“The shadow is the person you would rather not be.”- Carl Jung
If I was to ask you to describe yourself, would you happily use any of the below words?
Jealous. Manipulative. Angry. Selfish. Fearful.
Competitive. Arrogant. Lazy. Overdramatic. People Pleaser.
Cringing? Okay, how about:
Leader. Powerful. Rich. Influencer. Millionaire. Any charge?
Let’s try sexual, horny, turned-on, or slutty. How do those feel?
Maybe Vulnerable, Soft, and Surrendered really hit something inside of you that feels icky.
If you feel any emotional charge on those words; you’re coming face to face with your shadow.
This is an incredibly meaningful moment because beneath that ickiness are gifts that will unlock major business (and personal!) success for you.
What Is The Shadow?
Your shadow is all the parts of you that you don’t like; the opposite of that which you like or appreciate about yourself.
Think of it like this: as we grow up, we learn to navigate the world by interacting with our environment. We learn that some parts of us receive love, and other parts of us don’t. Some parts of us are deemed acceptable, and other parts aren’t. This process begins in early childhood and continues throughout life, teaching us to hide away, reject, or shame parts of ourselves and conveniently tuck them away into a little corner in the attic of our psyche:
So if the shadow is full of all the rejected parts of ourselves, our PERSONA is full of all the “acceptable” qualities; for example:
These are the parts of us we’ve learned through exposure, are physically and/or emotionally safe to express out in the world. You can think of the shadow and the persona like two parts of one whole: YOU.
Yup; there’s an entire side of you hidden away for protection.
If we were to fully live from our shadow or reveal everything there all at once, it could be quite disastrous. Many of us aren’t equipped to face the depth of all the shadow it contains, nor would we want to risk our entire sense of accepting and belonging in one go.
And the reason it’s so important to address our shadow in our lives (and in our businesses) is that we cannot actually get rid of our shadow. We cannot destroy these parts of ourselves; they exist, whether we like them or not. Yet, unaddressed, it will begin to seep through in behaviors and actions that we may not actually want or feel good doing.
““These treasures try desperately to emerge, to come to our attention, but we are conditioned to push them back down. Like giant beach balls being held underwater, these aspects pop back up to the surface whenever we take the pressure off. By choosing not to allow parts of ourselves to exist, we are forced to expend huge amounts of psychic energy to keep them beneath the surface” – Debbie Ford
What is Shadow Work?
When we don’t ADDRESS or CONFRONT the shadow it ends up unconsciously seeping through the cracks of our psyche into thoughts, emotions, and actions as a projection of the internal world in the external, material reality.
This is Shadow Repression.
Shadow work is a life-long practice of looking at your patterns and recognizing the ways in which we are attempting to not look at the rejected, criticized, disowned, shamed, or perceived unsafe aspects of ourselves, bring them into the light, and integrating them into our personality.
The above is a process called Shadow Integration:
Shadow integration involves fully accepting and integrating the totality of a personality trait, quality, or aspect. For example: You embrace being selfish and selfish, and realize you need both of them. In fact, if you possess a trait, you’ll always possess the polar opposite too. It’s not choosing one or the other; instead, you choose to bring them together like a divine couple, complementing and providing different perspectives into a singular world view.
As humans, we have always had the light and dark, and each balances the other out. Each brings its own gifts, but somewhere we learned to reject and banish what we perceive as “bad”.
What would it be like to hold space for both at the same time, in a singular world view?
2. Why do Entrepreneurs Need Shadow Work?
If you’re an online leader, you are:
- The voice of influence for hundreds, thousands, or millions of human beings.
- You are effecting change through your content and offers every single day.
Together, it brings a lot of pressure and responsibility in that, as you’re holding a big container for not just yourself–but business dynamics, external clients, and personal interactions at play in the online space. Your shadow will end up causing problems in your business if left unchecked.
I personally slowly watched my shadow wreak havoc in my business: everything from making a $50k investment because I wanted to be liked, to almost giving up 50% of my personal-brand based business to someone I only knew for a year.
The biggest shadow that played a role in my business was my people pleaser shadow. This is the part of me that feared hurting people SO badly, I’d do anything to avoid conflicting conversations. This meant I ended up saying yes when I meant no, became disconnected from my intuition, and ended up leading a team through an energy-draining year.
