Workshop Addiction, Avoidance, and Action-Paralysis


I chuckled when someone once candidly confessed to me that they used to be a “workshop junkie”. The term was new to me, yet I KNEW it immediately as being one of those perfect phrases that accurately captures a phenomenon.

I was briefly a spiritual workshop junkie too. I knew people who were success seminar junkies. I know people who are STILL workshop junkies for all sorts of courses. But, I think there are two kinds:

1. Those who take workshops and grow from them
2. Those who just keep taking workshops and seldom apply the lessons.

Like amassing books for their library, individuals in the second group tend to sign up for workshops as often as their time and budgets will allow. After all, more time and money spent should equal more magical transformations and success.

But attending workshops is no guarantee. Some people never need workshops to be successful, while others can attend 20 success seminars and still be stuck. If someone brags about expensive seminars they’ve taken, but in the next breath expresses a lack or victim mentality without irony, I know that their learning is still incomplete. They’re likely to still be grappling with old fears and blocks. More workshops may not be the answer.

The pattern with workshop junkies:

  • They talk about what they’re going to do, but they don’t do it
  • They put off plans and goals for after the next workshop or the next course
  • Their future hinges on getting something “right” first, or a perfect line-up of factors that may or may not be within their control.

If it’s within their control, they don’t take control. If it’s outside their control, they’re not managing the other factors for success.

What we need to recognise is that this is an avoidance pattern. There is something we want to do, but are not doing. This resistance is always internal and not on the outside. We get closer to an actual solution when we stop thinking there is something external (a workshop, a course, a certificate, a million dollars from the sky) that we need in order to act now.

For many, when one external factor that was “needed” is finally present, they will find something else “missing” that prevents them from acting. Inner work is exactly THIS realisation that our real blocks to action and success are actually INSIDE us. Everyone knows the words “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Many people need to find their will. This is the first step.

Let’s put this in a sequence.

The Five Steps for Breaking Out of Action-Paralysis

1. Find your Will.

11. Clarify Your Desire

Do what the angel with the funky star tetrahedron says. (Card 11 from the Self-Love Oracle.)

2. Accept that there will never be “perfect” conditions for taking action.

We just have to work from where we are. Ask “what’s stopping me?” and work from the premise that it is NOT the external factors that are stopping you.

3. Examine your fears.

Those who fixate on the missing external factors rarely reach this step. But here we ask: “What am I afraid of?” Success? Failure? Judgment? Imposter Syndrome?

How real is the fear? How real is the damage if the fear becomes real? Can it be dealt with AT THAT POINT instead of in the hypothetical before it even happens?

eg. “What if I’m a bad writer?”
Answer: “We won’t know till we start. And for that, there’s help in the form of coaching and editing.”

 

eg. “What if I get negative comments on my work?”
Answer: “The comments may be worth addressing, or you could also choose to delete and ignore them.”

 

eg. “What if people think reiki is bogus?”
Answer: “They’re not your clients. Also, you can use your reiki to bust through your own fear blocks. Then you can talk about it to people who are likely to become your clients!”

(Healer, heal thyself! Then use that story in your marketing!)

That last example, eh?

We don’t have to 100% prepare for certain negative situations if they’re not actually likely; to be blocked by this would make us fall back to Step 2.

Step 4: Take positive action.

No matter how small, like a bit of research, a bit of writing, or making a small investment. It starts a momentum. Keep at it. Make a plan. If you fall out of the plan, get back in, make some adjustments, and start again.

Step 5: Expect to make mistakes.

Shift yourself into the mindset that you want to make NEW mistakes, not old ones. Learn to forgive yourself, and do it often. (Honestly, you’ll keep getting these chances, once you start!)

Accepting that you’ll make mistakes shifts you out of paralysis. You want movement.

If you’d like an affirmation:

I AM ENOUGH.

I AM EQUIPPED AT THIS MOMENT TO START, OR ELSE MY DESIRE WOULDN’T BE HERE.

WHATEVER I NEED IS ALREADY HERE OR ON ITS WAY.

I AM ENOUGH. I AM READY.

Last Word

Knowing what needs to be done is different from doing it.

Workshops and seminars can tell us what to do. But doing the work is up to us. Inner work is tough, usually requiring time, self-analysis, and usually, an epiphany and emotional release. The self-analysis can come from therapy, coaching, or solo writing therapy.

Sometimes, the self-discipline and self-help required for personal growth just doesn’t come easy. (I’m speaking from my experience, too.) We may need to accept that we can’t do it alone, or that seminars alone aren’t going to cut it. What may really boost our progress is having a coach or a group of like-minded peers to give us feedback on our plans and to keep us on the path. Big plans are a lot easier and more doable with moral, emotional, and sometimes professional support.

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(And that’s all the marketing on this post, I swear.)

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About Janet

Janet is the artist and creator behind the Self-Love Oracle. Drawing fantastical subjects since childhood and holding a B.A. in Journalism, she’s worked in tourism and both print and web publishing. After her experiences with motherhood, divorce, Tibetan Buddhism, healing, and the supernatural, she pushes others to explore their creativity and to share their stories. She can be reached for her editing, illustration, and design services, as well as creative coaching, here.

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