E84: Why you can’t take action on your next life goal even though you want to

Your brain is trying to keep you safe and trying to make sure that you are always feeling loved and worthy and safe all at the same time.”

- Asha Wilkerson, Esq.

Episode Summary:

If you don’t feel safe enough to pursue your goals, you’ll never take action on them. Lack of safety is what’s holding you back, not lack of time, passion, or will. In this episode I break down the three core needs every human has and how the fear of not having these needs met is actually what holds you back.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • how emotional safety impacts the pursuit of your life goals
  • what the three core human needs are and why we fear losing them 
  • an exercise to help you confront your fears and meet your needs.
  • how I helped a client get past her fears and move closer to her goals.

What You’ll Learn On This Episode:

  • 00:00:03 – Introduction,

    Asha explains that in this episode, she will discuss why some people struggle to act on their life goals and how to create a sense of safety to pursue them.

  • 00:01:13 – The Three Core Needs,

    Asha explains that every human has three core needs: to feel safe, loved, and worthy. Pursuing certain life goals can threaten these needs, leading to fear and hesitation in taking action.

  • 00:04:24 – Identifying Threats to Core Needs,

    Asha shares an exercise to identify the thoughts and beliefs that are making you feel unsafe in pursuing your goals. By writing down these thoughts and countering them with evidence, you can create a sense of safety within yourself.

  • 00:06:35 – Rewiring Your Thoughts,

    Asha suggests recording yourself reading the evidence that counters your unhelpful thoughts. By playing this recording in the morning and evening when your brain is most receptive, you can start to rewire your thoughts and beliefs and make progress toward your goals.

  • 00:08:00 – Client Example,

    Asha shares an example of a client who wanted to change her business model but had fears and doubts holding her back. The client gained confidence by going through the exercise and acknowledging the evidence that countered her thoughts and took action toward her new goals.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Get clarity on your “why” and your “why this way” with your Re-Alignment Roadmap (formerly the Money-Making Roadmap). CLICK here to learn more.

  • 1:1 Coaching spots with me will open again in September. Be the first to know by joining the waitlist!

Connect With Us: 


You’re listening to Transcend the podcast. I’m Asha Wilkerson, a business coach helping service based entrepreneurs align their business goals with their personal goals to create a life they want to show up for. I will show you how to drop the expectations, thoughts and beliefs that weigh you down as a woman of color entrepreneur so that you can create and walk your own path with success, confidence and joy.


Hi there. Welcome back to another episode of Transcend the podcast. I am happy that you are here because this week we’re going to be talking about why sometimes you just can’t take action on that next life goal even when you really want to. We all know plenty of people, including ourselves, who are constantly saying that they want to do something. They want to take that big trip, they want to start that new business, they want to get back on the dating scene.


But two years later, they are still where they are and still haven’t taken any steps. What if I told you that they aren’t lazy, they aren’t unqualified, and they aren’t full of hot air? They just haven’t created a sense of safety that they need within themselves to pursue that next life goal? Maybe this resonates with you because maybe you have something that you’ve been wanting to do for months or years, maybe even decades, but for some reason, you can’t make progress on it. In this episode, I will share with you how you can gain a sense of safety and tackle your next life goal by first identifying what is making you feel unsafe.


And then we’ll talk about how you can put support around you to develop that sense of safety. And then I’ll share with you a client example that helps to put things in perspective. First, let’s define psychological safety. In my studies as a NeuroCoach, we determined that there are three main core needs in life for every human, no matter how you are raised, no matter who you are. The first is to feel like you are safe.


The second is to feel like you are loved. And the third is to feel like you are worthy or that you are enough. And anything that your brain perceives as a threat to these core needs will have you running back to the safety and familiarity that your brain deems as nonthreatening, which often has you either staying in place or taking a few steps backwards when you actually want to move forward. These three needs mask themselves into statements like, I’m afraid to fail. I don’t know if I can do it.


I’m not sure if I’m good enough. I don’t want to disappoint anybody, let alone myself. I don’t want to go against what my parents think. What will other people say about me? I don’t want people to judge me.


And what if someone calls me out for making a mistake? Half of these I have said to myself, especially before I began to recognize what these statements were actually hiding. Let’s take the example of starting a business and worrying that you will fail. You might be saying, I don’t want to disappoint my family because you’re thinking of all the sacrifices they made to get you into a stable career like law or accounting, and this goes against their wishes, which then ultimately threatens your sense of love and belonging in your family. You question, will they still love me if I do this?


Or will they think of me as worthy of being in the family if I do something that no one else has done? You might be saying, what if I never get any clients and have to file for bankruptcy? Which goes to a sense of financial safety. Your brain wants you to be able to live and to take care of yourself. You might also be saying, what will people say about me when thinking about leaving your big name company for something independent?


