How to Set Aside Shame so You Can be Productive

Know what your next steps are, but can't seem to get past feeling ashamed? You're not alone. Check out this week's video.

At first, you might think, “What does this have to do with productivity?”

But actually, I find that a lot of my clients and students get paralyzed by shame and don't know how to move past it, so that they can take those next steps.

There can kind of be a wall here of “I know what the next steps are, but I'm not ready for it yet because I'm feeling too much shame.” This can appear in a lot of different domains. We're all dealing with shame in different ways – one of the first things I recognize. But in school, perhaps it looks like, “I'm not going to look into those graduate programs” or “I don't want to find out more information about that because I actually don't think I'm good enough to take those next steps.” “There are a lot of people who are better than me out there.” “I'm not good enough.” “I feel ashamed that I'm older” – perhaps on going back to school.

It sounds very similar in the career domain when we say, “I’m in this job and when I look around at everybody else around me, they're much more productive and successful. I feel ashamed that I'm not there too.”

In family domain, if you feel parental guilt and shame about, “I don't think I'm being a good enough parent.” “Why do all these other moms seem to have it figured out and I can barely pull together in a day?” Those issues and all of these different domains we're dealing with on a regular basis.

To relate it to productivity, I want to say if you know what your next steps are, there are two tips to working through that shame, quick tips. We'll talk afterwards about longer term delving deeper into shame. But two quick tips for you today would be:

One, make sure that you can recognize the shame.

First, sometimes people don't see that they're saying a shame-filled statement. Recognizing when you say these things to yourself would be the first thing.

And the second thing then is to share it with someone.

Maybe it’s a trusted friend, a spouse or even somebody you met in an online community that you would feel safe saying, “I feel ashamed about” and fill in the blank. And the reaction – this is why it needs to be somebody you trust or somebody that has a lot in common with you, the reaction is going to probably be “me too” or “I felt that shame before, absolutely.” And that's so important because when we recognize that other people are dealing with shame or we get that “need to” feeling, we say, “I'm so glad that I'm not the only one dealing with this.” That's one of the keys to this that we're not alone in dealing with this.

Those are two quick tips, but if you're interested in delving deeper into shame there are two resources I want to give you today because I'm studying this myself, trying to understand more about it, you could study this for a lifetime because we're all dealing with different levels of shame. I think you'd be surprised.

Think about the person you admire most, they too deal with shame.

Two people -- Tara Brach is a clinician and meditation instructor who's written several books about dealing with acceptance and self-compassion and shame. She has a lot of great resources. And then Brene Brown as well is known as the shame researcher. She has dedicated her research career to understanding shame and vulnerability. Both are excellent professionals that I admire and turn to when I'm looking for resources about shame.

I hope my two tips have helped you today with thinking about it related to productivity. I'd love to hear from you today that you shared your statement with someone and that you're looking forward to your next steps to being productive on whatever path you're on. I’ll see you next time.

Tell me below how you're implementing these steps!