition. Some people have a negative listening of the word “ambition” and I am one of them. However, when I mention ambition in the context of accepting possibilities, I mean the mood of hope, enthusiasm and the can-do attitude. I don’t mean aggressively fighting for the top of the ladder.
Because it shuts down possibilities, resignation sounds like a somewhat negative mood. However, my interpretation of moods and emotions is that they exist as signs that there is something within us that needs taking care of, which I think means that there will be times when resignation is useful. For example, if we are exhausted, then resignation may help us by stopping us from taking on more possibilities.
To be honest, I wonder whether my most recent encounter with resignation came from exhaustion. I have had a lot happening in my life, and I think that I became exhausted and then started shutting down possibilities to take care of that exhaustion.
There are times when resignation is not useful, even if it started out as useful. Like, for example, when you are trying to get traction in your newly created coaching business and it is stopping you from doing anything at all. In those cases, we may be better served to shift from the mood of resignation.
How Do We Shift From a Mood of Resignation?
Resignation is, I think, quite a difficult mood to shift from: How do we take action that opens us to the possibility of experiencing a different mood when the mood that we are currently in is shutting down possibilities? My personal assessment is “with great difficulty”, however below are some suggestions that may be useful (and that have worked for me):
- Remove self-judgement. You are experiencing a mood, which is perfectly normal. Don’t judge yourself. Instead, ask yourself what it is taking care of within you.
- Sit with the resignation, watching it and experiencing it, until you feel that you can more easily shift your mood (or it is ready to leave)
- Try to understand what it might be taking care of, and determine what is behind that concern and what other ways may be useful for taking care of it.
- Determine whether there is another mood that you are able to shift to (sometimes I can, and sometimes, I can’t. The trick, I think, is not to judge yourself if you can’t).
- Try focussing on your body and your breathing. What can you change that might help you to shift to another mood? (I find that slowing my breathing down and opening up my torso, often by lifting my shoulders and putting them back, can help me feel more able to shift from resignation if it doesn’t completely shift it).
- Are you exhausted? How would it help to take care of yourself and your body before trying to take action?
- Find one small action that you can take that will have you feeling as though you are making some progress, but isn’t big enough for the resignation to try to shut down. For example, when I was experiencing resignation recently, I chose to list out some possible topics for blog posts. I didn’t write the posts, however I did end up with a healthy list of topics. Once I had done that, it felt easier to take the next step.
For my most recent experience of resignation, I cut myself some slack. I allowed myself to deal with my exhaustion, and then I looked at what the smallest thing was that I could do to show myself that I was ready to take action. I Wrote out a list of blog posts, and then I googled lots of things that were relevant to my business and my blog. This may seem minor and I think it really was. However, it was big enough for me to feel as though I had achieved something, and small enough that I didn’t start trying to shut the possibility down. Once I took these small actions, I actually started to become curious about what to achieve, and my enthusiasm and drive started to follow.
My learning from this experience is that sometimes, when we say that we aren’t in the mood, it is quite possible that we really aren’t in the mood. Understanding that mood and understanding what it is taking care of for us can really help us to find a path forward.
Points to Ponder…
- Where might you have found yourself experiencing resignation recently?
- What is the resignation taking care of for you?
- What assessments of possibility are you opposing?
Who am I?
I am a leadership and life coach, available for coaching and facilitation services. If you feel that it would be useful to have a conversation with me, please feel free to view my services on the Leading and Being website.