Because this pushes up against the need of belonging and worthiness since you won’t have the same sense of social connection right away. You might be saying, what will people say about me if I leave my big, comfortable corporate job? Because now you won’t be in the same community that held some clout in society and instead you’ll be striking out on your own. That’s definitely a threat to your social safety. I can go on and on with even more examples, but what I’m really trying to illustrate is that your brain is trying to keep you safe and trying to make sure that you are always feeling loved and worthy and safe all at the same time.


So how do we start to break through these understandable and very real fears that you can make progress toward your life goals? Here’s how you get there. So if you have a goal and you haven’t taken any action on it yet, your first step is to identify which of the three core needs as being threatened. Is it safety? Is it love?


Is it worthiness and belonging? And an exercise that I take my clients through is to write down all of these thoughts that come up about I’ll never be good enough, I can’t do it. No one in my family has ever done that. Write that down on one side of the paper. You can fold the paper in half or just draw a line down the middle.


But as you write down the thoughts on the left hand side or those fears on the left hand side, write them down word for word as they’re coming up in your brain. Don’t try and edit it. Just really write down exactly what you hear yourself saying. So, for example, if you put down you’re not qualified on the left, then on the right side of that list, you would write down all of the facts and the evidence that demonstrate that this belief is a lie. So you would write down your experience, the ways you’ve helped people in the past, the knowledge you’ve gained through books and podcasts and applied, and most importantly, your ability to continue gathering knowledge every day.


You write all of this down so that you can create the active sense of safety within yourself and so you can tell your brain that that thought you were thinking about not being qualified is actually a lie because you’ve put down all the evidence against it on the right side of the paper. Or for another example, if you put down I’ll never be successful on the right side of the column, you would then write all the ways you found success in the past, even the tiniest examples, what steps you took to get there and how you want to define success in the future. So maybe you list the one time that you got a client, every time someone has paid you for anything or anytime you’ve put yourself out there and that you’ve been rewarded. You write down the steps that you took to start your business and the non monetary wins outside of the business, where you can see results. Maybe like going to the gym.


So after you’ve gone through the steps of writing down all the lies on the left hand side and all the evidence on the right hand side to the contrary, the next step is to record yourself reading all of the evidence on the right hand side. The best time to play this recording is in the morning, right when you get up and you’re still a little bit sleepy. And at night, right when you’re getting ready to fall asleep, your brain is the most receptive to new programming at that time. And you may be thinking, oh, Asha, this is kind of stupid. I don’t really want to do this.


But I promise you it is backed by science, by neuroscience, that this is how you start to disconnect those thoughts that are unhelpful and rewire new thoughts. You can get to the goals that you’re seeking. Once you start this process, taking action will become easier because you’ve caught and cut the sneaky thoughts and beliefs that were pushing up against your need for safety, love, and worthiness. Now, it’s tempting to think that once you have done this, once you should be done, you should be good. You need no further work.


But that’s not true. These threats to our safety and love and worthiness will come up over and over in different ways, which is why it’s really important to work with a coach as you continue to advance along your entrepreneurship journey, because the masking will show up with different thoughts and in different scenarios. And if you’re ready to get started on correcting some of these thoughts that may be holding you back and keeping you from your goals, please head to my show notes and sign up for the waitlist for one on one coaching we’ll start in September, as soon as I get back from vacation. Now, I promise to give you an example from one of my clients, and I can think of one of the ones that I worked with this past fall. She was tired of doing business and the status quo, but she had all of these thoughts about why she couldn’t change her business, how no other advertising firms were working in the same way, how she had been doing this, the way that she was doing it for the past four or five years.


And she was so concerned about what would happen to her clients and whether or not she’d be able to get new ones. So I had her write down what were all the thoughts that were coming up in her brain when she thought about changing the clientele that she wanted to work with. It was things like, maybe I’m not experienced enough. Will anybody hire me? What if it’s too complicated?


But people in the wine industry, they already know me, and it’s so easy. And then on the right side, we wrote down all the evidence to the contrary, why these thoughts were just thoughts that she could change, why these thoughts were lies that were unhelpful. And then once we recorded all the evidence on the right hand side, I told her to make a recording of herself speaking the truth, the evidence to the contrary, into the record that she could play for herself repeatedly. After a couple of weeks of working through the unhelpful thoughts and really acknowledging and sitting with the evidence on the right hand side of that page, she began to gain more confidence and realized that it was just a thought that she wouldn’t be able to change her model, her business model. It was just a thought that her reputation as an advertiser in the wine industry was so solidified that she couldn’t move over.


And when she actually realized that she had the skill, she had the talent, she had the contact, she had the desire, she began to think about what kind of pricing model she could use for her new clients. What? New clients. She actually wanted to call in and started going to networking events, reaching out, sending emails, and got her first couple of clients in the new realm before she had even wrapped up things in the old realm. So it’s really, really important to understand what thoughts you’re having, what they threaten, your sense of safety, love, or belonging, and then to identify the evidence that counteracts that so you can actually move forward and get to the goals that you want.


All right, I’ll see you next week. Thank you so much for listening. If you want to hear more on how you can align your business and your life with me as a coach, head to the show notes and sign up for the email list. See you next week.

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