What’s Your Default: Shame or Grandiosity?

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In my role as The SHIFT-IT Coach I have the honor of observing many different types of people up close in the sanctity of our coaching alliance. My clients hire me because they want a SHIFT … usually in the area of ‘right livelihood’ … either creating a solo professional practice of some sort or a related small-medium size business, or enhancing an already existing one (taking it to the next level). I also assist on life issues, like resolving family conflicts, relationship dilemmas and occasionally body, fitness and health concerns — as these more personal aspects are often connected to the business or lifestyle shift they desire.

As a Law of Attraction practitioner, I am most interested in a person’s underlying energy … as changing that is where the SHIFT lies. Usually my client has been thinking and feeling in habitual ways that don’t serve them any longer (may have at some point) and it’s my job to literally draw that out and assist them in thinking and feeling something different in its place … so they can get the different results they now want.

The Grandiose Entrepreneur:
Entrepreneurs (or wannabe entrepreneurs) are an interesting breed. They can either be the toughest people or the most vulnerable … and sometimes both! The true entrepreneurs (the one’s who have already successfully manifested to some level) have usually resolved some or most of their issues about success, authenticity, receiving, having, being wealthy, being strong, etc. (often back in their hard scrabble childhoods).

For them, their desired business expansion is a matter of degree. The task is to help them to acclimatize, and comfortably stretch to make a new level of manifestation and accomplishment feel normal and natural. They intuitively understand that process, having already experienced success, so it’s not that hard to help them manifest their next level. A bit of visioning and next order planning usually does the trick (unless we bump up against some unconscious upper limits trouble – sanctions about how success or wealthy they are ‘allowed’ to be, erroneous beliefs about their market or industry, or how skilled or organized they or their teams are to handle greater complexity).

However, while business and abundance is relatively easy for them, many successful entrepreneurs (both male and female) have challenges in their personal lives. The aptitudes and attitudes that business rewards them for do not transfer well into their personal lives. Often they are grandiose – believing very strongly in themselves to the point of feeling they are ‘better than’. Our coaching work is focused on helping them “come down” and cultivate trust, mutuality, connection and equality so the people around them aren’t in such pain. Help them properly and respectfully connect with other people especially their loved ones, close partners, collaborators and employees.

The Shame-Based Entrepreneur:
The other side of the self-esteem spectrum occurs in newer or wannabe entrepreneurs who haven’t yet resolved their first level of success, authenticity, receiving and abundance issues. These clients are either just new to the entrepreneurial game, or haven’t done well at it (or as well as they think they should have), or haven’t gotten out of the gate yet (i.e. stay in an unhappy employment position beyond the time to leave or allow another person to fully support them financially beyond a reasonable transition time).

The coaching work with these clients is focused around helping them ‘come up‘ so they find their strength, power, ability, self-esteem and parity with others. Just like the grandiose entrepreneurs, the shame-based entrepreneur’s struggles may originate all the way back in childhood – but unlike their more successful counterparts they did not find their core strength and innate ability to look after themselves and therefore are still working on it in adulthood.

Coaching work at this stage centers on visioning, planning and often teaching/educating about business basics. Wannabe or new entrepreneurs often have inspiration and ideas about what they want to do but just haven’t done their due diligence on researching their ideas, creating biz plans and learning about natural steps and stages of what they want to do. Once they galvanize their good idea, get appropriate education, and take practical action their confidence increases and they are off and running.

If the client’s idea is not a good one and won’t support them (or anybody!) or is premature, then the coaching work is around switching gears to another inspiration or creating the conditions to foster the needed development time. If the latter, it is imperative that they foster a GOOD AND STABLE ATTITUDE and continue to TAKE ACTION throughout their incubation process. Getting a solo practice or business off the ground takes time, resources and lots of emotional maturity with realistic expectations. Some clients are too quick to throw in the towel or allow their vulnerable emotions (connected to leftover childhood and maturity issues) to take them down. (FYI, see the last two issues on Orphan Rescue).

Which Do You Do?
FYI, it is not unusual on the entrepreneurial path to switch back and forth between low self-esteem and grandiosity … especially if you are a person who bases your worth upon outside conditions rather than a stable and balanced sense of self.

Equipped with the understanding of grandiosity and shame that I have quickly outlined in this article … where do you think/feel you spend the majority of your time? I invite you to watch yourself the next while and catch yourself when you are ‘one up’ or ‘one down’. And, pull yourself either down in equality with others (if you are grandiose) or up in equality with others (if you are shame-based).

Recommended Resource:
A wonderful resource for learning more about grandiosity and shame and how it plays out within individuals and between couples, families, business colleagues and the like is the relational work of therapist Terry Real. I highly recommend his books/CDs and attending his online and in-person workshops. In closing, here are a few affirmations that Terry recommends for bringing yourself into balance:

“Each person has inherent worth. No one is less than. No one is more than.”

“I am enough, and I matter despite my human flaws and imperfections”.

Or, you can be more specific:

“I am enough, and I matter despite losing my temper with my child”.

“I am enough, and I matter despite getting poor reviews on my last presentation”.

(adapt to your particular situation).

©2011 Christina L. Merkley

You can, as long as you include this blurb and a functional link to my site:
Christina Merkley, “The SHIFT-IT Coach” and creator of the SHIFT-IT System®, is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Visual Thinking and Law of Attraction techniques. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and conscious businesses to define and manifest what they truly want. And, trains other helping professionals in her innovative ways of working. For more information visit: www.shift-it-coach.com

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