E49: Is Shame Holding You Back?

No one else can make you feel ashamed. No one else can make you feel embarrassed. That is something we choose to look at and internalize for ourselves."

- Asha Wilkerson, Esq.

Episode Summary:

Whether you like it or not, your business reflects you. If your business is struggling, it is often linked to a struggle that you may be going through in your personal life. Investing in yourself and your own long-term well-being is an essential investment in your business.

In today’s episode, we will discover the role that shame played in my journey and illustrate a simple meditation exercise to help you take inventory of your own shame, how it is holding you back, and what your life and your business could look like if you chose to let it go.

In the end, no one can make you feel ashamed or embarrassed. We choose to internalize it for ourselves, and we can choose to release ourselves from it! Tune in today to learn how.

What You’ll Learn On This Episode:

  • [00:55] The mindset of entrepreneurship and how it is related to your well-being
  • [02:10] Using brain priming to condition your thoughts and behaviors in the future
  • [03:40] Shame and the role it plays in preventing you from achieving your true potential
  • [06:44] A meditation to help you envision what your life could look like without shame
  • [08:43] Defining shame as self-criticism; no one else can make you feel ashamed
  • [10:29] An invitation to take inventory of your shame and then let it go

Resources Mentioned:

Connect With Us: 






[00:00:04] AW: You’re listening to the Transcend Podcast. I’m your host, Asha Wilkerson, an attorney by training and an educator at heart. This podcast is all about empowering you to build a business and leave a legacy. Here’s the thing; the wealth gap in America is consistently increasing and, while full-time entrepreneurship is not for everyone, even a side hustle could change your financial landscape if you’re intentional about using your business to build wealth. 


I’ve run my own law firm for over 10 years, and in that time, I’ve helped countless California businesses go from idea to six figures. On this podcast, we talk about what it truly takes to build a sustainable business and find financial freedom. Let’s dive in.




[00:00:47] AW: Hey, y’all. Welcome back to another episode of Transcend the Podcast. As always, I am delighted that you are here. Now, today’s episode is something a little more personal for me to share with you. It has a lot more to do with the mindset of entrepreneurship or just life in general that spills over into entrepreneurship. What I have learned over these years as an entrepreneur is that entrepreneurship is such a reflection of where I am in life, and who I am at that moment in time. If I am struggling with something, if the business is struggling with something, it’s usually because I’m struggling with something personally. 


I am a person who is always going to spend money on help, on self-care. I invested in myself to get a neurocoaching certification. I am a newly graduated, certified neurocoach from the school of Dr. Shannon Irvine. I have also invested in myself to work with different healers, and coaches, and therapists along the way, just to process life and everything that has happened. Well, and part of the neurocoaching certification, we would meet once a week as a group, and then we also had opportunities to do a little bit more deep dive into some of the thoughts that were floating around in our brain, in our brains, our individual brains.


A couple of weeks ago, I was meeting with my master neurocoach, and we were just working on my brain prime. My brain prime is almost like a vision of how I see myself in the future. It’s working on the money that I want to make, the houses I want to buy, the family that I want to have, the places I want to visit. Anything that I want in the future, anything that I’m working towards, you write it down as if it has already happened or is if it is currently happening.


In your brain, your brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and what you have told it to believe. If you’ve ever met somebody, maybe it’s a kid who has a really vivid imagination, or an adult who can’t seem to stop not telling the truth, who can’t seem to stop lying. I’ve met people who, I’m like, “They are lying, but they really believe the words that are coming out of their mouth.” It’s probably true because your brain at some point will believe what you tell it. It cannot distinguish between what you’ve told it repeatedly, the story that you’ve told yourself repeatedly, and the reality that is existing today.


Doing your brain prime, your vision map, all that stuff that I can tell you all about, is super important, because then you condition your brain to look for the things in your vision, to believe that it has already happened, so you eliminate those blocks that are along the way.