I ended up hurting them (and myself) far more than if I had decided to be honest with myself earlier, and change things when they needed to be changed. It wasn’t until I really looked at that shadow, and came to terms with this part of me that actually desired to be selfish (the polar OPPOSITE of selflessness and people-pleasing) and do things that made me happy–even if it initially required difficult conversations.
The ultimate integration of this shadow was to integrate selfishlessness into my life and begin setting clear boundaries, choosing things I wanted, and began living into my personal values. I integrated my people pleaser with my selfishness, and created a version of me who could choose myself without actively hurting others. I found a way to have loving, considerate, honest conversations that had everyone’s best interest at heart.
Behind the scenes, I understand how difficult it is to navigate all the challenges of being a public figure, service provider, content creator, team leader, and everything in between.
Not only that: but I know you truly desire to do more, meet your potential you see for yourself, and feel like you’re running a business and brand that’s super in alignment with who you are.
When you address and integrate your shadow, you’ll finally figure out why you’re stuck and be able to move past that into the success you truly know you can have.
“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people”- Carl Jung
3. How to Begin Identifying Your Shadows
When you first try to identify what is in your shadow, it can be quite confronting. Your instinct may be to run away, deny, or avoid. In the process of leaning into my own shadow work, I find it hilariously ironic that–as someone who teaches shadow work–my ego always makes its best attempt to have my avoid taking any kind of responsibility.
The most recent example has been in my relationship, where my partner John gave me some feedback about how I can show up for him better than I have been. For a few days, I got defensive about it. All I could talk about was all the evidence in my relationship where I have been an AMAZING partner, rather than simply listening to his truth and experience. I avoided confronting my shadow: the part of me that is selfish and self-centered. The avoidance of looking at that comes from my OWN rejection and shame around my own selfishness, and the way my ego clung onto the “nice, helpful” projection of who I believe myself to be.
I had to process that quite a bit, and I can now see that my shadow simply needed to be integrated in order for me to really take responsibility and take better actions moving forward.
If you do have the courage to face your shadow, you may want to minimize what you find or only go part way–then decide it’s too hard.
Shadow work isn’t for the faint-hearted, so below are some simple suggestions to get you started.
1. Accept that you do, in fact, have shadows:
and expect them to tell you where and who they are in emotionally challenging situations in your life. Signs your shadow is at play include:
- Judging yourself
- Judging other people
- Centering yourself
2. Ground yourself in compassionate self-forgiveness:
Your shadow isn’t bad and we all have our own shadows, you may have feelings associated with it that need to be acknowledged, expressed, and worked through. Try the prompt, “I forgive myself for judging myself for/as….” and hold yourself lovingly. This may be difficult, and that’s okay, too.
3. Write out a vision for your life
that feels inspiring. This could be clients in your next program, financial outcomes for the year, or some other business success metric you desire. Once you have that, review each goal and ask yourself:
- What parts of me do I anticipate to mess this all up?
- What voices inside of me say I can’t or shouldn’t do this?
- You’ll know when you feel in conflict because you’ll find yourself coming up with reasons for why something can’t happen, why it’s impossible or why it’s a struggle for you. These are the voices of your shadow.
4. Professional Support:
Some shadows may be parts of you that you can process and navigate on your own–but many of them will have memories or trauma attached to them; in which case, it’s important to consider a safe, healing space with the support of a professional therapist/coach.
Shadows in Business and How to Integrate Them
To go deeper into this, I created an entire workshop that helps Entrepreneurs break down the core pillars of their business and create masculine and feminine balance. It’s included in the
Conscious Leadership Experience: The Workshop Bundle
In this workshop, you will:
- Understand your history/conditioning with both the Masculine and the Feminine
- Become aware of your core patterns and how they are affecting your ability to be an effective leader
- Identify Core Areas of your business you have a shadow expression in
- Determine exact ways in which you can heal the parts of you that have the shadow
This is one of the SIX core Workshops available to you now in the Conscious Leadership Experience: The Workshop Bundle.
Not only will you feel incredibly understood, realize so much about your life history and past, and move toward healing, but you’ll know exactly what and how to move forward with solving key difficult areas in your business.
This is just ONE of the six Core CLE Workshop Bundle…
Along with the SEVEN additional bonus trainings inside!
And they’re available until Monday, November 2nd for only $777 TOTAL.
If you want to take your Mastery further, this is the bundle for you.