Here are 5 key takeaways from this article:
- The “work harder” mindset can lead to burnout, stress, and overwhelm, which can actually limit your income potential.
- Pushing yourself too hard activates a “scarcity mindset”, when abundance should flow easily.
- The more wound up and stressed you get, the less access you have to creativity and resources needed to make more money.
- Your subconscious mind will resist you making more money if it links higher earnings to chronic stress.
- To increase income joyfully, you must create from a place of relaxation, pleasure and ease rather than force and tension.
Have you ever thought to yourself, if I could just work harder, I could make this work. I could make my business work, I could meet my income goals. I could, you know, be successful as I want to be.
I just need to squeeze more hours in the day. Just need to squeeze more work out of my tired bones. I’m sure you have.
I know I sure have. Most high achievers have. This is what I like to call the work hard cycle or the work hard myth.
And it’s something that so many of us buy into because it’s something that our culture has indoctrinated us with. It’s indoctrinated us with this idea that to be successful, to be productive, to make more money, you just got to work harder. There’s a book actually called The Ten Times Effect or something like that.
And the book basically says, to be successful, just work ten times more than everybody else. And it’s like, yeah, yes, polls, that will work. But it ends up causing burnout, stress, overwhelm.
And what happens when we feel burnout, stress and overwhelm? Well, we stop working. We feel like we can’t do anymore. We feel like our business is hard and making money is hard.
And what happens then is then we get stuck at our income level. We have inconsistent income months. We don’t meet our goals.
We sit on the couch and watch Netflix and eat ice cream because we just can’t deal with another thing to do on our to do list. And yet, so many of us who are high achievers who’ve done a lot of things in our life ticked all the boxes. We’ve got credentials, education.
We’ve set out and done everything we’ve put our minds to. We come from this mindset. It’s totally understandable.
In fact, it’s probably resulted in you achieving a lot of the things that you’ve wanted to achieve in your life. It’s resulted in a lot of success. I mean, I know it has.
For me, it’s how I got my PhD, for example, is I remember when I was on my internship getting my PhD in psychology, and I’d work a full day with clients, 35 clients a week. And I would get up and work for 3 hours before my work day on my dissertation so that I could finish my dissertation at the same time as I was finishing my internship and graduate on time and all of this stuff. And it was just insane.
And I remember that year getting so sick over and over and over again. My body was screaming at me, oh my God, woman, you are doing too much. You are stressed out.
This is just not right. But my mind said, do more. You can do more.
You can do it. Go. Go.
Because that’s the narrative that we’re all taught in our culture. Do more. Do more.
Push harder. Hustle. But what if this is exactly what ends up holding us back when we step into the new paradigm of entrepreneurship? When we step into entrepreneurship? And we’re the ones who are driving the bus.
We’re the ones who are the only one holding the whip, so to speak, saying you’ve got to finish by this time or that time. What if this acts against our best interests and it actually ends up limiting our potential to make more income and to be more successful and to create the thing that we truly want to create, which is a business? That gives us more freedom, a business that gives us more fulfillment, a business that gives us more happiness. A business that feels really good.
How can we possibly have a business that has all of those things if we’re creating from a place of pressure, of overwhelm, of push, of stress? We can’t and ultimately this I got to work harder feeling plays into that whole cycle of feeling overwhelmed and stressed. But there is another way. There is another way to go about this.
So as I was saying, for some reason, this probably isn’t working for you anymore. You’ve probably had a lot of success in the past with working harder and achieving your goals and getting what you want and accomplishing what you set out to accomplish. And it’s just not working the way it used to.
And in fact, you find that the harder you push, the more it ends up sort of backfiring on you. This is because that working harder and doing more becomes the problem. It actually becomes a stressor.
It actually can, in some ways, become like a trauma, which I know might sound kind of weird to say, like, working harder can become a trauma. But when we push ourselves and push ourselves, what we’re doing is we’re essentially coming from a place that says what I’m doing and who I am and how I’m showing up isn’t good enough. I have to do more in order to have more, in order to be more.
This ultimately can come from a place of shame. This ultimately can come from a place of I’m not worthy of exactly what I want right now as I am. I have to be more.
I have to try harder. I have to be a different kind of a person in order to have what I want. Which means part of you is making who you are right now wrong.
