Shine Light on Your Professional Shadow

On The Essentialness of Personal Work as a Healer-Type
By Lesley Glenner

“Your Kalyana-mitra, your noble friend, will not accept pretension, but will gently and very firmly confront you with your own blindness.” —John O’Donohue

Come out of the darkness

Have you ever tried to fill a therapy group and failed? The flyer looked great and your offering was truly valuable but nobody signed up and the interest you fielded was not a great fit.
Have you ever invited your community to an event and felt underwhelmed by the turnout? You ended up feeling disenchanted and if you’re honest feeling a bit embarrassed.
Ever find yourself encountering clients over and over again that lack the funds to pay for your service? You are perplexed and find yourself, despite yourself,  doubting your value.
Ever feel like your peers are surpassing you in business for no apparent reason? You notice a quiet yet familiar feeling of stickiness and maybe a tinge of jealousy.
Ever felt like you’re pouring your heart and soul into your work but at the end of the day your checking account balance is embarrassing and you’re feeling scared and hopeless? You believe that its only a matter of time before you need to retire early from being a business owner and find a ‘real job’.

Imagine if…
What if you could see yourself clearer and offer yourself the precise feedback that would right the course of your path in your healing arts business?
What if you could get honest, skillful feedback about the way you are operating your business?
What if you could remove the blocks preventing you from fully “being you” while marketing your services?
What if you had hope restored that you could be fully in alignment and have a very successful holistic livelihood at the same time?

To achieve the above its essential that you take a long, hard look in the mirror and get to know your professional shadow. Our professional shadow is the place where we are not quite aware of what we are creating for ourselves and presenting to others in work and our businesses-  it’s our professional unconscious- the blind spot in our vision of our professional selves brought about by the coping mechanisms we acquired from our unhealed micro-injuries and traumas that occur in our professional or personal lives.

And, it’s the place where we believe we’ll have to do things in a way that doesn’t feel good, and that doesn’t feel true to ourselves, in order to succeed.

We all have blind spots, none of us can see ourselves in 360 degrees, we aren’t meant to. But sadly, when we aren’t fully aware of our unconscious ‘stuff’ or of where we are operating from and subsequently what we are projecting to others; our shadow ends up running the show. For example, we may not realize that we are coming across to others as unfriendly or aloof when what is happening inside is insecurity or a feeling of not belonging.

Our shadow was created for a good reason. It’s an attempt to protect us from mistakes of the past, its an attempt to shove away a part of ourselves that was deemed unwelcome either by ourselves or those we felt close to. Our shadow develops over time and always comes from relational injuries. Our shadow results from the hurt, rejection, shame, fear, isolation, unwelcomeness, etc. that we all experience at some point in the course of life. Perhaps in the past you found yourself feeling needy and helpless and when you expressed your need through tears and whining your father shamed you for being a baby. Instead of learning to express your needs in a way he could help- you learned to not have needs.

Unfortunately, our shadow, despite our intentions, ends up often sabotaging us in the now.

Avoid self-sabotage
Sadly many, if not most,  business coaching programs neglect this essential area of personal/ professional development. From what we’ve seen, few online classes or marketing workshops address these highly personal hidden agendas that are lurking below the surface. And consequently its the newly minted coaches, therapists, bodyworkers, healers, etc. who pay a great price.

Fortunately for many of us strong ethical boundaries come intuitively. As healer-types we almost instinctively know how to hold space for others but as we encounter more and more clients and offer higher and higher levels of support invariably we will meet our relational edges and need to work on ourselves skillfully. For example, have you ever received a facial where the esthetician talked about herself and her problems the entire time? Or have you ever felt like your massage therapist could really hold you where you are because of some unmet parts of themselves? These are how our unprocessed stuff shows up to our clients- not super cute, right?

Usually this undone work shows up more on the backend of our businesses, allowing us to save face but preventing us from really gaining traction. We soldier on bravely by forcing out more marketing content or executing prescribed business formulas which ultimately can’t help us much when we are being held back by something much deeper- our old stories and unconscious beliefs.

Recognize how the shadow operates
Our professional shadow, or our unexamined wounding, often lurks behind us as we make marketing or money decisions. When this happens, decisions and actions stem from past experiences rather than current circumstances. Invariably, we suffer the consequences.

Where are you facing resistance in business? It’s easy for holopreneurs to get stuck or frustrated — particularly if we are working hard to make progress and feel judged (mostly by ourselves) or by our friends and family while progress stalls.

If you find yourself facing the same kinds of barriers time and again, that’s a red flag that it might be time to get a “reality check” on your professional shadow. And if you feel stuck and like you can’t make progress, or the progress that you want, it’s time to explore the blockages that are there.

Get professional support and peer feedback
In HoloBeing’s Fellowship Circles, practitioners come face-to-face with their professional shadow, in community, by design. Breakthroughs often stem from this uncomfortable yet essential work. Techniques include guided inquiry, journaling, and specific shadow work during facilitated group meetings.

Sharing our journey helps us create a conscious, coherent business platform based on our own truth. Skilled facilitation and group feedback provides more accurate reflection and helps shift the momentum. Together, we shed light on what’s operating below the surface and creating less than optimal results. Ancient relational knowledge tells us that just as we are injured in relationship, we heal in relationship. Its vulnerable work to be seen in our wounding but if you get through the yuck, liberation awaits.

Get clear
Your professional shadow is one of the most underrated factors in your success as a business owner. Don’t let past experiences establish your current and future trajectory.

Your ability to see yourself clearly requires knowing the difference between your wounds and your truth. We can help, it’s our job and we’ve been doing this for holistic business owners at all phasesfor 6+ years. Every single one of our circle members over these years has grown in their business, their income and in their personal path while being in our year-long (and cost-effective) program.

Discover yourblind spots
For the sake of your clients and yourself commit to doing your personal work. We can help. You can learn more about the Fellowship Circles and apply to join us here.

In (Ever-Evolving) Wholeness,


Lesley Glenner is a Psychotherapist, Holistic Business Coach and HoloBeing Founder.

Click here to read more about Lesley.

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