Four Ways To Win Your Battle With Resistance


Listen to the full podcast episode to learn about the science-backed practice that has not only changed my life but also the lives of countless people over the last two decades. This is something you can’t ignore if you want to achieve that great goal you identified for this year and write your new future.

Understanding Resistance

Have you ever been super inspired by an idea and set out to create it with passion, only to find yourself confused when you can’t seem to move it forward?  Maybe it’s a new habit you want implemented or a masterpiece you know you are meant to build. Whatever it is, when you sit down, maybe you take a call that comes in or you decide to respond to one or two important emails, or maybe you return a text regarding the kids’ carpool tonight.  Then you say, “I’ll get to that later or maybe tomorrow.” What’s just happened?  You were battle-rammed by Resistance.  

Resistance is that feeling of not wanting to do something that you know is good for you or that you decided previously you should do, but that you don’t do for one of a million reasons.  It’s the purpose-driven, passionate leader’s biggest saboteur! That’s why today we’re taking it on. In this episode you are going to get several ways to win the battle against resistance when it strikes — and it will.  It’s inevitable. As someone who is here to crack open your highest levels of contribution, happiness, and impact, there is nothing more important than knowing what to do when resistance wages a fight against your creativity and best work.  

An Example of Resistance in Action

Let’s say you are finally set up to move forward with your most important work. Maybe it’s connecting with some people you’ve had on your list about a new opportunity or a milestone you’ve set for yourself, like an article or book you’re writing, maybe it’s even a leadership meeting you want to prepare for! Whatever it is, you get ready to move on it, but you get distracted by a quick call or checking social media, and then you say, “I’ll get to it later.” 

Whatever the reason for the resistance, it all ultimately comes down to the chattering, multi-tasking brain that distracts us and takes our attention in a new direction. 

Resistance is the force behind procrastination, distractions, and excuses; it derails your progress and leaves you wondering, “What’s wrong with me?”

Here’s the thing. There’s nothing wrong with you.  The brain is doing what it is meant to do — keep you from harm. You can see it’s point. Inventing a new future is potentially harmful, but your greatest work lies in your ability to win against this foe. 

Resistance is something that I have struggled with all my life. Most people do but they don’t notice or won’t acknowledge it, so they aren’t even aware it’s happening. We don’t realize that we have these invisible factors, and we put blame onto things — inaccurately diagnosing the problem when really, it’s resistance. 

When you recognize resistance for what it is, you’re better equipped to deal with it. Instead of blaming external factors, you can address the battle that’s taking place inside.

Why It’s Important to Overcome Resistance

A lot of times we don’t even realize that we are giving into the resistance. We don’t acknowledge that we have allowed it to beat us. But as hard as it may be to admit, we do just that, and like many other smart, extraordinary people, too often we get hijacked by it.

The reason it’s so important to know how to overcome it is because it is responsible for sabotaging and holding back so many lives, countless masterpieces, and important work — and your important work cannot be sacrificed. 

You probably know that my joy and the reason I am here is to crack you open to your highest levels of service, happiness, and impact. As a leader, I suspect there’s some part of you that enjoys doing that, too. You want to serve others at your best so that you help others to do the same. Your ability to do battle with resistance and not allow it to get in the way of innovative ideas and five-star problem-solving relies on your ability to acknowledge resistance when it shows itself and move beyond it.

Key Insights About Resistance

So there are a few things you must know about resistance before I provide you with a few of my favorite ways to overcome it. The interesting thing is that no timer, app, book, or other hack will fix the problem of resistance because it is that insidious. It’s a cunning beast and it will do anything to keep you from your most important work!

Here are some key insights about resistance:

  1. Inevitability: Resistance is wired into our nature. It’s bound to show up, so don’t be surprised when it does.
  2. Indestructible: You can’t eliminate resistance; it always returns. Your best strategy is to recognize it and know you have a choice.
  3. Impersonal: Resistance isn’t a judgment of your worthiness or abilities. Its only job is to distract you and keep you from moving forward with your creativity and change. No need for blame and shame. Resistance is completely impersonal.
  4. Separate from You: Remember, you are not resistance, and resistance is not you. Name it what it is and separate yourself from it. If you identify with it, you will be sunk.

Unless we have a firm grasp of these characteristics, we will fall into a long arduous journey with Resistance.  

Ways to Combat Resistance

Now, let’s equip you with five powerful mindset shifts, what I call, “scripts to flip,” to confront resistance head-on. These are exactly what it will take to bring forth your life-changing work, leadership, and life.

1. Get Approval from the Inside: Recognize that your self-worth doesn’t depend on external validation. Your “approval cup” is already full. It’s Divinely filled and overflowing.  It’s when we loan it out and believe it’s getting filled from the outside that get into trouble and resistance sneaks in.

When we acknowledge that there is no cup of approval that needs to come from outside, there’s nothing that another person has to say to you, hand to you, or acknowledge you in order for you to already have your cup of approval filled, Resistance’s power starts to disintegrate. What will happen is that you will be able to make a choice in the moment with this flip of the script, with this clarity of mindset, to get back into your most important work. It’s very subtle, but most of us don’t realize that a lot of times what’s keeping us from moving forward on a very deep level is some fear that we won’t be approved, that the work that we’re doing won’t get the acknowledgment we want.

2. Don’t Avoid Failure, Embrace It: Accept that failure is part of the journey, and accept it in advance! The sooner you openly acknowledge that you might fail, the sooner you will move through Resistance and its emotional hold will drop.  Failing quickly and failing often on a smaller scale will help you get to where you want to go faster by learning what doesn’t work. Failure is not personal. Feel the emotion but move on. Try this for yourself next time you resist sitting down to do some important work or to make that call.  Just say, “I’m open to failing. I’m open to failing on this.” Notice the battle is lifted.  You can’t fight without two in the fight.