Is making who you are right now a problem. Part of you isn’t saying, my authentic self. When she’s shining and in her best form, things just flow, and things are just unfolding and the opportunities are showing up because she’s relaxed and her business feels really good.
Instead. It’s like I was saying before, you take out that whip and you feel like, whip myself into shape. I have to push myself into success.
I have to urge myself into making more money. I have to work longer hours. I have to do more reach outs.
I have to talk to more people. I have to do all of the things. You can feel the difference in the energy and that’s what’s going on inside of you.
So the thing is, when everything comes down to you and how hard you work, what happens is eventually you reach a point of exhaustion when you think, I literally cannot squeeze more hours in the day. I am so busy, I have so much stuff to do. I cannot work longer hours, I cannot do more.
Does that sound like you? Do you recognize yourself in that? I mean, like I said, I get it. I’m totally a high achiever and I do this myself. And this is why I know so much about this is us high achievers.
This is the playbook we play out of until we learn how to shift it. I actually found myself doing this this past weekend. It was Thanksgiving weekend in the States.
I’m in Australia, and I like to throw on a little Thanksgiving dinner for my family. And it was nice. I took four days off know, did a puzzle and watched some movies.
But the first day I was really uncomfortable. I found myself standing up, cleaning the kitchen, looking at, oh, maybe I should vacuum. Oh, I don’t know.
Is there something I should be doing right now? And I started to feel this certain level of anxiety about not doing anything. I felt as though there were boxes to tick, my checklist should be checked off and my to do list and where’s my to do list and I should be doing something. And I watched myself in this feeling of anxiety, of needing to have some kind of activity to keep myself busy.
It’s not even to keep myself busy just because this is how I am used to operating, is this busy and doing energy. And I stepped back and I said, you are playing into the work harder, Myth. You are even thinking on your first day of vacation that there has to be something that you can do, because that is how you are worthy and good in your life is by doing things.
And I watched myself do it. And I said to myself, nah, that worthiness always exists. That worthiness is always there.
And I felt my shoulders relax and my body relaxed. And that’s when I sat down and did a puzzle for a few hours. And I started to enjoy my time, and I started to just stop doing and start being.
It’s never about being perfect. It’s about observing ourselves in these moments when we play into these old roles and in these old habits and shifting in those moments and choosing a new path and being open to the feedback available to us. Like the feedback of me feeling that little edge of anxiety that I should be doing more again.
Have you seen yourself do this another way? I like to label this is what I call productive procrastination. When you’re busy in your business and you’re feeling stressed about something and you procrastinate by cleaning the house because you still feel like you should be doing something. So you clean your house thinking that, well, at least I’m doing something.
But really you’re procrastinating. But that’s a topic for a whole other podcast. Today we’re talking about this work harder myth and how this actually plays against our ability to generate more income.
So what happens? Let me walk you through the cycle. This is what happens. So you wake up one morning, you look at your bank account and you feel like you’re not meeting your income goals.
You look at your goal for the month and you’re like, crap, I’m not meeting my goals for this month. So you end up starting to tell yourself things like, I just got to suck it up. I just got to work harder.
I’ve got to apply myself. I’m going to wake up early tomorrow and I’m going to get all this stuff done and I’m going to send out like five emails and I’m going to write a blog post and do all the social media and all this stuff. And you make yourself a big to do list and I’m going to get it all done and I’m going to shoot it to the moon.
And you know, you’re a smart woman and you can make things happen as long as you apply yourself, as long as you sit down and get shit done, right? So you get shit done and you sit down and you plow through your to do list and maybe you even put more things on there because there’s more things that you feel like, oh, if I just do these things, then the thing will happen. And then the thing will happen. And I just got to do more.
I just got to do more and then I’ll make my income goal and it’ll happen for me. The problem is this is actually a scarcity mindset. Yes, this is a scarcity mindset, not an abundance mindset, because it’s basically saying that unlimited abundance is not available to you at all times and you have to do more in order to be worthy of abundance and wealth and increased income.
And you can’t just allow it to happen. I’m not saying you don’t take action, but I’m just saying you have to push in order to make it happen. Have you ever noticed this before, that the more you push, the less likely it is things are to happen for you? I’m thinking back to myself, like when I was like 18 years old and I’d like a guy or something, and I would push and be like and be sort of like clingy or whatever.
