#044: How to Overcome the Resistance [Podcast]

In this episode, I talk about how to overcome the Resistance. Steven Pressfield coined this phrase to describe that invisible, destructive force that opposes you any time you try to start a new project or make an improvement in any area of your life.


Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/mariusFM77

I spoke on this topic at the recent Platform Conference, and the response was tremendous. So I wanted to share some practical counter-measures for dealing with the Resistance in your own life and work.

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In order to deal with the Resistance, you have to first understand what it is. It has four attributes.

  • Attribute #1: It is invisible.
  • Attribute #2: It is internal.
  • Attribute #3: It is insidious.
  • Attribute #4: It is infallible.

But what can you do about it?

You can only defeat the Resistance by understanding its three primary strategies and applying appropriate countermeasures.

  • Strategy #1: Fear. The typical response to this strategy is procrastination.

    The countermeasure is to START.

  • Strategy #2: Uncertainty. The typical response is distraction.

    The countermeasure is to FOCUS.

  • Strategy #3: Doubt. This usually occurs at the end of a project, and the typical response is to quit and leave the work unfinished.

    The countermeasure is to FINISH.

Defeating the Resistance is essential to your growth, but more importantly it is essential to your transformation. Who you are becoming is more important than what you are doing.

Listener Questions

  1. Jeff Sanders asked, “How do you keep your own creativity from becoming another form of the Resistance?”
  2. Jen McDonough asked, “What kinds of outside things do you bring into your life to help fight the resistance?
  3. Joanna Holman asked, “How do you know what you are facing is Resistance rather than a sign that what you are doing is not the right thing for you or you are doing too much and need to back off?”
  4. Marc Schelske asked, “What has helped you to stop the cycle of perfectionism and get the product out the door?”
  5. Sue Detweiler asked, “What are ways that we personally create Resistance and sabotage our own progress?”
  6. Travis Dommert asked, “How does the Resistance work in the presence of a group?”

Special Announcements

  1. I want to remind you about my 21-session audio course, entitled “Get Published.”  It’s everything I learned about publishing in my thirty years in the publishing industry, most recently CEO of Thomas Nelson, a literary agent, and two-time New York Times bestselling author.

    If you’ve ever thought about writing a book but don’t know where to start, or if you already have a book but want to do everything you can to make the biggest splash you can in the marketplace, this course is for you.

  2. Platform University continues to do amazingly well. Yesterday, we posted a killer Master Class with Jeff Goins. It’s all about “Going Pro.”

    Jeff has just recently done this with his own platform. It is now supporting him full-time, and he explains in the class how he did it in only two years.

  3. In my next podcast, I’ll be taking you “Inside My Toolbox.” I’m going to share with you all the tools I use on a daily basis.

    If you have a question on this subject, please leave me a voicemail message. This is a terrific way to cross-promote YOUR blog or website, because I will link to it, just like I did with the callers in this episode.

Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

Show Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here, courtesy of Ginger Schell, a professional transcriptionist, who handles all my transcription needs.

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Question: How has the Resistance shown up in your life? What have you learned about it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great podcast, Michael. After listening, I picked up a copy of Pressfield’s book. The one thing that stood out was the concept of “Going Pro.” Those two words really resonated with me. I feel like my 8 years of blogging have been a good prep, but I need to take it to the next level. The resistance is so strong at the amateur level, that it makes it hard to move forward. There is an invisible wall that needs to be broken.

    As hard as I’ve tried over the last year, I haven’t been able to move the needle. When I think about it, I’ve been stuck in amateur status. In the real world, when things get tough, I still have to go to work, and I have to work through the problems. I have to bring in specialists and hire other professionals to help. I have to make it happen.

    Now I need to do this with my platform.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, John. I think you are onto something.

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  • Rik Stegehuis

    To me, resistance shows up mainly when thinking about or starting an important task or project. It’s the strongest the moment I must sit down to get started. Once that barrier has been crossed, the actual work is usually a breeze. Therefore, to move straight through any resistance, I keep reminding myself to just sit down and start doing something. Once I am doing that, it will start flowing quickly and I get into it, forgetting about time. I love when I get that feeling!

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  • http://brettcohrs.com Brett

    I’m in sales, so Resistance shows up in two ways:
    1. Prospecting: Am I doing the small things consistently to build my pipeline? the continual flow of books around the death of cold calling or the ‘ease’ of developing leads via social media feed the resistance (although I’m pretty confident in Sales 1.0 informed by research available via Sales 2.0 channels).
    2. Clarifying the projects I’ll work on: I have too many clients that produce too little revenue. I was a former minister, so I started in sales with an attitude to serve as many as possible equally. It sounds sweet, but at a certain point, it becomes unmanageable. Resistance prevents me from clarifying the size and types of accounts I’ll work on since the smaller ones tend to show up on my doorstep ready to go. That’s not a recipe for taking care of my family over the long haul.

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  • Nasri N. Stoner

    Hi Michael,

    thank you for the podcast. I really think it helps me understand my resistance to blogging as well. I keep getting distracted and sometimes my mind is just all over the place trying to make the post work and perfect. At the end, i spend so many hours trying to just blog out a post.

    I need to start focusing and realising my resistance. I also would want to try in the morning , 15 mins just keeping quiet method you mentioned.

    I’ve started using Evernote as a tool to help me store my ideas, Do you have any methods or ways that you follow about how to use Evernote in terms of blogging, how you develop your ideas from there on?

  • http://www.kellylangston.com/ Kelly Langston

    I could have cried listening to the Overcoming Resistance podcast. After my first (and only… so far!) book was published, things in life fell apart in many ways. I couldn’t understand it … it felt like I was literally being “wrung out.” I questioned if I should continue writing and came so close to quitting, even though I am confident that I am called to it.

    You said: “Resistance will unfailingly point to true north, meaning that calling or action it most wants us to stop from doing. If you’re experiencing Resistance, it’s likely an indication you are headed in the right direction.”

    Your words remind me of one of my favorite movie lines from “A League of Their Own.” Tom Hanks character says, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The “hard” is what makes it great.”

    Okay, I’m pressing on. Thank you.