3. Shift to a Service Mindset: This is something I learned from Gabby Bernstein that has helped me get out of a morning battle with Resistance on more than one occasion. Repeat the affirmation, “I am here to be truly helpful.” Remember, your leadership role is about serving others. When you focus on helping, resistance loses its grip. Remember that you are in a position of leadership not to achieve for yourself but for the greater good — to serve others. Nothing gets me off the sidelines faster than responding to help someone. When I remind myself that I am here to be truly helpful, my mind moves from overthinking and controlling circumstances to wondering how I can elevate the person in front of me.

Stop asking how good you are and start helping people. Do it in good faith and that will work. If you’ve ever been on a sailboat, you get on without seeing the wind that is going to take you. You have blind faith that it is there and it will move the boat. It’s the same thing working for others in good faith.

Consider this quote from Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

If you have something that can help a friend, share it. Remember that you are in a position of leadership for the greater good — to serve others.

I recently heard it said that you don’t go to a party to have fun, you go to BE the fun.  What this means is don’t go to get something — go to add to it. It can be easy to attend meetings and conferences with the intention to take something from the experience, but when you go with a mindset that I am going to contribute something — you will find the rewards are far greater. 

Think about what you can bring. Own that you do have something to bring. Then, bring it!  Wanting more for others than you do for yourself is the best way to get out of your way and move beyond Resistance. Know why you do what you do. Having it written down so that you can read it in your moments when you face Resistance, will certainly help you get on your way again.

4. Don’t Think, Act: Steven Pressfield wrote an amazing book entitled Do the Work. It’s for anyone who wants to create or innovate anything, whether an artist, entrepreneur, visionary, or leader. His point is our last script, don’t think — act!

Pressfield recommends staying stupid. He says the three dumbest guys were Charles Lindbergh, Steve Jobs, and Winston Churchill. Why? Because any smart person who knew how impossible the tasks they had set before themselves would never have begun. So how do you do that? Don’t overthink. Act. When you are in the belly of resistance, keep going. Go like you’re in the ocean pursued by a relentless whale! Keep swimming.

Nobody climbed Mt. Everest one day after getting the idea. They started small and took one small step.  And then the next. Resistance will make sure you see the giant elephant you want to eat in front of you. Take the next smallest action if you must, but just act. 

Individuals overcome and create big things by a series of small steps. Ask yourself, what is the one smallest thing I am willing to do? Maybe it’s to sit and write for ten minutes. Maybe it’s to open the Google Doc file. Maybe it’s to simply look up the telephone number of the contact you want to make. Whatever it is, take the smallest next action. 

Now, let’s break down these mindset shifts into actionable steps:

  1. Internal Approval: Remind yourself daily that you don’t need external validation. Your worth is intrinsic. Your Cup of Approval is Divinely filled. 
  2. Embrace Failure: Be open to the possibility of failure. It’s a stepping stone to success. Say, “I am open to failing” to release the emotional hold.
  3. Service Mindset: Shift your focus from self-doubt to helping others. Say out loud, “I am here to be truly helpful.” 
  4. Don’t Overthink. Take Action: When resistance strikes, act immediately, even if it’s a small step. Don’t overthink; just do it.

You Have the Power to Beat Resistance

You have the power to create momentous change around you. When you take back your power from Resistance and remember that there is nothing in your circumstances (not your bank account, the people who are not showing up on your team like you want, or that hairy situation that just revealed itself) that is holding you back — it’s your internal resistance who is the enemy! 

And now you know how to move your attention and energy in the right direction. Make these mindset shifts and take these actionable steps daily, make them your routine, and you’ll enjoy greater flow and success in all you do.  

Your call to action is to acknowledge when you’ve slowed down and resistance is in the room. And then to do battle with it. Use your tips and tools to move forward and go forward at your best level of leadership.

We have a lot of new things on the horizon so that you can get more of the time, success, and well-being into your life and leadership. To guarantee you aren’t missing any of our tips, tools, and inspiration, be sure to sign up at to receive notification of when a new episode is released as well as additional items I haven’t shared in the podcast! 

Remember, a half version of you is not enough, the world needs the full you in play!

In this episode, I share:

  • What is resistance?
  • Recognizing resistance
  • Why as purpose-driven leaders we must overcome resistance
  • Key insights about resistance
  • How to beat resistance with actionable steps

Resources and related episodes:

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts for more tips, tools, and inspiration to lead the optimal vision of your life, love, and leadership. Remember, a half version of you is not enough. The world needs the fullest version of you at play.

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About Rita Hyland

With over 20 years of experience as an executive and leadership coach, Rita helps leaders — emerging and established — excel in corporate and entrepreneurial environments.

Rita believes if leaders were more clear about how transformation really works and more intentional about creating what they want, their impact, success, and influence in the world would be unstoppable.

Through her coaching programs, private coaching, and masterminds, Rita shows leaders how to win consistently and create the impact and legacy they desire.

Central to Rita’s work is the understanding that you will never outperform your current programming, no matter how strong your willpower.

When you learn to use Rita’s proprietary Neuroleadership Growth Code, a technology that uses the best of neuroscience and transformational psychology to hit the brain’s buttons for change, YOU become both the solution and the strategy.

Her mission is to end talented, hard-working, and self-aware leaders spending another day stuck in self-doubt or confusion and not contributing their brilliant work and talent the world so desperately needs.

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