And that would totally repel the person that’s sort of that energy that like the more you push, the further away the things go that you really want. This idea that we have to force and push our way to abundance is the exact opposite of what actually creates abundance. We need to magnetize and become the bonfire for abundance and for more income and for more success.
So what I mean by that is I talk with my clients a lot about being the bonfire. When you light a bonfire in the middle of a forest or in the middle of a fire ring, we don’t want to have dangerous fires. What happens is everyone gathers from all around and people are drawn to the bonfire, right? The bonfire doesn’t wander around the forest going, hey, you guys, do you want to see my light? It stands in its strength, it stands in the middle, it stands in the center, and it attracts everything to it.
Someone with a torch on the other hand, or someone with a fire in their hand might be seeking through the forest looking for other people saying, do you see my light? Look, let’s follow the light. It’s a different kind of energy. We want to be the bonfire in our business.
We want to be the bonfire energetically. We want to draw and magnetize, abundance, clients, success, relationships, ease, fun, all of these things to us, instead of feeling like it’s only through efforting, through doing, through forcing, through pushing, through hustling, through tension, that we can achieve these things. So let’s boil it down even further of how this pattern happens, right? So when we have this belief that we have to work harder, that we have to push, that we have to effort our way to abundance, our subconscious mind that part of our brain that operates outside of our awareness hears, well, you have to work harder to make more money, that you should have to work harder.
And so then of course you do. But what happens? The harder and harder you work, the more exhausted you get. The more stressed you get, the more tense you get, the more wound up you get.
You get that anxious feeling that I was describing earlier on Thanksgiving where it feels like, I just got to do another thing. I just got to do another thing. It’s sort of like the spring gets tighter and tighter and it gets worn tight, tightly and tightly wound until you start to feel burned out.
You start to feel exhausted and you start to feel overwhelmed. And that’s when you say to yourself, I just can’t work any harder than this. And maybe you break down.
Maybe you’re sitting at your desk, you put your hands to your hand and you go, man, just can’t do anymore. And your subconscious mind hears you saying, I can’t make anymore. I cannot make any more money.
Because your belief system has equated, has made making more money contingent or reliant upon working more, working more hours. You have to be able to unhinge these things. Otherwise it will always require that you work yourself to the bone in order to make more money, that you work yourself to the point of exhaustion, that you feel tense, that this stress comes up.
And as long as this stress is coming up, as long as this exhaustion, this overwhelm is contingent is going to happen. When you think about making more money because you are pushing yourself, your subconscious mind is going to hold you back from making more money because it doesn’t want you to be in this stress cycle. This stress cycle actually feels dangerous to your nervous system.
It feels as though it’s a threat. And neuroscience actually shows that your brain shuts down the more and more stress you get. So as you get stressed, as you think you’re running from a lion, because that’s what your primal brain thinks.
When you’re stressed, even though you’re not running from a lion, it’s just you need to work harder to meet your income goals but thinks you’re running from a lion. And so when it thinks you’re running from a lion, it mobilizes all of your resources to run. To run, which means it takes the blood away from your brain, which basically makes it so that you do not have access to your resources for creativity, for intuition, for finding opportunities, for problem solving, for new ideas.
All of the things that ultimately actually lead you to making more money and creating more income become unavailable to you the more stressed and more tightly wound you become. And this is why feeling more relaxed and at ease and joyful and fulfilled and pleasurable and nourished, as you create your badass income goals, as you reach that next level, as you become more successful, is essential because otherwise your subconscious mind is going to trip you up every single time. And so then you don’t meet your income goals.
And then what happens? The same cycle spins up the next month. You just figure, I’ve just got to buckle down. I’ve just got to try harder.
I’ve just got to get really regimented about my schedule, get up earlier, and I’ll make it happen. And then the cycle starts all over again. You’ve got to step out of the cycle in order to make things different, in order to feel as though you can have the income that you want and that it’s actually safe for your nervous.
Your nervous system says, this is safe to create. Your subconscious mind goes, hell yeah, this is safe to create. And it backs you up and it actually creates all of these opportunities that you didn’t know were there because you’re in that relaxed place that sees all of those opportunities.
So how can you tell if this is one of the patterns that you’re in? How you feel when you look at your finances will tell you everything. If it brings up stress, then part of you doesn’t believe that you can create more money, more income, more success in your business with ease. You feel as though it’s going to be stressful because otherwise it wouldn’t feel stressful when you thought about it, wouldn’t feel stressful.
