It’s the middle of the day in a working week in my hometown, Canberra, Australia. Driving along, I notice people scurrying here and there on their lunch break. It has me remember back to when I was one of those people who went out at noon religiously. I couldn’t wait to be in the sunshine after spending hours in an air-conditioned office, stuck behind a desk. It also reminds me of a lurching knot in my stomach that I could be somewhere else, doing something else.

Sure, there was a regular paycheck and the sense of security that provided, enabling me to save for my next overseas trip. But seeing these people takes me straight back to the emotional memory of being so unhappy, feeling a deep frustration, working to someone else’s vision, wasting my time rat racing through the daily turnstile. I had no idea that heavy weight feeling was my body was talking to me. Screaming, is probably more like it, actually.

The weight sensation was located in what I would learn years later, was my solar plexus, in chakra speak. Chakras? Huh? What are they? Come on, really? Energy talk? Yeah right, as if. I can hear my inner sceptic scoffing. Push on, the money is good, so it’s worth it, right?

The solar plexus is the center of power, willpower, identity and self-worth.

Back when I had those office jobs I got the money in the door that came at a great cost to my sense of satisfaction from doing meaningful work, my creativity and purpose. Deep down I knew I wasn’t happy and could be doing so much more. But my gremlin of low self-esteem was so prevelant back then that I believed that was all I was worth.

Fast forward to today, and I’m much closer to my dreams for doing meaningful work. I’m a full time photographer and holding a newly published book for women in business either aspiring for, or established, as leaders in their industry. Wow, right?  A massive leap in my personal sense of worth around what I can offer the world, and I have physical proof. And yet, watch out…I notice the inner critic rearing its head. It’s a different ball game, but the same rules apply.

My current reluctance (that familiar, heavy in the belly feeling) is about sending the book to specific people with a letter saying, “I love what you do, here’s my book and my pricing is at the back”. That feels really yuck to me, to be propositioning them out of the blue. As long as that feeling is sitting there, I won’t take the action.

With the benefit of knowledge that I didn’t have back in my office-job days, I’m aware that thoughts create feelings. It might be absolutely true for me, that it’s inappropriate to proposition people out of the blue, so, yes, I can trust that yucky feeling. But how do I discern if there is a gremlin in the mix?

Maybe I’m on the right track, with this idea of sending my book out to a chosen few. It could just be plain old fear of rejection rearing its ugly head, or perhaps the approach needs adjustment in a way I can’t figure out right now. I decide to leave it for the moment.

The next morning I completed a guided meditation, in which I visualized returning to my soul self, the Beth that exists in me beyond this lifetime, who has lived many lifetimes and learnt many lessons. Part of the exercise was to visualize a book with ‘the next best step’ written in it.

Sure enough, when I came out of the meditation, the inspired next steps came to me. I considered which women are out there doing great work to support other women, to whom I would like to gift the book, simply because I love what they do? That, if they ever needed photography and would like to create together, I would love to hear from them. That thought rendered a warm swirling feeling in my heart and a general sense of excitement and curiosity about who could be on that list.

With a changed perspective the gremlins were cornered and the resident feeling in my body was only positive. In fact, as it turns out, sending the book out to some special people could be the perfect thing to do!

What a relief, to find that I didn’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Do you have a gremlin running amuck, left unchecked and halting your progress? What would be your next best step for progress? Ask, how could you change the angle to find an action that would leave you with an expansive, yes, feeling? You might be surprised how a little shift can make a big difference in your next steps forward.