Today I’m going to introduce shadow work and teach you how it impacts your business. You may or may not know that I’m a proud and practicing witch. Now, before you panic and think I’m calling in demons and worshiping the devil, read my post on my homesteading blog about what that means.
If you are a fellow business witch, welcome. I’m freaking thrilled you found me! Shadow work is the practice of peeling back the dark layers of your soul, investigating them, holding space for them, and healing them so you can step into your full potential.
The process can be uncomfortable, challenging, and bring up some stuff that you’ve pushed WAY down in hopes never to see again, but it can also be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. You can’t step into the most authentic and powerful version of yourself without doing this work.
That being said, I’m a firm believer in doing this work on your own time. No one can force you to embark on this journey. If you don’t feel ready, and you or someone else pushes you into it, it will be traumatizing and leave you with a darker shadow than when you started.
However, if you choose to dive in, do this healing, get the support you need, and create space for whatever you need to come up, it can be a deeply transformational experience.
Everyone Has a Shadow
Your shadow is the dark parts of your soul. It’s made up of all of your lived experiences so far – your ancestors, past lives, childhood, and adult experiences. It influences your response to everyday occurrences in your life.
The mental health world calls our shadow’s responses to everyday events a trigger. Some of us are triggered by big T traumas (abuse, abandonment, death, illness, injury, etc.) While others of us are triggered by small t traumas (getting yelled at as a child, not having our feelings validated, etc.)
Often, those of us with little t traumas try to brush them off. “It’s no big deal. So many people have it so much worse than me. This should not be affecting me this much.” The problem with doing this is that your body and shadow don’t have such a worldly perspective. They respond to little t traumas just the same as they would a big T trauma.
If you have big T and little t traumas in your past, you may have experienced this first hand. “I’ve literally walked through hell. Why am I having a panic attack about getting cut off in traffic?” Your shadow doesn’t know the difference between your experiences.
For example, when someone gives me vague feedback on a writing project, I feel physically sick. It’s not the client’s fault. This is my shadow’s response to a trigger. I always ask more questions, and we all walk away seen, heard, and happy, BUT even though I know that this will likely be the outcome, the trigger still hits.
That’s indicative of healing work I need to do aka, shadow work.
What Does Shadow Work Look Like?
There are a million different ways you can do shadow work.
- Work with a therapist
- Hire a life coach
- Hire a spiritual coach
- Work with a friend
- Practice NLP
- Do witchy rituals
- Try Hypnosis
- Experiment with EFT Tapping
- Dive in on your own and see what happens
I work with Billy Alice (she is phenomenal) and do quite a bit independently.
Shadow work can take on many different forms, but the basic principles are the same no matter how you go about it. You start by identifying the cause of your trigger. Let’s look at my trigger from above (vague client feedback).
My corporate job didn’t give me the tools I needed to succeed. No one ever trained me, and there was no room for mistakes. So whenever I messed up while trying to figure something out on my own, I ended up in a disciplinary meeting. The threat of being fired constantly loomed over my head.
This shook me to my core. My root chakra, my safety center, was constantly on edge. My financial security was at risk every day, and I felt powerless to do anything about it.
Now, I’ve done a lot of work around the feelings of never being enough, not being worthy of success, etc., that came to a head during my corporate experience. However, this pesky safety center is still simmering in my shadow, aka that trigger still exists.
So, when a client unknowingly says, “this didn’t quite hit the mark,” a perfectly fair starting point for feedback, my body goes into fight or flight. It automatically assumes they will demand a refund, fire me, and take all my clients on the way out the door.
Dramatic much? Well, yes, very, but it’s my reality until I undo the conditioning and shine a light on the darkness creating this response. So, how do we actually do this work? It looks different for everyone.
Common modalities include:
- Traditional talk therapy
- Magical rituals (a fave of mine)
- EFT tapping (a fave of mine)
- Equine guided healing (a fave of mine)
- Automatic writing (a fave of mine)
- Writing letters to yourself and others
- Vision boarding
- And many more!
It doesn’t matter which modality you choose. What matters is that you do the work to recondition your shadow’s response so you can stop operating in fight or flight all the time.
When we do this work and heal our shadow, we can truly step into the highest vibration versions of ourselves, and that’s where the real success lies.
Shadow Work and Your Business
When we fail to heal our shadow, we self-sabotage in our businesses over and over again. We don’t serve our clients to the best of our abilities; we fail to step into our truth and put ourselves out there.
Think of all the things you want to do in your business but can’t quite get done. Maybe it’s blog features or starting a podcast. Perhaps it’s going live on Instagram or launching that course you’ve been dreaming about but haven’t built yet.
The patterns that show up again and again in our businesses are indicative of areas that need healing. Hearing “I can’t afford it” over and over? It may be time to take a peek at your relationship with money. I’ve had to do a LOT of reparenting around my relationship with money, and I know I’m not alone in that.
Are you getting ghosted a lot? That’s when people say they are interested in working with you but drop off the face of the earth when it comes time to sign the contract or get on the phone. That’s usually a sign that you aren’t showing up for yourself in one way or another: your health, family, and enjoyment of life. Something is off-balance, and your spirit guides are trying to get you to take a closer look. Show up for yourself, and others will show up for you too.
Those are just two examples. If you notice other patterns showing up and need help deciphering what they mean, go ahead and drop them in the comments. I’ll circle back around and help you out.
Just Get Started
By now you may be wondering if you have to be totally healed to succeed. Heck no! No one is ever totally healed. Shadow work is a lifelong journey of evolution. The best place to start is by noticing patterns. Figure out what they mean and dive into undoing your triggers and breaking the cycle.
Be kind to yourself! No one heals themselves overnight. Dip your toe in and see what happens. Hold space for your feelings, and don’t judge any part of the process. If you need a community as you embark on this journey, join Own Your Impact. We are all doing this work together and sharing what we learn as we go along.