When you look at your bank account, you’d feel okay about it. You’d feel confident in your ability to create more. And so this is why we really have to be able to shift our beliefs, shift our beliefs around this work harder myth.
I mean, think about it for a moment. Are there people who work hard and make money? Yeah, there are. Are there people who work hard and don’t make a lot of money? Yeah, there’s a shitload.
There’s a shitload of people who work really freaking hard but don’t make a lot of money or never see a high degree of success. There’s also a lot of people who don’t work very hard and make a lot of money. So there’s people who show you all the time that this is not a rule, this is not like the truth, that you must work hard to make a lot of money, and yet probably somewhere in your subconscious mind, there’s a limiting belief that says you got to work hard to make money.
Maybe you heard your parents say it. Maybe you watched your parents do it. I know that that was one of the things that I saw growing up.
My mom was a very hard worker, and she would make it so heroic that she was working 100 hours a week. I’m working 100 hours a week. I’m really fabulous.
I’m really awesome. And so it seemed like it was a badge of honor to work really, really hard, and that gave you success, because my mother was very successful at what she was doing. Working hard resulted in a lot of success for her.
And so that was the little rule that I set up in my mind that then became a limit to my own ability to create success, wealth and abundance until I overcame it and until I confronted it. And this is why you need to do the same. And you need to dig out some of those beliefs that say, I have to work harder in order to make more money, to push myself.
I have to be stressed. I have to sacrifice. It’s only when you dig out those deep subconscious roots that oftentimes go back to when you were younger, to your family stories, to your ancestral narratives, to sometimes to traumas when you were growing up.
Lessons like teachers shaming you if you weren’t working hard enough. When you dig out all of those past experiences and feelings and identities that you’ve operated from that say working harder is the only way for you to make a crapload of money, to be wealthy, to be successful, you actually pave the way for what you really want. Which is? More time, freedom, more spaciousness to enjoy your life.
More pleasure, more fulfillment, more connection, more delight. Because isn’t that why we started our business to begin with? Is to really feel good in the process, help people to make an impact, to feel fulfilled. How on earth is that possible if we’re always in a state of chronic overwhelm, of chronic stress, and of feeling like shit is just freaking hard? It doesn’t happen.
You can’t create something from the energy you don’t want, let’s put it that way. Or let’s put it the other way. You need to create from the energy that you want it to be.
So if you want your life to feel good, pleasurable, easy, relaxing, delightful, in flow, you need to create your business from those points of view. You need to generate more money and create more money and more income in your business from the feeling of relaxation, pleasure, delight, fun, ease, nourishment. Instead of the push force like the getting out the whip kind of energy.
And until you do, it’s always going to feel hard and it’s probably going to stay stuck. That income will stay stuck because your subconscious mind is going to try to protect you from getting more stressed. Because that’s when it thinks a lion is out there to try to kill you.
Out there to try to kill you. We don’t want no lion to kill us. Sorry.
If you’re new to me, I sing random things because it’s fun and delightful and enjoyable and that’s the point, right? That’s what we’re talking about. So understand that these are just beliefs and a belief is just a thought that you continue to think. And you can shift these things and you can change them.
And you can dig out these subconscious influencers on your success, on your ability to create more income, on your ability to generate wealth and become wealthy. These things are within your control. You can do something about them.
You are never, ever stuck. You can always shift and change and create a new reality. And this is something that I help my clients with inside my programs, inside my Money Mindset program Empowering Wealth.
We don’t just talk about thinking a new thought. We talk about getting down to the deepest layers and the roots of you that believe these things on an identity level. Because when we talk about being a high achiever, a lot of us hold that as a batch of honor, rightfully so, because we’ve done a lot of cool shit in our lives.
We’ve accomplished a lot of awesome things. But it’s time to try things a different way. And I am so excited for you to try things a new way, for you to delight in your ability to create more wealth and abundance and to feel oh, freaking good in your life and in your business.
I’d love to hear more about you and about what you took from this podcast episode. Shoot me a message over on Instagram. Send me an email.
I would love to hear from you. And about how the Work Harder myth has played out in your life and how you intend to and plan to shift it. And if you’d like some help achieving that, definitely reach out and check out my program, Empowering Wealth.
I think you will make such an incredible shift in your life and your finances by joining. All right, I’ll see you on the next episode.