Anyway, that’s the precursor to what I’m about to tell you. As I was working with Gina – thank you, Gina – she asked me a question. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but she said something about shame. I said, “You know, I think I do feel some shame.” I had no idea that I was feeling any kind of shame around things at all in my business or just in life in general. It’s not a word that I typically use. I oftentimes think of shame or people talk about experiencing shame when something has been done to them, like if they’ve been violated in some kind of way. 


Oftentimes, people say that they feel ashamed of what has happened, but I didn’t really think of shame, or how I could apply shame, or how shame was applicable to anything that I had going on in my life. But as I decided to dive deeper into it, I said, “Well, yeah. Maybe I do have some shame.” There’s some embarrassment that holds me back. There’s some embarrassment for some investments in myself or in certain programs that I made that didn’t turn out the way that I wanted it to. There’s some embarrassment because I feel like I should be further along financially than what I actually am. There’s some embarrassment because it didn’t take me any money to get started in this business, but I’m still not making the money that I want. Even though I know that businesses can take a year, two, three years to really get off the ground, I have this higher, maybe ridiculous standard for myself that I should not be in the average, I should be above average and already making the money that I set out to make, right? 


I have a lot of hang-ups around, or I’ll call them hang-ups rather than issues, but hang-ups around money, around feeling like I should be better with money, around feeling like I should be making more money. I decided not to practice in the traditional sense of practicing law, and so I’m not showing up to court. There are some thoughts that I have about, “Well, if I’m not going to be practicing in court, making money like a ‘real attorney,’ what is it that I’m actually doing over here if I’m not replacing that kind of an income just yet?” There are all these things that I have in my head that I hadn’t actually taken the time to pull out and articulate. 


Gina asked me, she said, “Just take the weekend, and journal, jump into your journal and just journal about shame. Where does it show up?” I started listing the things that I’ve told you so far and some more stuff came up. I said, “There’s shame that I have around having debt in the name of the business, around investing.” But I know that big businesses carry debt, it’s part of a tax strategy to carry debt. But I don’t feel like that should be me, so I have some shame around that. I’ve held parts of my story back that make me uncomfortable, that make me feel embarrassed because I feel like I should be in a different place.


I started this meditation on Saturday morning and I should probably play some more meditations, but this one was so profound for me. It said to think about the areas where you feel shame, and then imagine yourself looking in the mirror, seeing yourself as you are, and what would happen if you took the shame off? How would you see yourself if you didn’t have shame? 


Immediately I said, “Oh! I would see my accomplishments. I would appreciate them more because they wouldn’t be overshadowed by the things that I consider failures. I would show up more boldly and more confidently, because if I didn’t subscribe to shame. I wouldn’t have to be worried about what if I embarrassed myself, because there would be no embarrassment, because I don’t buy into embarrassment. I don’t buy into shame. I would take more risks. I would tell more people about what I do. I would dream bigger, because if I knew that I couldn’t fail, because I wouldn’t be embarrassed about it, what would stop me for going big, and for trying and, and for trying again and for trying until I got what I wanted.”


When I started thinking about if I looked in the mirror, took the shame off, all of these beautiful things that I could see about myself, all of these strengths that I could see about myself that I wasn’t able to see, because they were covered by shame. Even if they weren’t directly covered, I was so worried about the things that I was trying to hide, because I felt this embarrassment behind it, that I couldn’t even appreciate the things that I had done well, the things that I could be proud of, the things that I could celebrate.


It just made me think about, “Wow! I have been holding myself back.” I probably should have started out with this definition, but shame is actually self-criticism. It’s judgment of ourselves for things that we have done, or things that we feel like we should have done or are not doing yet. But it is one of those conversations that we have with ourselves. Other people can’t make us feel ashamed. They can’t tell us to be ashamed, even though I know when I grew up as a kid, I heard the phrase, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” as kind of as a joke, but also to correct behavior. But no one else can make you feel ashamed. No one else can make you feel embarrassed. That is something that we choose to look at and choose to internalize for ourselves.


