Jane Elliott, PhD | Coaching
Shouldn't it be easier to do the things we're good at?
As a professor who has mentored hundreds of people from the BA to the PhD level and beyond, one of my professional specialties is helping people bring their very best work into the world.
So I have seen first-hand that what holds people back is rarely a lack of talent or effort. 99% of the time, we get stuck because of how we feel about doing the work. And how we feel is fucking terrible.
If you're in this boat, you probably know this terribleness shows up in lots of ways. But generally they fall into two general categories: hiding and chasing.
The soul-destroying experience of hiding
When we’re in hiding mode, we’re not actually putting everything we have into our work. We sign up for an MA program but we keep skipping class. We procrastinate until we have to prepare the presentation in the last two hours. We stay in a job that we know isn’t challenging us under the guise of security.
We lay awake at night worrying we’ll never actually write that novel or start our business or go back to school. We live our lives with a secret conviction that we haven’t tapped into the best that’s in us, and it’s soul-destroying. It keeps us at war with ourselves, and it comes out in ways we don’t like when we see other people living their dreams, especially if those dreams bear any resemblance to ours.
The exhausting emptiness of chasing
When we’re in in chasing mode, we're going full throttle after big goals but never seem to reach the pay off we expect, then we're stuck We finish the PhD, we launch the IPO, we win the big grant, and we feel great for about five minutes. And then 24 hours later, it’s like it never happened. So we go after the next goal and the next and the next, only to have the same thing happen.
Until one day we have to face it: none of this is making us feel any better. And if we’re not going to feel better, then what, exactly, was the fucking point? We hit what looks like a total dead end. We can’t keep using our talents to chase success, but we also have no idea what to do instead.
Hitting the wall
Either of those sound familiar? How about both? Because even though these problems look like opposites, hiding and chasing usually go hand in hand. The same people switch between them over the course of a life or even a day. We chase rewards with small triumphs but hide from the big ones. Or we hide for years only to start chasing the moment we find some success.
And that makes total sense because hiding and chasing are both symptoms of the way that we’re taught to think about talent, self-worth and validation.
We hide and we chase for the exact same reason: because we think that being good at something is the measure of how much we count in the world. We hide because we’re terrified to actually find out how much/whether we count. We chase because we hope the next hurdle will finally, definitively prove that we count.
And most of us just keep hiding and chasing until we hit a wall, and it seems like we just can’t keep doing it anymore.
Why so many so-called fixes fail
Hitting the wall is not a fun moment, I can say from personal experience. I only got over the wall with help—a lot of help.
But it took longer than it should have because so much of the help available didn't seem to work for me. It never got at why all this was happening in the first place, which meant the hiding and chasing always came back.
To make real change I needed to get at the core level where my beliefs about achievement were operating.
This core level is where my coaching operates.
Learn to use your talents in a way that feels amazing
The money I spent on my coaching session with Jane might be the best money I've EVER spent on anything.
Group Human Resources Mgr
I use tools from narrative analysis, philosophy of mind, and cognitive psychology to help my clients identify, dismantle and rebuild the thought systems we each carry about talent, achievement and self-worth.
The process is intensive, challenging and radical, in the original sense of the word: thorough, far-reaching, profound. It’s also rigorous and often counter-intuitive, which is why it’s tailor-made for smart, skeptical people who thrive on stretching their brains.
Here’s what I can promise at the end: your life will no longer be about hiding and chasing. You’ll be able to use your talents with joy, purpose and commitment. It won’t feel intolerable to be present while doing your work, or empty and unrewarding at the end. You’ll have the kind of relationship to ambition and accomplishment that serves you and makes you feel at peace in the world, rather than leaving you feeling tormented, stuck and incomplete.
What’s more, it will be interesting getting there. In every coaching session, we work together to produce something entirely new in the way you comprehend your experience, with no predetermined answer. We think hard, and we create big, permanent results for you. The process is immersive, powerful and world-expanding. It’s like taking the lid off your life.