Doing this quick, just met it – I think it was like a nine-minute meditation that I sat on my couch really just opened the door. It made me feel lighter. It made me feel more confident. It made me feel more free. It made me more excited to get back out there, and to tell people about my business and to tell people what I’m doing because I am choosing to no longer apply the adjective, or title, or noun of shame to anything that I have done.


I don’t have to be self-critical. I don’t have to have this internal dialogue with myself, that makes me restrict my actions. I can choose to own every decision that I’ve made and to be proud of every decision that I’ve made.


I wanted to share that with you today because it feels very transformative in my own life in the past couple of weeks. I wanted to give you the opportunity yourself to actually take inventory of where do you feel shame or embarrassment, and then to take it off? Could it be around finances? Could it be around learning English as a second language? Could it be around changing your major in college, not having a major, not going to college? Could it be around having a failed relationship? Could it be around not being in a relationship yet, not being a homeowner, not maxing out your 401(k), not doing what your parents have told you to do, because they want you to be a doctor, or a lawyer or an attorney and that just doesn’t make you happy?


Is it shame around your body, how you show up, how fit you are or not? Is it shame around your hair texture, how curly it is, too tight, too loose, not curly enough? Whatever it is, I want you to spend some time thinking about where shame shows up in your life, if at all. Then, when you’ve journaled about that, and thought about that, I want you to do the mirror exercise. I’ll walk you through it right now. If you are in a place where you can close your eyes, don’t do it if you’re driving and if you’re walking and listening to this podcast, maybe just pause for a second. Take a deep breath in and let it go through your mouth. Let your shoulders drop. If you’re walking, you can continue to walk. Then everyone, take another deep breath in and just let it go.


As you’re thinking about these areas of your life, where you are feeling some shame and embarrassment, I want you to walk up in your mind to a mirror and take a look at your reflection. Now, I want you to take that shame off and I want you to tell me what you see. Who do you see? Who are you without the shame? What have you done without the embarrassment? Who would you see? Who do you see? Who are you?


I want you to take note about how you feel. Do you feel lighter? Do you feel empowered? Do you feel encouraged and courageous? How do you feel? That feeling that you have right now, that’s what I want you to take with you after you close out this podcast, after we sign off. I want you to take that feeling of shamelessness not in the negative way, but in the positive way to you as you reach out to your clients, as you reach out to potential clients, as you deal with vendors, as you treat yourself throughout the day. 


Love yourself without the shame. Take it off. I promise you that, when you can start to move without fear of shame or embarrassment, you will change and your business will change. You’ll be a lot more forgiving of yourself, a lot more open to opportunities, a lot more willing to take a chance because you have nothing to lose, nothing to be embarrassed about.


I know this is not our typical kind of podcast episode, but I’m going to start doing more of these shareable moments and these mindset episodes along with the tactical episodes that I like to do as well. Because this is a reflection of who I am becoming as a coach, a neurocoach, a business coach, and an attorney as a person. I want to share that with you to help you continue to grow and evolve in your entrepreneurial journey as well. 


Alright. You know where to find me. I’m on Instagram, @ashawilkersonesq. Let me know how you enjoyed this episode. I would love it if you would post and take a screenshot of you listening to the episode or take a photo of yourself listening to this episode. Tag me on social media and let’s spread the word. We’re doing good things. You are absolutely loved and adored by me and by the rest of the people in your life. I want the best for you and I’m here to help you get it. Alright. Ciao for now.



Subscribe & Review TRANSCEND the Podcast

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode of TRANSCEND the Podcast!

If our weekly episodes have helped you on your journey to build a sustainable business, please head over to Apple Podcasts and SUBSCRIBE to the show. We’d also love it if you would leave us a 5-star rating and review.

Your reviews and feedback will not only help us continue to deliver great, helpful content, but it will also help us reach even more entrepreneurs just like you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *